Friday, April 08, 2005

9,8 and 35

The Grand National is the big race tomorrow. Most of the horses I pick tend to fall at the first fence and rarely reach the finishing post - a bit like myself I suppose! The one exception was a few years ago. I could tell you the year, but in doing so I would have to tell you old I am and I prefer not to remember that! Suffice to say it was one of the big zero birthdays that people have when they reach a certain age. We were on holiday in Paris at the time. I like to drop exotic place names in every so often.

For the past few months on my school computer on the scrolling screen saver I had the words "Earth Summit for the Grand National." I liked the name. He had been a previous winner for me in other races.

Well, just before leaving for our holiday we put our Grand National bets on at the bookies. The phrase book, or my school girl French lessons did not cover a trip to a French bookmaker. I think I had a good price at 14 -1. It was well fancied on the day mainly because it had rained a lot and Earth Summit liked to plough through mud.

Joe had put his money on Suny Bay (or Sonny Bay, or Sunny Bey, you get the idea - it was a few years back). Normally he puts on a forecast - our two horses to come first and second. He didn't do it that year - the one year when it happened.

It was a mud bath out there. Very few horses made it round and Earth Summit came first with Suny Bay romping a long way behind him at second. I can remember standing beside a newspaper kiosk near a metro station, finding out that I had backed a winner and expressing my joy in a very visible manner. I like to think I have grown up a little since then.

9,8 and 35? A number of years ago, Joe, had a dream. It was very vivid and he saw the winners of the Grand National. He didn't see the names, just the number of the horses - horse 9, horse 8 and horse 34. He was so convinced that they were going to win that he persuaded all the people in the office to do a tricast - betting that those three horses would be first, second and third. It didn't happen, but undaunted, one of his office staff reminded him that his dream did not include the year that the horses won - it could be next year, or the following year or ten years down the line. So every year, no mater the form of the horses, those three numbers are remembered!

Betting? Is that allowed? Isn't gambling a sin? Well...it does say in Pslams somwhere not to put your trust in horses!

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