Thursday, November 09, 2006

28. Bet on a winning horse


My Short-lived Career in Gambling

We’re back in 1976, back in the Globe Bar, where Nelly is an innocent young barmaid.

Bryan Street was different in those days. Most of one side of the street was taken up with McAllister’s bottling depot. The bookmaker’s on the other side of the street is the only business still there from that time. There was another pub beside the bookie’s and many of the punters would flit between the two bars. It wasn’t long before a few of the bookie’s regulars were persuading me to have a flutter. At first I was very reluctant for I thought gambling was a fool’s game. But Jim and Billy persisted and eventually I allowed myself to be persuaded. Don’t ask me to recall the racecourse for I haven’t a notion. But well I remember the name of the horse. It was called Love Story. That pair blinded me with science as to the odds and all the rest of it but it was the name that pulled me in for I was an eedjit for the romance in those days. I placed a fifty pence bet on the horse. Fifty pence! Let me tell you that fifty pence was the equivalent of a fiver then and was a modest, yet respectable wager. And the damn horse romped home and I won a couple of quid. Easy money – I thought.

Next day Billy and Jim were on at me again. Picked me another sure winner. I placed fifty pence and – lost it! I was raging. Swore I was finished with horse racing. Then the following Monday they tell me that Love Story is running again and I should place a bet. He’s the favourite. I refused. He coudn’t win twice in a matter of days. They cajoled. I dug my heels in. The horse was probably pounded with exhaustion. They gave up on trying to get me to relent. And of course Love Story won the bloody race. When they told me I vowed to myself that I’d never bet on a horse again. And I never have. Not even on the Grand National.

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