Old Friends

We have a large carbuncular library within walking distance and I seem to spend a lot of time there for one thing and another (usually work-related).  Helpfully, someone has the task of picking out new publications and sticking them facing forwards on a shelf near the exit.  This means I can grab a book as I leave without having to take a turn round and up and down the library.

I was very pleased to find “Freud On Course” by Clement Freud on the shelf yesterday, so I snaffled it up and am really enjoying it.  His column in the Racing Post on a Saturday was, without fail, funny and I miss reading it.  I was once in love with Brazilian, coke-snorting riding instructor (not the one who sent me to my doom on Spider!) and, as a Freud family friend, he was in possession of a racehorse that Clement had given him in a fit of generosity.  I never made it down to Epsom to see the horse as the affair never really got off the ground (just as well all things considered, although I did not think so at the time), but I wish I had, because it would have been nice to have patted the nose of a Freud horse and got some more back story.

Anyhow, if there is anything that a prospective or current gambler should consider it is this pearl on page 15 of the book:

“Do you mind losing more than you enjoy winning?  If the answer is in the affirmative, find another hobby.”

I don’t mind losing (mainly) but I will say this lad on the left tested the maxim to the very limit in that Champion Hurdle a few years back.  Nonetheless I have a grudging fondness for the old monkey and wish Harchibald a long and happy retirement.  Word is he may tip up at the Dublin Horse Show with his old mucker Brave Inca.  Rudi’s Irish mates saw the spectacle last year and said the racehorses stole the show – now that might be worth getting on a plane for (after a handful of Valium and a couple of Jamesons).

Harchibald following Clement Freud's advice

Posted on December 2, 2009, in Horse racing, Jump racing, Punting, The Sport of Kings and Hobby of Paupers, Words and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I love Harchibald and I don’t blame him for throwing his toys out the pram in his races when someone goes to hit him! So would I!!
    I saw him at Kempton once and thought he was lovely. If I remember right he won too. 🙂

    • Hi Jan, I think it was the Christmas Hurdle he won there 🙂

      I really would love to see him strutting his stuff in Dublin.

      Blue was whip shy due to being beaten I suspect, so I didn’t bother carrying one. I am so against weak-legged riders resorting to whips, although an occasional unassuming tap can be better than constant leg-nagging… Depends on the horse!

      Oh I’ve just noticed a spare on sticking out behind Conor O’Dwyer’s right boot. Where has he tucked that!

      I was trying to see how many times Ruby used it on Denman at the weekend but it is difficult to tell as they sometimes just wave it or hit their boots. I hope not too much.

  2. Ruby never touched him, he just gave him a little squeeze.

    That Hardy Eustace beside him is one my all time great ‘misses.’ I was on my way to back him at William Hills when he won the Champion Hurdle the first time at about 33s, on the entirely sound basis that we had a player called John Eustace in our midfield. Something detained me and I missed the off. By about six months later I got over it though.

  3. Tut tut!

    The only time I have missed the off was when I was trying to corrupt my Dad @ Great Leighs and they were so understaffed on the Tote that they were underway whilst we were in the queue. My poor father had the winner and I was even more fed up because if I don’t insist on real gambling he just “picks winners in his head!” 😦

  4. Tut tut indeed, but at 33s you know for certain that all you have done is saved yourself a wasted score…

  5. When my late father-out-law won in the region 33/1 x a score he scattered it all down the stairs for when his wife came home (they lived in a 1st floor flat).

    One day, I am going to do the same. The closest I got was last year’s Breeders’ Cup – a straight forecast on Raven’s Pass & Henry the Navigator. I am not sure why, but it still feels like I lost a monkey that I never owned!

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