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A Day at the Races

Yesterday our Players Club of Sussex CCC organised a day out at Plumpton races.  Always curious to enjoy a new sporting experience I went along.

Plumpton is near Lewes in the fold of the South Downs.

Sussex is blessed with racecourses. Aside from Plumpton, there are Brighton, Fontwell and the marquee track Goodwood.

I called Pargie for his advice beforehand.

He said the favourite normally only wins 2 races out of 6 so best lay the favourite. He also advised to pay little attention to tips. This was just as well as a jockey paid a visit to the box. He was full of craic but if you followed him you would have been ‘down’.

The now second favourite Fraser. Island  whom I had backed against failed to win the first race ( the jockey advised “ put your house on it”) and then, unbelievably I picked the next 4 winners.

I was hundreds of pounds ahead even I though I lost on the final race. I can claim no special knowledge, just luck.

One horse I backed Finnegan’s Garden because  the jockette Page Fuller had a nice smile.

Another – Wisdom of Age – because I liked the name. I had noted that the going was soft and sapping.

So the horse that took an early lead, normally one that does not last the course in flat racing, saw off the field and led from start to finish over the jumps.

Horse racing is heavily subsidised by the betting industry.

This said, for a midweek meeting in February there must have been 1500 – 2000 people there.  I was surprised no one was on hand on Reception to take us to our box which we had difficulty in finding.

The jockey informed us that for each race a competing jockey earns a basic of £170. Obviously if he/she wins he gets a share of the prize money. A jockey earns about £25000-30000 annually, not a lot for a  dangerous sport. There must be temptations.

Our group enjoy a drink and the return journey back was noisy. More beers were distributed but at my age my bladder is weak and my desire to get home strong, so I slipped away when we returned whilst the group went to a local hostelry.

I certainly enjoyed the day out and would do it again.

To conclude on the Great Debate. By being on the course I could see how difficult the conditions were after all the rain and there was still a wind. It undoubtedly favoured the stayer and I backed these.

I doubt if I would have seen these conditions at first hand on the TV or would actually watch on the TV racing channel.

With its  fences, handicaps and attraction to the common man or woman – rather than a badge of wealth – I prefer the jumps to flat racing.

Finally, you need to make at least a hundred to be ahead of the game with admission, tips, drinks etc. but were I to go racing next week I would be just as likely to lose as to win.

About Ivan Conway

Ivan Conway will be reporting on Sussex sport. He is a member of the 1901 club at Brighton HAFC, Sussex County Cricket Club and an enthusiastic horse race goer. After selling his freight forwarding and conference business he settled in Hove. His other interests are bird watching, brass rubbing and bridge. More Posts