Today marks the start of Cheltenham Festival 2017. In betting shops around the Country hundreds of thousands of Men and Women will spend an absolute fortune on the “age old” sport of Horse Racing.
My late father was a huge proponent of this sport, and Cheltenham was one of his favourite days of the year. Some of my fondest memories were heading to the bookies after being collected from work by him. We would stop off on the way home and the two of us would head into the local pub and have a pint, then place a bet in the Paddy Power beside it. His bet of choice was always a lucky 31 at 50 cent a line.
He always told me I should only bet enough to cover a loss. My dad gambled quite a bit it was one of his vices, however he was a very intelligent Gambler he rarely lost a big amount of money and he always bet to cover himself. Also whenever he won big he handed it straight over to my Mother.
Last year’s Cheltenham Festival was tough to watch for myself because it was the first Cheltenham Festival since the passing of my Dad. Although I tried to stay clear of it, Seeing the excitement of the punters on the day and the buzz of anticipation inside the bookies, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the focused look of anticipation on my father’s face as he thumbed through the Star newspapers racing index. The smell of stale coffee and the friendly small talk you would have with the lady behind the counter who’d take your bets.
In celebration of my father I follow on in his tradition and I place a lucky 31 bet every Cheltenham Festival in memory of him. It’s a nice little tradition I will continue to do, and one I hope to have when I eventually have a Son or Daughter of my own. And who knows? Hopefully they will continue the tradition along with their kids.
When I see the ads on the television on channel 4, or I see the many tipster account’s giving out bad advice on Twitter I can’t help but feel bittersweet about the day and think of the better times shared with my father.
I hope you enjoy this year’s festival, the very best of luck and most importantly happy punting.