Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Grand National

Well, today was the Grand National here in the UK, i.e Horse-Racing Betting Day.
I've always categorically refused to bet, ever since I lost £1 to my then 6-year old brother forever-ago over a Batman album sticker card. I learnt my lesson pretty early. But since all my friends were betting this morning, well, it was part of the attraction of the day and I had nothing else to do. I usually fret over £2 for a coffee, yet there I was knowingly throwing away £8 for nothing. I have learned to trust and think by my streaks of bad luck.

To aid the act of choosing a horse out of 40, The Sun newspaper is smart enough to offer a whole spread dedicated to the horses' history, as well as the sacred bet-odds list. So, after a whole year and a half of boycott, I finally drowned over the Sun newspaper. Yes, the journal infamous for its page three girls was now going to make me rich!
The horses' names: Lord of Illusion, Shotgun Willy, Nil Desperandum, Just In Debt, or Tyneandthyneagain... but I chose Numbersixvalverde. Because he wasn't the favorite, thus lesser odds, and because his name was kinda cool. And also because Samer, who is doing his PhD, bet on him too. You see, I trust people with PhDs. So, £4 on Numbersixvalverde, and another £4 on Iznogoud, one of the three shittiest horses, but with a 1-200 odd, so, what the heck...

And off they go!! All bidders in Bethnal Green staring at a bunch of horses running on the TV screen of the local pub. Of course, it's all a jumble of horses seen from the stratosphere, and the commentator with a tone straight out of the 30s mumbles out random names, so you don't really know what the hell is going on. Sometimes you catch him saying the name of your horse, and you squeal with delight, and then realize he could've said "xxxxxxx is a real goner" for all you know. Until you get towards the end, and you realize Numbersixvalverde is in the top three, and your heart starts to beat, and you're fucking scared because there are horses falling at every hedge, and your whole life depends on those £4, when you realize that Iznogoud just is no good, and Numbersixvalverde (no nicknames allowed) goes in the lead, and there are no more hedges, and he's whipping his horse's ass, and Samer screaming "whip him harder! harder! faster! Faster!!!!" and... NUMBERSIXVALVERDE IS A WINNER!!!!!!!!!
And my £4 are now £48, and I think, Damn! I'm one inch closer to being a gambling millionnaire! And you beam left and right at the Bethnal Greeners coz they bet on the favorite, Clan Royale, who, with a 1-5 odd, would've brought them almost nothing anyway... And you're there, throwing it all in, taking a risk, and it pays off!
Damn the sun is warmer when that happens!