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Old Spanish Practices

Time passes and old rituals are played out year in year out at the appointed times.

We are approaching the Grand National – a massive horse race over fences run each year at Aintree near Liverpool.  At work the emails have gone round saying that we are about to be invited to buy our sweepstake tickets.  This happens twice a year – The Grand National (jumps) and the Derby (flat). 

I remember everyone in the factory my father ran when I was growing up buying their sweepstakes, the tabloids are always full of “how to” instructions, although it seems that people are wel able to organise these things on their own.

One previous firm I worked in the Senior Partner was able to pick the favourite rather negating the random nature of a sweepstake.

The Grand National is in its nature so random that the concept of a favourite is pretty meaningless.  It’s a massive scrum of horses travelling at speed twice round a race course puncutated by some of the most difficult fences in the trade.  Pile-ups are common and it’s not unusual for at least one, and often more, horses to be badly injured (and the jockeys too, but they don’t get “put down”).  So maybe not one to bet on.

Once upon a time, a friend of mine owned a share in several horses, most of them were steeplechasers.  My friend knew very little about horses except that they had a leg at each corner and that their dung was good (Excellent!) for roses.  A friend of his was the lead partner in the syndicate and actually knew a lot a about horses and racing.  He was hoping to have some success on the flat, but they had more luck over the jumps.

His trainer once asked the syndicate leader when they would put one of the horses into the “National”.  The leader said that on no account were they to put any of the horses into that race as he thought it was cruel and unnecessary.

That said something to me.  It should say something to you next time someone asks you to put in to the office sweepstake or put a few quid on one of the horses.  And the race?  Well I’m no animal lover, but I’d say it’s about time it was stopped.


About richardmschmidt

Paid up Grumpy Old Man with too many opinions and three kids to point out the feet of clay at regular intervals.


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