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Easy Money (Cheltenham 1992)… part four (the end)

Submitted by on April 5, 2014 – 8:05 amNo Comment

Champers

part four of a short story…

I look around- everybody in sight is checking their money. And I’m left wandering if the man doing the bing-bonging is working with the pickpockets. I mean, it saves a lot of rooting about- he puts that across and every idiot shows you where they keep their money. I’m laughing about this then a thought crosses me mind. Me hand immediately leaps to me shirt pocket but the rest of our money is there thank God.

I look at the bar there’s a sign saying “Moet et Chandon £28”. I think –go on our kid, it is Cheltenham. And I order a bottle. Some disinterested barman opens the bottle without much aplomb. I bung him thirty quid and tell him to keep the change. I pour two glasses and before I know it Tony’s back.

-Where’d you get that? He says pointing to the champers. Daft question, I think, and I point to this old girl at the other end of the bar-she’s in her fifties with a daft hat on.

-She sent it over.

Tony gives her a funny look, raises his glass and shouts
-Cheers.

She gives him an equally funny look, raises her glass and shouts
-Cheers

You meet some funny people travelling the turf.

What price did you get? I say.
-Opened at 11/4, he says.
-You take it? I say.
-No, he says.
-Sorted, I say. So you took it?
-No, he says.
-For fucks sake Tony, I shout (a little too loud) what price?
-Someone went 100/30 so I took that.
-Good man, I say.
-Not really, he says, it’s gone to 7/2- they’re backing Carvills Hill off the boards.
-No problem, I say quoting John McCririck, the magic sign will bring it back in.

Tony starts rolling a Golden Virginia and I start laughing me bollocks off.

-What’s up? He says.

-Jesus Tony, I say, we’re in the Members Enclosure at Cheltenham with our best suits on- we’ve got a grand on a cert and we’re drinking champagne- and you’re rolling a cig. GET A CIGAR, it is Cheltenham.

It’s three twenty-five- we have to wallop back the champers to get a good view of the big one.

It was the greatest race I’ve ever seen. It was an honour to have been there. Carvills Hill tries to make all the running but Golden Freeze goes with it. Carvills likes to dictate the pace but Golden Freeze won’t let it and Carvills is making jumping errors. Tony turns to me after the ninth (he won the toss for the binoculars) and says,

-The favourite (Carvills Hill) is done in. The Pole is riding ours patiently and the horse is still full of running.

My heart’s beating like mad. I know it’s a good one. I just know it will win. I can’t wait to walk in the Railway pub tomorrow and shout over to old Ken – “EASY MONEY!!!’ and buy everyone in the vault a pint.

Three out “The Fellow” takes it up. He’s in the lead too soon, but he’s going away, he’s got them all beat. The jockey has got daylight between him and the others why hasn’t he hit the rails and cut those behind off?

-HIT THE RAILS, HIT THE FUCKING RAILS, I’m screaming.

They come over the last. It’s anybody’s, there’s three in a line. “Docklands Express” on this side is marginally ahead but mine is going better. But that cagey sod McGuire has come up the inside rails on “Cool Ground”. Why didn’t our jockey hit the rails and cut him off when he had the chance. A schoolboy error. They pass us and hit the line- It’s impossible to tell who’s won.

If sex was that good I’d become a pervert.

They announce that it’s a photo-finish. We aint got a clue who’s won but it’s narrowed down to two- “The Fellow” and “Cool Ground”- “Docklands Express” is definitely third. We watch the replay on the big screen, there’s only a midget’s foreskin in it but Tony looks at me and I know we’ve lost. He is the best reader of a photo-finish I know. He shrugs his big shoulders and says with a sigh

-Unlucky, it was the best horse. The jockey cost us the race.

We hold onto our ticket just in case (to this day I still have my half) but we know the score.

They announce the result – “The Fellow” has finished second by a short head. The English and the Irish are cheering- not because they’ve won but because the French horse hasn’t.

-You couldn’t pick your nose, says Tony

And we adjourn for another bottle of Moet.

That was the last time I went to Cheltenham, but two years later I was sat in my front living room watching the Gold Cup. “The Fellow” was in it again and I’d backed it heavy again. The wife had gone to pick up the kids and I’m in the house alone, pissed up. The horses turn for home. “The Fellow” kicks for home and leaves everything for dead. And it comes up the hill alone, everything toiling and slaughtered behind. I knock me Newcastle Brown Ale over in excitement and I run out into the street. There’s only one old girl about and she’s cleaning her windows.

-Can’t come up the hill? I yell- It can’t come up the hill? I’m about to carpet my house thanks to that horses guts and all your experts say it can’t come up that hill. You pick your history books up in fifty years missus and look up the Gold Cup and you’ll read its name. It came up your hill laughing.

Like I say- if sex was that good I’d become a pervert.

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