Memories are made of this
On December 20th 2003 myself, my two children, and my parents had planned to go to Ascot for their Christmas meeting. The day was cold and frosty and there was an early inspection called for that morning.
And just like today, a later one was called for. We decided to take a chance and turn up (although father cried off citing the cold, and the fact the meeting would probably be called off).
We were still unsure if racing would take place as we pulled into the car park but thankfully the course was fit for use.
There was plenty happening at the track with carol singers, a merry go round, karaoke and a snow boarding simulator.
The big race of the day was the Ladbroke Hurdle and I was all over Sud Bleu for Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh. I thought he was the most likely although, as someone who followed the runners of Nicky Henderson, I did fear Saintsaire.
As was usual I got mum and the kids to pick a horse each. As well as backing each horse each way I would do combination forecasts and tricasts on all our selections (just in case) and this race was no exception.
My son, Jamie, settled on the name Thesis. He was nine and even now he cannot tell me why that name stood out. But stand out it did, and the Venetia Williams runner came home two lengths clear of the field. It was a career best performance for the gelding.
That was all good, but even better was the fact that Sud Bleu was the nearest horse to the winner at the line. The straight forecast paid £220. But the Tote Exacta was £389 meaning we had won over two hundred quid on that race alone.
And it gave me enough confidence to have a sizeable bet (for me anyway) in the next and another sixty five pounds came my way. It was just one of those days.
Hannah, six at the time, got hold of the microphone and belted out some Liberty X, Jamie fell off the snowboard a couple of times, and myself and mum gratefully accepted the home made mince pies being handed out by the local Women’s Institute.
These were washed down with mugs of hot chocolate (with a dash of brandy just to keep the cold out)
On the way home we stopped off to get a Chinese takeaway so dad could share in our good fortune.
The kids are grown now, and mum sadly left us a few years ago, but the memory of that day will live long. I guess Christmas is a time to look back, so maybe it’s the time of year that keeps the memory so bright.
Good Luck All