I had laughed when David O’Meara called me to say he had found a race for our Charity Horse, Rosie’s Lady, at Wolverhampton on New Years Day. He thought I was laughing because I felt the race was unsuitable but no, I was laughing because I knew the state I would be in following a black tie “do” on New Years Eve. It made for a heck of a day, I can tell you. It made for a heck of a night, too.
We had booked into a Premier Inn for the evening of the 31st December and were to be picked up by Paul and his wife around 7-00am. Having not been that long returned off a cruise, when the penguin suit gets a right battering, I had decided a few weeks ago to pop it into the cleaners. It was a new one purchased for the cruise, to replace one that had gone to small for me…or me to big for it. Probably the latter.
I collected my suit from the dry cleaners and put it straight into the wardrobe, in the wrapper it came in and on the day of the “do”, I simply popped it into the car.
We arrived at the hotel in plenty of time to shower and get dressed but not time to get back to Wirral, where the suit that fitted was still sitting, in need of a dry cleaner, in my wardrobe. This muppet had got the wrong suit cleaned and whilst Karen was on the phone advising Paul’s wife, Kathryn, that we would not be able to join them, I performed a feat only usually achieved by young ladies who appear to have been poured into a pair of pants….I managed to get into my trousers, which were at least 1 1/2 inches to tight around the waist. It really was a eureka moment and the minutes that went before surely capable of achieving the same number hits on Youtube, as those achieved by Psy….had such a video moment existed.
Discomfort doesn’t begin to describe it but I dined through five courses (now you know why I needed the new suit), and from 11-00pm onwards we attended the disco.
I want to conjure up a picture. Most of the blokes there were in their 50’s, or older. We were dressed in shiny suits and dickie bows but alcohol does to the same things to the “sober”, as it does to everyone else.
11-45pm, a DJ mix of Moves Like Jagger (didn’t then, possibly do now), Sexy and I Know It and Gangnam Style (Psy left…all I was missing was the glasses and the hair…trousers look right)….the floor was full….of us near crusties losing total control of our giblets. Dad dancing par excellence!
New Year seen in and then back to the hotel for 12-45am….knackered. Up and dressed by 8-30am, breakfasted and then back to Wirral to prepare for a trip to Wolverhampton, to see Rosie’s Lady, the Charity Horse, running in our own colours for the very first time. Excited doesn’t describe it. I had promised to produce some figures before leaving and having prepped Musselburgh, it was a case of spending an hour or so preparing that Newsletter before rushing out of the door again…suit fitting like a glove. With top rated winners at 13/2, 7/2 and 6/4, from five rated races, it had been worth it!
It took us nearly two hours to drive down to the racecourse and we parked up at just turned 2-15pm. Everyone else attending was already there….and cold. We watched the small field races on the TV screens there, in the comfort of the bar area simply waiting for our race.
No great expectations, really. We were certainly not expecting much by way of a result, the trip being wrong, the underfoot conditions, on all evidence, not entirely suitable but on meeting David in the parade ring just shy of 20 minutes before the off, he did, after we put his arm right up his back, advise she had a genuine e.w. chance. I posted this on Facebook as soon as the words left his mouth but feeling, as I did, he was just being diplomatic, I opted to keep the wallet closed whilst others indulged in nothing more than “loyalty bets”.
We were introduced to Graham Gibbons, our jockey, and wished him good luck before retiring to the Premier Stand….which isn’t.
David was standing by the rails with the lad who had led Rosie around, apprentice David Bergin, as was Sean, camera poised. Horses loaded, I stood there simply waiting/expecting to speak to David after the race, to perform our post mortem. He had told me before the race that he had her entered up again next week, just in case she ran well enough here, to justify the entry. It is no good us waiting around for the ground to improve for hurdling and if we took her to a track to do that right now we would, in his words, “rip the guts out of her and she would be no use to anyone”.
Anyway, the gates opened and we missed the kick slightly, Rosie having been on her heels when they sprang. The two inside were even more slowly away and she got over to the rail in third place, before they hit the bend. That we had the course commentator say “and Rosie’s Lady moving nicely in third”, was music to my ears. We had received a positive mention. That would do for me. With three furlongs to run Graham made a move up the inside of the horse running second and Karen and I looked at each other, thinking, “that’s not bad!”. Coming off the final bend Graham moved her back inside the leader before belting up the rail and into the lead. As owners, that’s when things get blurred! All I heard after that was “mwalamwalaah, Rosie’s Lady coming clear, mwlaahalahmwala”…because by this point I’m giving it the lunatic large on the steps, as is everyone else (including David O’Meara) and as she passed the post over two lengths up I just ran down to the man, gave him a bear hug, called him a genius and gave him a slap on the back that probably still shows the “red palm”. Got one back, mind!
We had a minute or so to calm down before Graham brought her into the winners enclosure and for thoughts of Royal Ascot to dissipate. Ever been in the winners enclosure? It’s magic.
Those that had attended all congregated around Rosie and Graham, to have the pictures taken…they’ll be up soon….and our members present were then given the prize, surrounded by grinning loons.
Over to the Champagne room to get the prize packaged and sip a cold one whilst watching the race again on the monitor in the room, warm room, and enjoying it all over again.
The drive back to Wirral was easy. Everyone in my car was smiling every mile of the way and quite rightly so, too.
Not only had we seen our colours on the track for the very first time but we had won! We had also raised nearly £2000 for those charities we support at Post Racing, Greatwood Caring for Retired Racehorses and Special Needs Children, the Injured Jockeys Fund, Racing Welfare and the Bob Champion Cancer Trust.
A job very well done!
It is well known what we are trying to do here. Raise £1M for the charities, get people going racing as owners and have the layers pay for it all. That this week we have made further steps up that road is extremely satisfying.
If you are reading this as a casual observer, may I invite you to join us? We have several options available to you and nothing here costs more than 97p per week.
By the end of 2013 I want 1000 site members on board and by the end of 2014 I want 2500 x 500 Club members having taken up the top package available. If these goals are achieved we will have 10 seriously decent horses running for the 500 Club and five Charity Horses running up and down the country, enabling everyone to experience what we all experienced on Tuesday….and honestly, it’s a feeling money cannot buy.