A Week in June, Part 8

Jacob walks into the betting shop, takes a pen from the counter and greets Guy, the manager.

 

Guy:

Alright, my boy, I ain’t seen you in ‘ere

For a while. How’ve ya been, lad? Still at home?

 

Jacob:

I’ve moved out now. I’m living just by the river.

 

Guy:

The CHT? It’s nice round there, innit?

 

Jacob:

Yeah, I’ve only been there since yesterday.

 

Guy:

Bloody ‘ell, I see what ya mean. Well, I

Reckon you must be of legal age now.

 

Jacob:

That’s right, so that means I’ll no longer need

To slip you a few quid as a favour!

 

Guy:

Thank God, we need all the punters we can

Attract, y’know. As ya can see, it’s a

Ladbrokes, they bought me out. Are ya workin’?

 

Jacob:

My job’s finished. FIxed term, you see. I just

Completed my exams at school. Today

I’m signing on, Universal Credit.

 

Guy:

That’s bad, m’lad. Fancy working in ‘ere?

 

Jacob:

Yeah, but just on this side of the counter.

 

Guy:

I’m serious. Ain’t got nothin’ at the moment,

I’ll let my line manager know, and I’ll

Keep ya posted when take on new staff.

 

Jacob:

Cheers. Right. I don’t have long. Now that you’ve been

Taken over, at least I no longer

Feel personal about winning thousands.

 

Guy:

I hope ya win, I really do. Let’s say

You won twenty thousand, what would ya buy?

 

Jacob:

Simple. I’d make sure I win another

Twenty. After that, I’d upgrade on my

Living quarters. And you know what I’d do

If I won a cool million? I’d pay

Towards opening a boarding school for

Orphans, give them the best education.

 

Guy:

That’s right philanthropic of ya, m’boy.

Right then, what do ya think’ll win the first?

 

Jacob:

Hmm … not convinced by that French horse at all.

Ervedya, is it? She won last year, all right,

Now she’s against the boys, and on soft ground.

 

Ben walks into the betting shop.

 

Ben:

Right lads, just got back from a funeral.

Have I got a great tip for you. Dead cert.

 

Guy:

Oh, hiya Ben, Who’s funeral was it?

 

Ben:

Poor Old Bill Belardo, from down the road.

 

Guy:

Old Bill? I Can’t say I remember him.

 

Ben:

I’m sure you do, curly grey hair to his

Shoulder, wore thick glasses, smoked a cigar.

 

Guy:

Of course, I know him now. I mean, not here,

But he used to go to The Wooden Cart,

Y’know, the Georgian Inn three streets away?

 

Ben:

He lived there, so it goes, but his mental

Health soon declined. He just wasted away.

 

Guy:

That’s a real shame. Used to be quite sprightly.

 

Ben:

Yeah, he enjoyed jogging by the canal.

Those days are past, but his namesake’s running.

Looks a good each way bet to nothing,

That Belardo. What do do you think, young man?

 

Jacob:

Can’t have him out of the first three.

The more I look at it, Tepin should win.

 

Ben:

Good shout. All those American horses

Are red hot when they come over. You can’t

Knock a winning record. Are you new here?

 

Jacob:

Legally, yes, but Guy knows me quite well.

 

Guy:

But you’ve never been to a race meeting?

 

Jacob:

Until this week.

 

Guy:

You didn’t say.

 

Ben:

What day?

 

Jacob:

Thursday, for the Gold Cup.

 

Ben:

You lucky sod.

 

Jacob:

It’s not cheap, mind. A win will pay for it.

 

Ben:

It’s not easy. Ask Guy, he’ll tell you that.

 

Guy:

I’ve made a ton from the jolly backers

And mug punters following rogue tipsters.

 

Ben:

All the tipsters are rogues. All right, I like

Value Bet and Pricewise, forget the rest.

 

Guy:

Most of them are Bookmakers benefits.

 

Jacob:

Now we’ve sorted the first. The Coventry?

 

Ben:

Caravaggio, mate. O’Brien’s farmed

The race in recent years. He’s not as wild

As his namesake, but just as talented.

 

Jacob:

That’s a double. How about the King’s Stand?

 

Guy:

Now that’s a race! I made a grand last year!

 

Ben:

You’re lucky we weren’t here. Right, Clive Cox and

Kevin Ryan are nap hands in the sprints.

 

Jacob studies the form in the Racing Post.

 

Jacob:

Maybe you’re right. Profitable could win.

 

Ben:

Now you’re betting on the names, just like me.

 

Guy:

What’s this? Ya both tryin’ to fleece me now?

 

Ben:

Yeah, and? I’m sure Ladbrokes can pay it out.

 

Guy:

I keep thinkin’ I’m still independent,

But I’ve got less cash in the shop.

 

Ben:

You’ll make plenty. What about the big one?

 

Guy:

I took a ten grand bet on The Gurkha.

You can trust me, he ain’t seein’ it back.

 

Ben:

I reckon he’ll she’ll run well, but she’s out of

Galileo, and may want much further.

 

Jacob:

And what Galileo Gold then?

 

Ben:

Don’t let the name deceive you, his sire

Is Paco Boy, once a top class miler.

Awtaad beat him at the Curragh.

 

Jacob:

I’ll forgive him. This is proper soft ground,

You can’t ignore the Dettori factor.

Right, those are my bets. A lucky fifteen,

With an extra each way acca to boot.

 

Ben

You’re not bothered with the rest of the card?

 

Jacob:

I’ll let you clean up once I’ve made a bomb.

 

Ben:

Confident lad, that’s all I’ll say. I’ve seen

A good many, gambling was their ruin.

 

Guy:

Jacob is shrewd.  He knows what he’s doing.

 

Bob:

I hope you do, I don’t.  Here comes trouble.

 

Alan walks opens the door and walks up to the counter.

 

Alan:

Up the Irish! We’ll make a killing, lads.

 

Guy:

So says the man, Cricklewood born and bred.

 

Alan:

Well, it’s me one time of the year, that and

Cheltenham. Say, I haven’t seen you before.

So, what’s your name, sonny?

 

Jacob:

Jacob Moraine.

 

Alan:

Classy, very classy, it’s got that French

Would you be an Ascot virgin, by chance?

 

Ben:

Watch out, Jacob, he’s got his eye on you.

 

Alan:

I mean as a figure of speech.  For me

Sins, I’m married, Racing’s me get out clause.

 

Ben:

I bet you’re still trying to buy it out.

 

Alan:

If those bloody jockeys do what I ask

Them to, instead of taking the wrong course

Or unseating, I might be rich by now.

 

Guy:

Always the jockey’s fault, innit, Alan?

 

Alan:

That’s right, always the bloody same. Horses

Jump the fences for fun, as some as some

Numpties climb on their backs, they fall down flat.

 

Jacob:

Racing without jockeys, would be a sight.

 

Alan:

Maybe the best horse would win, then. They must

Be told to lose, just to spite me. It’s like

They get a signal when I place a bet.

 

Guy:

You should bet on all but one horse to win,

That way we’ll know the winner in advance!

 

Alan:

Don’t you bloody mock me. The Gurkha will

Win the big one. Why? O’Brien’s won the

Race seven times, sure it stands to reason.

 

Ben:

But they all had stronger reputations.

I think it’s a bit of a red herring.

Just like Cheltenham, you’d back Willie Mullins.

 

Guy:

For us bookies, it is. Look what ‘appened

With that great mare Annie Power last year.

Saved my bacon, unseating at the last.

 

Alan:

Ruby Walsh lost the race, what are a disgrace.

 

Ben:

That’s from someone who chose Nichols Canyon

This year. Bet on the dogs, if I were you.

 

Alan:

Naa, that’s even more rigged. If I bet on

The six, it starts trying to shag the three.

As for football, divers spoil all the games,

Conmen winning free kicks and penalties.

And in rugby? I bet on the first try

Scorer, he touches down, I think, I’ve won,

Then the video ref overrules it!

 

Jacob:

So all in all, looks like you’re jinxed all ways.

 

Alan:

That’s what I’ve been saying, but these

Numbnuts don’t believe me. I’m glad I’ve got

One on my side. And what do fancy

In the first race? Esoterique?

 

Jacob:

Tepin.

 

Alan:

Can’t be right all the time, can you, my boy?

 

Jacob:

And when was the last time that you were right?

 

Alan:

Two months ago … Ben placed my bet for me.

 

Guy:

There’s a tally in the backroom. Alan’s

Losing streaks, and ‘is excuses for each.

 

Ben:

It’s my turn to update the sheet today.

 

Alan:

See what I have to put up with, Jacob?

 

Jacob:

You could write a book, The World’s Worst Punter,

The secrets of how not to win at horse racing.

 

Alan:

You may laugh now, but when I make it big

You’ll see it was all worth it in the end.

 

Jacob:

I better go. I’ll see you all later.

 

Ben:

Bye, lad.

 

Guy:

See ya later.

 

Alan:

Good luck.

 

© 2017 AGP

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