Against All Odds

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It seems my lack of sporting smarts knows no bounds.

This week my boss put on a lovely day for the staff at work – a marque at the local track. As my usual date for these sorts of events was busy I took along Miss9 to help me work through the free food and drink. She was mad keen to go.

“I really don’t want to,” she enthused to her mother earlier in the day. “Can’t you talk to dad?”

Tracey did talk to me but I chose to ignore it, sprouting off some nonsense about wishing to show my daughter a bit of culture and how she’s always saying she wants a pony: shouldn’t she at least see one up front and personal? Fact was, I just didn’t want to show up alone.

As we drove out to the track, I took the opportunity to clue her up on all things horse racey.

“So the horses race each other around the track and people bet on which one wins,” I told her. “If they’re silly. The smart people just eat nibblies and try look classy while drinking champagne and walking on grass in heels.”

“So do the owners ride their horses?” she wanted to know.

“No, they pay other people to ride them. Those people are called jockeys. Jockeys are small like…,” I fumbled momentarily, “…Poppy. He’d make a good jockey.”


“Because he’s tiny. You don’t want a big, heavy person on a horse in a race because it’ll slow the horse down.”

“So you’l make a good jockey, Dad?”

“I think I’d be closer to the horses weight than a jockeys,” I told her.

“But you’re smaller than Poppy.”

“I think you’re thinking of my dad – Grandad. I’m talking about Mummy’s dad, Poppy.”

“I know who Grandad is, Dad,” she said in that ‘you’re a bit simple sometimes’ tone she’s inherited from her mother. “He’s bigger than you too. Like Poppy.”

Considering Poppy is about a foot shorter than me and he is lacking anything coming close to my girth, I think it goes a long way towards explaining the presence her Poppy has.

As for my horse racing knowledge, it’s pretty much exclusively based on Dick Frances novels, so had run its course with being able to label the rider a jockey and the course a track. I suspect my lack of horse smarts became obvious to Miss9 when I directed her attention down the track for the one and only race we witnessed and told her to watch for the horses, which would be galloping towards her any second….and then, as you can see from the photos below, they arrived from the opposite direction. Guess which part of the day she couldn’t wait to tell her mum about?

We briefly watched the first stage of Fashions of the Field (well, Miss9 did – the hot food platter had just arrived at our marque, so I volunteered to look after it) before we left. In fact, one of the lovely girls from my work took it out, which was nice. I did find it amusing to see so many men interested in this event given how hard it is, traditionally, to get a man to go with his partner into a boutique. I can’t imagine what the attraction is.

So in the end Miss9 decided the afternoon was a lovely bit of fun, what with getting to see some Gee-Gees and drink some soft drink and eat potato chips.

As for me, I think I’ll stick to my current challenge of trying to explain footy to the kids. I may not be very good at knowing the intricate rules of it either, but at least I know which direction the teams at going.

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When not typing away over here and checking his stats every two minutes Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his ‘BIG FAMILY little income’  Facebook Page.

 ’raising a family on little more than laughs’

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