Remember, a couple of days ago I went along to the Sligo Races to check them out? Me of all people, never in me life having placed a bet yet, but I am lovin’ the good old horses for sure! Mind you, in the dark corners of my heart I could be quite a gambler as well, so I happily tagged along the Sligo Race Course, trying to figure it all out for myself.
Thank you again Sligo Races for the free passes, in the end I dragged my teenage daughter along, plus her best friend which considers herself my adoptive daughter as well. Not that the girls needed much dragging, loving the bit of adventure and all, and any day out is a dose of excitement in those long summer hols even though the Irish summer is not as tropical as its cracked up to be in the first place. So yeah, let’s see what happened:
Here I am, at the Sligo Races, not knowing what to expect, knowing the glory of the races only from those old movies. I packed some binoculars just in case, but that daughter of mine begs me to leave them in the bag, mothers can be such embarrassment to a 14year-old, and yes, she seems to be right, people seem to rely on their eye sight here at this place, how weird is that…! Happy sunny hour in Sligo even though we left Carrick in a great deal of downpours, so there is picnics in the grass, kids doing cart wheels, people getting a bit of the ole tan onto those neglected winter legs…
First race in full swing, and yesss, the binoculars come out, almost like on command, men in suits and denims alike buzzing with the excitement at their own bets potentially materializing into some winnings; the same joyful restlessness that we felt in our local beer garden watching the Europe 2012 matches just a week ago… Good to have the Races now that our boys in green gotta come home…
And yes, there is THE dress too, standing out and wanting to be admired and seen, giving us a glance of era’s gone by when life was slower and slower still. What did she say? ‘Hi I am Aine – that is Irish for Annie!’
I am seriously considering placing a bet, beginners luck at the best but isn’t it luck that we need half the time anyway?
The sun is scorching down on us in her unexpected Irish way, and the original ‘builders’ of the Race Course must have considered the position of the sun for putting it all into place, a full hit of evening heat on our faces to mark the moment as special and delightful. Benbulben always in view, majestic and proud, casting its own perspective on to all our worldly doings…
Talked to some seriously-into-the business-looking man from Athlone, admitting my next-to-nothing-knowledge regarding betting on those horses, he took pity on me and disclosed cautiously who he placed a bet on. He relaxed a bit when he heard that I’ll be betting a fiver at the most, that shouldn’t wreck all his winnings after all, he wishes me best of luck and politely runs off before I can wangle more information out of him. It’s going to be the very last race though, so I am in for the full hog of the night, I better get some food and drink by now!
Placing another bet after listening to my friend from the Order of Malta, only a fiver as well, fingers crossed, it’s supposed to be THE horse!
Errmm, no, I didn’t win that one. But now I get the whole betting thing, once there is money on ‘your’ horse it becomes yours indeed, and suddenly I am part of the crowd, cheering and shouting “come on come on number five!” and the whole place is one mutual call, echoing encouragement above the clatter of hooves and pint glasses and I am amongst the shouters without hesitation. And yes, one does see familiar faces all over the place, the local dentist (not that you want to be reminded actually), The Order of Malta Crew, the guy from Tesco, and the girl next door… my teenage girls say to put in that there are lots – and they mean lots – of ‘hot boys’ here too, I have to admit I didn’t really see them, but then again when did I last look at a kid who wasn’t my own? But if you do have teenage kids the Race Course seems to be one of the cool places to go for sure!
Sun starting to hide behind a layer of fluffy clouds, the temperature drops in an instant, but once again I seem to be the only one noticing, everybody is soldering on in shirts and skirts while I start to get all my additional layers wrapped around me… the last race is about to start, my lucky horse is called TruthWillSetYouFree, what a name for a horse, and considering the phase of life I am currently in I have a funny feeling this may be a winner! The guy in the Toto booth is trying to persuade me to bet the tenner rather than the fiver, I am tempted indeed, but caution or mean-ness is getting the better of me and I stick to the planned fiver, leaving the other one for whatever should come my way later. Here is to hope, truth will set you free, it won’t cover the mortgage anyway but it may be a winner on all levels nevertheless and an unexpected Indian take away might be just what we need on the way home.
One more time cheering, shouting, watching, wishing; one more time the lightning flash of the race in accordance with our adrenaline levels, and yesss, truth will set you free is a winner! I love betting, I love winning and I love the buzz of the place! How come I’ve never done this before?
The bookie in the booth says “I told you you should have done the tenner” with a most tender voice, I can’t even have regrets after seeing him being somewhat sorry for me! 12.50 my humble winnings, but what joy to have won at all! The girls think that this is the coolest too, suddenly mum is half embarrassing only! I have to hand in the winning ticket, so here a pic and proof for all of you!
One last round by the parade ring, saying goodbye to the horses, blowing the winnings on junk food and an easy ride home, sunglasses and songs in our car, hearts filled with happiness and fun. If you are looking for something new to do go along to one of the next races, you will love it, knowing nothing about races is the surest thing to winning I was told, and you always meet somebody for a chat anyway, just sit on one of those benches by the grassy area and wait and see what happens! And if you have kids, they’ll thank you for the day out big time too!
Thanks to Sligo Races for giving me a chance to go along, I hope you guys from Sligo Races are happy with this post, and thank you friendly man from Athlone for sharing your horse with me too! Your Dock Blogger
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