Weblog: What do you mean the Wi-Fi doesn't work? The life of a Racing Post reporter
It was 27 years ago today
Mary Hopkin time at Pontefract this afternoon. Those were the days, indeed. Or the day.
Tuesday, September 2, 1986,to be precise.
Second day of my working life. And the first running of the 2m2f Phil Bull Trophy. Entire Timeform staff decamped to Pontefract (the first track Bull had visited as a child and scene of his first win as an owner).
Took over the restaurant. Many a drink taken (so I am given to understand). Hot favourite Kudz, trained by Henry Cecil for Sheikh Mohammed and ridden by Steve Cauthen, won the race. Great time was had by all (several of whom claimed never to have seen a horse all day).
"So this is what the world of work is like," I thought, soon to find out that not every day is like Tuesday.
Much has changed in the years since. I am no longer 20. Really. (though my great age clearly lends me an air of wisdom - as I left the paddock for the first race today a punter came up to ask what I fancied).
The Phil Bull Trophy is in October rather than September and the bar takings would have been a good deal less than 26 years ago as the only Timeform representative on hand was the semi-retired Geoff Greetham.
No Cecil or Cauthen either, though Sheikh Mohammed is still around and looked have a stranglehold on today's running with classy pair Zuider Zee (in the colours of his wife Princess Haya) and Darley Sun (Godolphin) - only for them both to be put in their place by Lieutenant Miller, a jumper having his first run on the Flat.
Bull, a former school teacher, would been fuming at the slip-up which mean the salver presented to winning jockey called it the 'Phill Bull Trophy' - clearly confusing the founder of the organisation which changed the way the world thought about racing with stand-up comedian and 'Never Mind The Buzzcocks' presenter Phill Jupitus.
You can never escape completely from the racing world and last night I bumped into a notably successful professional gambler in the Cookridge branch of Italian restaurant chain 'Gusto'.
Slightly disappointing as you would have hoped that those brave souls who spend their lives taking on the bookmakers, studying form every hour of the day, risking everything with no social security safety net, would be rewarded with nights spent quaffing champagne and caviar in the finest of eateries.
But when I asked whether he would be at Pontefract this afternoon he said that he always has Mondays off - so perhaps all that work is worthwhile.