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Monday, 21 January, 2019

David Ashforth: hole in one gets me in the mood for return to Brighton

Brighton: David Ashforth enjoys visiting the West Sussex track
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First published on Saturday, May 15, 2010

Do you play golf? Have you ever had a hole in one? No, I thought not. Have I? Well, it's funny that you should ask. I wouldn't have mentioned it otherwise but, yes, on Monday, at the Roedean course in Brighton. It was at the eighth hole, midway between Roedean School and the new sewage works.

It's not a long hole (none of them are on the miniature golf course), about 100 yards, but with a swirling sea breeze and dips and cambers that Epsom would be proud of.

In the absence of a caddy, I pondered my club selection. The putter, or the number seven iron? I opted for the iron and watched my shot, shaped in heaven, which reminds me of a joke.

Moses and Jesus were playing golf. Moses stood on the first tee and drove his ball straight down the fairway. Jesus sliced his into the rough. As they watched, a crow swooped down, picked up Jesus's ball, flew to the green and dropped it. The ball bounced twice and rolled into the hole. Moses turned to Jesus and said: "Are you going to play golf or just f*** about?" I like that joke, along with the one about the snail, which has nothing to do with racing except that some horses do a passable imitation of one.

Anyway, a man answered a knock on his back door. There was no one there but, as he was closing the door, he noticed a snail on the doorstep. He picked it up and threw it down the garden. Three months later, there was another knock on the door. The man answered it and, again, there was no one there. The snail was sitting on the doorstep. As he caught the man's eye, the snail said: "What was that all about, then?" My ball curved and bounced, rolled across the green towards the flag and disappeared into the hole.

At the cafe that accompanies the golf course, I claimed my new car, only to be told that there wasn't one.

My mate Mart, the sole witness to my triumph, settled our golf bet by buying me the set breakfast – two pieces of bacon, one fried egg, one sausage, two slices of toast. £4.20 and about 1,500 calories, probably of the wrong kind.

I like Roedean Cafe, with its cryptic sign at the roadside – 'No Coaches. Only Coach Parties'. A jolly young couple run it, which makes up for being confronted by a picture of Jonathan Ross on the wall. To look on the bright side, at least he wasn't there.

While I was busy holing in one, Danny was busy building up his cholesterol levels with sausage rolls and studying the form, always the sign of an optimist.

A trip to Brighton races. It's almost like old times. Nothing, of course, is quite like them.

The man in the wheelchair who used to roll it over people's toes has gone, as have most of the bookmakers.

I've got my doubts about the jellied eels, too. I didn't see any but perhaps they were there, somewhere, slithering about.

The horses walk around the parade ring. It's a pity that, after more than 40 years of staring at horses doing just that, I still don't seem to be able to work out which one is going to win.

I wish some of them were fatter, or walked with a limp, to make it easier, but they aren't, and don't.

Danny had £80 on My Flame at 4-1 in the second race, the 0-55 Classified Stakes race (what happened to those weight allowances they used to give fillies? I used to like those, as did the trainers of the fillies). That won him £320.

Then he had £80 on King Olav, also at 4-1, in the fourth race. That won, too. Maybe Danny's stumbled across a winning system, as has Barney Curley, although I've yet to meet anyone who really understands what it is except, possibly, Barney. It took a brave man (Danny) to oppose Curley's Agapanthus. His bravery cost him £50.

If Sheikh Ahmed (those yellow colours with the black epaulettes) had put in an appearance, I might have backed Yashrid in the maiden race and, if Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum (dark green, red cap, dark green diamond) had been there to cheer on Jay's Treaty, I'd definitely have backed that but neither owner was there, leaving the way clear for Ms Gillian Khosia's Brannagh, Ryan Moore's only ride of the meeting. I didn't back that, either.

Even so, amazingly, I left Brighton without having lost any money. I think I've found the secret.

All you have to do is not have a bet. It works, but I don't recommend it. Danny's system's better, and more fun.

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All you have to do is not have a bet. It works, but I don't recommend it
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