Monday 24 April 2017

Like most other pleasures in life, betting is fun as long as you're not a fanatic about it

Bryan Cooper celebrates crossing the line to win the OLBG Mares' Hurdle on Apple's Jade ahead. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile
Bryan Cooper celebrates crossing the line to win the OLBG Mares' Hurdle on Apple's Jade ahead. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Eamonn Sweeney

As I sat in the betting office on Tuesday morning, in that moment when all things were still possible, a guy from Paddy Power was on one of the screens chuntering away about a horse named Labaik in the Supreme Novices Hurdle.

He might have refused to start in his last three races, said the buck, but if he does start he'll have a real chance. So why not wait by the counter until they're just about to start, see what he looks like and then throw on a few quid. Jesus, I said to myself, these hoors will try and get you to bet on anything. I passed no heed and put my money on Melon.

Labaik's subsequent 25/1 victory was like something that the excellent writer Declan Lynch might have dreamed up to demonstrate the follies of betting. In fact the whole first half of the festival sometimes seemed like it was being controlled by The Dark Mage of Athlone in order to prove his point about gambling.

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