A Day at Leopardstown Races

After being postponed because of the weather, the Leopardstown Christmas Meeting, much to the delight of racing fans, finally jump started. Pun intended.

Colleen, my daughter, and I were off as well. I might add with a “bit” of a late start.

On the way we committed ourselves to gain access into any private or club members’ only section. With that attitude we confronted the gate keeper of the Members Only section on the upper level. The Members’ Club has exclusive access to the Members’ Bar and offers many amenities for its members. I persuasively told the gate keeper that my badge went missing and would greatly appreciate admittance to “our” club. Perhaps it was my cowboy hat and boots that impressed my new best friend, eighty one year’s young, John Kearney or he just decided to accommodate this stupid “Yank”. He let us in.

I know nothing about racing and thought that if I asked a sophisticated looking race fan they would be willing to guide us in choosing “winners”.

Nice try. Several mumbled that they were flat racing fans and knew nothing about hurdle racing. Others would just ignore your questions and bury their head into the facing form.

So what to do…what to do… We consulted Mr. Kearney of course and he suggested that any horse trained by Thomas Mullins was a good bet and that a Miss Nina Carberry was a very good jocket (female for jockey)would warrant a few bob.

With this valuable information in hand and our betting day began with the fifth race. I chose Hurricane Fly to win. Why? Because our family has lost homes to hurricanes…makes sense… huh? The winner…Hurricane Fly.

The next race had twenty-five horses in it…yes twenty-five.

In between races Colleen pointed out a sign next to the betting booth that explained “how to bet”. Perfect, I said. I bet each way on number 15. Pomme Tiepy is trained by Mullins but is from France. Not good for me. I bet on her anyways.

I was not aware that if there is over a certain number of horses in a race it is possible to win money even if your horse comes in fourth. Yep, another money winner. Next up. Overheard a very quite discussion about “The Shepherd” in the 7th. The Shepherd to win it was…and the Shepherd brought home the money.

The last race of the day. Colleen puts in some serious study to the racing card and

Colleen at the races

… picks “Jim Will Fix It”…why? Because Jim Murphy built our house here in Ireland and when anything goes wrong Mary will say “don’t worry…Jim will fix it”…

The ‘Future Champions’ race is flat and about two miles. The finish came down to Mississippi River and Jim Will Fix It. We were watching at an angle and it seemed that Mississippi River was the winner by a nose.

Reservedly, Col watched “Jim” cross the finish line in a photo finish. The replay on the big screen clearly showed “Jim” the winner and he was in fact declared so.

5 euro bet and Col cashes out 60.

Overall, our winnings were on the plus side of 120 euros and that sum was soon exhausted on our return home through Osborne’s’ pub.

…and oh, did I mention that while guests of the Members’ Only Club we met this charming, horsey, Newportish looking group which included the Purcells (Mary’s maiden name) and their daughter a doctor (Col’s age) practicing at Dartmouth Medical in Vermont? No…well after partaking in the hospitality of the “Club” and consuming several beverages we were asked by the “lady”, who I might add was slightly inebriated and had won some serious coin, to join them for after the race cocktails. What to do…what to do…I reluctantly declined with the explanation that with a two hour drive on foggy, Steven King like roads ahead of us, we had better pass. I know I can’t believe I did that.

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