Racing certainty

A few drawings unearthed in recent days, when I thought of doing a series on horse racing. I have some limited experience in the field having worked at Haydock Park when I was 16, where my duties included cutting birch trees on Lord Derby’s estate a few miles away which were then transported down the East Lancs Road on a trailer pulled by a tractor, with me on the top of the load with a red flag! Picking litter after a race day and cursing the losers who tore up their betting slips and littered the grandstands, and ‘treading in’ after a race. This involved putting back the divots and then treading them back in, for the next race. It looked like a bunch of old guys and a youth ( me ) rocking back and forth in a sort of slow line dance.

I was put off gambling on the races when a hot tip from a stable boy ( usually a wrinkly little man ) turned round at the start and went the wrong way.

I was also one of the team that cleaned the stables when all the horses had left, wire brushed to take the dung of the walls, some at a considerable height, and then completely re-whitewashed. You could eat your dinner off the floor of one of those stables when we’d finished.

I got £10-00 a week.

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