Racing: “Totterdige & Tottenham”

More memories of Haydock Park with this pair. This is a bit more like they dress today than in the 70s when I had a holiday job on the course. What’s not changed is the way they seem to wear their tickets on their coats as far as the male of the species goes. The heels for the filly are also a must have, and there’s a certain amount of risk to the poor wearer, not just from inevitable bunions, but just the simple matter of walking. I call it Totteridge. From the rear the lady in question would look to have donned ice skates and can barely stand, stumbling and tottering but never quite hitting the deck. There’s even more risk at the end of the meeting when more than a glass or two of bubbly has been taken. That aside I saw many a totteridge but never a complete tottenham ( i.e. “when a lady in heels falls somewhat ungracefully to the floor”)

Top jockeys, even back then, were flown in small private planes to meetings so that they could race there and elsewhere all on the same day. The very top jockey at the time was never very popular with the workers at Haydock, he was rumoured to swear at anyone that got in his way when atop his mount, even the odd pensioner who was there to earn a little bit to supplement a meagre pension with some freelance ‘treading in’. ( See previous blog for full meaning )

My regular colleagues and ground staff were tasked before the races to peg down a set of large white sheets in the centre of the course so that this jockey’s plane could lad safely. As we were preparing the sheets one of our number, remembering the jockey’s foul mouthed tirade to one of our elderly ‘readers’ suggested that we might put the sheets down so that the plane might have a tricky landing. Our main man looked at us all, and we decided best not to. There was the pilot to consider.

At the end of that meeting we heard that the pilot had taken off by himself without his esteemed rider. It seems that the jockey in question was equally grumpy and unpleasant to him, and decided he could do without it, and him.

Clear for take off!

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