The first local race meetings I attended was with my grandmother's best friend and a friend of hers. Sometimes its was to the Horse Racing meet, sometimes it was to the Trots. I loved horses, so it was exciting just to be close to them, but not too close, as I suffered from asthma and they are one of my triggers.
My grandmother's friend would show me how to bet, how to go to the window and what to say. We'd have fun all day, winning though often losing. I'd go the mounting yard for each race and watch what was on offer, and if there was a grey - well my money instantly went on that.
My dad let me pick his winners for his syndicate in my teens, and I followed all the races at Flemington and in Melbourne. My favourite horse was Norfolk Tiger - a hurdler, who was always a safe bet.
I was in New Zealand when my favourite Melbourne Cup chance Kingston Town won - a black wonder. But there were many more over the years that I could pick from their picture.
As I got older, and perhaps more lately, its lost some of the magic for me. Perhaps because it does seem more of a cruel sport now than it used to, and the horses come off second best all too often. I watch it; but I don't enjoy it like I used to.
|the horse of my dreams - totally fictional, painted in my teens and regarded as my best horse painting for many years afterwards.|