It’s cold outside. Still, I’ve been convinced to venture out and somehow find myself at the Shawfields Dog Races.
The icy wind drives us straight into the café where it’s Scotch pie and chips all round – stuffed with stoge we’re ready to try our luck.
Picking a winner – it’s in the name
I don’t know a thing about dog racing. So I instinctively go with the name – Hats Diamond sounds like a winner to me. Happy with my choice I place my £2 bet and settle in trackside. But my luck is short-lived when my son points out my odds; I’ve backed the dud of the field.
And they’re off
The bell rings, the neon pink striped hare shoots off and the dogs are in hot pursuit.
It’s a blur of motion and I can’t even see where Hats Diamonds is. Then suddenly – apparent catastrophe as the front runners collide and all the favourites are out of the running.
And from the back Hats Diamond charges to the front and suddenly I’m on my feet myself yelling at the top lungs, “Come on number 3”. He must have heard me because he does it. Hysteria in the family and we’re jumping up and down celebrating our unlikely winner.
Take a £2 chance – but know when to walk away
I go to collect my winnings – £27 back on a £2 bet that amply covers my £12 entry fee. The nipping cold lifts and we’re suddenly experts, studying the dogs before making our choice for the next race. Bets placed, we eagerly watch the hare, the blur of dogs but unfortunately no winner this time round.
Lucky Friday 13th
I’m buzzing from the excitement of it all. After all, the underdog did me proud. And for 60 seconds watching the dogs whip round the track is magnetic –everyone willing their favourites to win.
So if you’re feeling particularly lucky – and happen to have a talent for picking fluky well-named winners, check out the finals of the Greyhound Derby on Friday 13 April.