This hi-tech West of Ireland just makes my day!

Double Vision with Charlie Adley

People talk of the past as if it were always better, but sometimes the present is pretty ring-a-ding-ding. On Monday, I was absentmindedly rifling through my wallet, half-heartedly hoping to find an old winning scratch-card or, even though the chances of finding green folding were negligible, a lost crumpled fiver.

Neither were there, yet even better, there were my betting slips from the Cheltenham Festival. Much like yer average bloke, I back horses in big races at famous meetings, so that when we’re all sitting around the telly watching the race, I’ve a real reason to cheer and scream and go a bit mental. Having a flutter also allows me to suddenly sound altogether knowledgeable, offer titbits of advice and talk as if I was reared on horse milk and grass instead of Cow and Gate.

Nobody falls for my temporary glut of equine wisdom, because they know that when I made my bets I used what many might consider a less than wholly scientific method.

Given enough time and the empty walls of a bookies, I might make an effort to check out if the horse has run the distance before, and if so did he struggle or thrive, pull up or unseat his rider?

More often though I attempt to find what I call the Number of Fate. Standing in front of the newspaper sheet showing the runners and riders on the bookies wall, my eyes drift towards the numbers on the far left, showing where each horse has been placed in their recent races. A favourite might look a bit 1143-221, while your outsider maybe more 6435FP-4.

Summoning the spirits of Bacchus, Arthur Daley and Del Boy, I drift into a trance, my vision blurring as I scan my eyes up and down and along those little lists of each horse’s numbers, imagining which sequence will continue with a 1.

Eat your heart out Einstein. Put that where the Wonders of the Universe don’t shine, Dr Brian Cox.

I’m what in betting circles is generally referred to as a ‘Mug Punter’ or ‘Bookies Friend’. By investing only 5 quid each way, I feel free to flutter on the 20/1 shots. I’m paying to play; buying a thrill; so I want the chance of a big return, and the fact that my horse is considered unlikely to win makes those rare victories taste so sweet.

Mug Punter. The Bookies Friend. That’s me all over.

There were three betting slips hiding in the lonely folds of my wallet, with returns on two, so I threw away the losing one and headed down to Paddy Power.

Five minutes after my arrival at the bookies I cannot believe my stupidity. I’ve searched my wallet 10 times, my coat pocket, my jeans pockets and the vacant car park that was once my brain, but all I can find is the lesser of the two winning slips and the losing slip.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.