Saturday, April 09, 2005

Not The Chair!

Not The Chair!

It has to be said that I come from a family with a very well developed competitive gene. There are both pluses and minuses to this*, but one of the side effects is that we're all very much armcahir sport enthusiasts. You name a sport, we'll probably have watched and supported people in it. The Olympics is a time of wonder for us all and, if I'm honest, me in particular. Who would ahve thoguht that entire days would be spent based around the timing of badminton and three-day eventing?

But of all the sports that have their hold in my genes the one that probably had the biggest impact on my childhood was horse racing. My father is to horse racing what I am to Griffin and Fox**. As I sit typing now I can see on the bookcase nearest to me more books about racing than it is possible to count without either driving myself insane or spending much more time on this blog entry than it properly merits. And today is the day when even people who aren't interested in racing get interested - it's the Grand National.

And Grand National Day is something ingrained in my psyche. I can remember being little and sitting on my dad's knee pretending to be riding a horse, whilst we both shouted the grand national fences that the knee-horse had to jump. Sometimes we'd get through them. Sometimes I'd dramatically fall off. But most of all I can remember the thrill when when got to The Chair. For anyone wondering what I'm talking about here, The Chair is the biggest fence in the National. And thus the peak of the test for the knee-horse. Now it falls to my seven year old brother who sits on the sofa arm, with a empty kitchen roll tube which he uses as a whip, to go through the fences. And for us all to shout in unison 'Oh No! Not The Chair'.

It also falls to the annual sweepstake. Which amounts to us all picking horses from several different groups [graded according to the betting so that one person doesn't end up with a selection of comedy horses] and then waiting to see who will get the money that my father puts in the pot. My best chance this year? Forest Gunner. So if you haven't got a horse to cheer along, send happy thoughts to that one. Or, if you're after the comedy angle, Aston Vanilla, not because it's one of my horses but because, with a name like that, it's going to need it.

*Monopoly would be one of the minuses.

**So maybe there's also an obsessional gene there too.

1 comment:

cat said...

I got Astonville, or whatever it's called, in the sweepstake at work, 250-1 rank outsider! pulled up at the 13th, so it could have been very much worse.