My dad’s called John, people with a dad called John generally don’t have reason to have a bit of swagger about themselves. Now on the other hand, If your dad was called Enrique, I reckon you’d have good reason to have a bit of a swagger about you. Enrique, what a cool name, it gives off that ‘latino’ kind of ‘I am cool …. I am beautiful …. I’m a lover and when I make love, I make babies …. And my babies are beautiful’. If you were sired by an Enrique, you’re gonna be good ….. If you’re sired by John, you’re probably not !
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike any horse, in fact although I am a bit scared of them (I sat on one once…once was enough – I walked into a police horses backside once…..police horses have smelly backsides !) I would never ever wish harm on any horse. As I eluded to in my opening post, I love horse racing, not just for the betting either. I can quite happily go racing with enough money for a cup of coffee in my pocket and enjoy the day as much as if I’m going on a mission to make my million through punting. Some deluded punters who talk through their pockets, sit in the bookies willing horses to fall just so they can win a couple of quid….these punters should be next in line to be minced up and added to Tesco’s burgers, not the poor horses (It took me 4 days to mention dodgy burgers…I thought I did well !). Having said that, some horses you warm to more than others, and it’s safe to say my third selection in my MILLION POUND PUNT has taken a while for me to warm to.
The name of the horse in question will have punters up and down the country running for cover…..The name of the horse is BINOCULAR.
Roll the clock back to the first race of the Cheltenham Festival in 2008, and the legends I mentioned a couple of days ago, AP McCoy rode a four year old for JP McManus, trained by one Nicky Henderson (yep, that’s right – the same Jockey/Owner/Trainer combination as My Tent or Yours…and in the same race) and he rode it into second place, only to be beaten by another horse owned by the same JP McManus, called Captain Cee Bee. This horse was Binocular, and he immediately gave the impression that he was a very likeable animal. In fact, the next time he ran was at the Grand National Meeting at Aintree and he won by seven lengths, in the process beating a horse that had won at Cheltenham just three weeks earlier. This confirmed that this was a very, very good horse.
Roll on to Cheltenham 2009, and Binocular, having remained unbeaten since the defeat at the festival the previous year was sent off a very hot 6/4 favourite for the showpiece race on the first day, The Champion Hurdle. Now I’m telling you he couldn’t get beat, he was a dead cert, without doubt one of the best bets of the meeting, he was a machine, he had the best jockey on board, he looked superb, we were going to witness a superstar and he was going to make us all rich…..AND HE GOT F*CKING WELL BEAT !!!!!
He lost….he lost…..yes ok, he lost….and to make matters worse, he finished third in the tightest three way finish to a Champion Hurdle I’ve ever seen, in a race won by his stable mate called Punjabi who was 22/1….aaahhhh b*llocks was the politest thing I had to say as my losing ticket was screwed up and flicked at the most annoying tosser within flicking distance of me – for the record, this hit a bookie !!!!!
Now, let’s fast forward just under 11 months, Binocular had been somewhat disappointing since his defeat at Cheltenham, in fact he’d been running like someone had tied bricks around his ankles…no scrap that, he’d been running like he’d been glue sniffing and had then sunk a 2 litre bottle of White Lightening. The best he’d managed was a one length win in a three horse race, and although he’d won it with ease, it was against slightly less than top class opposition. That said, he was still in the top few in the betting for the Champion Hurdle at the festival, but was around 5/1, none of the silly 6/4 from the previous year (it’s only a silly price when they lose !) Then all of a sudden, out of the blue came the news that Binocular had an injury and wouldn’t run….big news in the racing world….not significant to me though as it was never going to win the race that year anyway, after the previous year, I’d had enough of backing that particular horse for a lifetime thank you very much. So, off to Ireland to recover from his poorly back went Binocular. Whilst all his mates back at the stables were being put through their paces in preparation for the festival, Binocular had managed to sort himself a holiday….Club 18-30 it wasn’t but chilling out in a field in Ireland would do for now. Now as the horse was ‘borderline crippled’ it was removed from the betting – well most of the betting – however some ‘smart arses’ saw an opportunity to make some quick money and actually laid the horse at 999/1 to win the Champion Hurdle at the festival in a few weeks time….cheeky sh*ts, the horse was in a wheelchair in the Emerald Isle, not flying round the gallops like a whippet on speed !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now there are some shrewd people in the racing game, and there are also some very stupid people in the racing game…the stupid ones on this occasion were those who tried to make a few quid, because as it turned out, Binocular was after all flying round a field like a whippet on speed, in fact he was looking so good that he was declared a definite runner in the Champion Hurdle a week or so before the race. Racings a funny game, one minute your horse has three legs, the next minute he’s got five….whatever they feed them in those Irish fields, I’ll have some please !
Come race day, Binocular was not that fancied still, he was 9/1, with another 6 or 7 horse fancied more in the betting…..but I’m sure you can guess what happened next – Yep, the cheeky little swine only went and won, in fact he p*ssed it by over 3 lengths. All I can say is ‘that’ll teach those greedy b*stards who happily took bets on him at 999/1’ … Unlucky !
There’s more fast forwarding on this post than a teenager watching his first porno video on the new betamax …. So let’s fast forward to 48 hours before Binoculars attempt to defend his crown in 2011. He had run ok since winning the big one at Cheltenham, he’d won his last two and looked primed to step up and take the race once more. Then news broke that Binocular had been out on the p*ss with his mates in the build up to the race, had smoked some hooky cigarette that had been passed around, and in the eyes of the British Horse Racing Authority, was too stoned to run in a straight line*.
*disclaimer – the above is factually incorrect, he’d had a ‘special crème’ to sort out some ailment, however the ‘special crème’ contained something it shouldn’t, heroin or something like that, and it would have still been in the horses system come race day, so it was advised that it couldn’t run. My version just sounded more rock & roll !
So, from one year when he ran and should of won, but didn’t, to the next year when he shouldn’t have run, but did and won, to the next year when he was fancied to run and win, but then got stoned……..that’s why some people, including me weren’t sure whether I loved this horse, or wanted to chin it full on in the chops at the first opportunity*
*disclaimer – I don’t ‘chin’ horses…as I’ve said, I actually like them…again, it was for effect and sounded better !
Last year, 2012, Binocular did make it to the race, it was supposed to be his 4th run in the race (it was actually his 3rd, but for the dope smoking / heroin incident it would have been his 4th), he was sent off at 4/1….and he finished 4th !
So, why have I gone for Binocular to be my third selection towards pulling off my million pound punt ? Well, it’s easy really….every year for the past 4 years, Binocular at some stage has been one of the main fancies for the Champion Hurdle. Even the year when he was deemed crippled, just before that news broke he’d still been reasonably well fancied. This year …. Well, this year he was available around Christmas time at 33/1 with the lovely bookie chaps….even bigger with Betfair…he’s never been a 33/1 shot. What had happened to him, 3 legs ? … 2 legs ? …. Is he going to pogo round on one leg ??? No, all it was is that he was a forgotten horse …. There are others who are much more fancied because they’d been seen by the public on the racecourse, Binocular though has been enjoying an extended summer holiday ….. In a field in Ireland, and we know what magic happens in the fields in Ireland !
I invested some small amounts at 37/1, 28/1 & 27/1 on Betfair in December and early January, then when it was time to invest in the MILLION POUND PUNT, I managed to get 20/1 & 16/1….Was that value, f*ck me that was massive thank you very much. The noise coming out of the stable is that Binocular is fit, well and as good as ever, and 12/1 is still available with a couple of bookies.
So, you can now see why I mentioned in the title that if he’d have been a human he definitely have done a stretch in prison by now…..I reckon a jury would have found him guilty of Fraud & Deception, and it would have been a unanimous decision. That said, we all love a character, and that is exactly what Binocular is, a character….with swagger. Oh yes, did I not say …. Binoculars dad, well Binoculars dad is called Enrique !!!
Sorry this post has been a bit long winded …. Tomorrow will be reasonably short and sweet.
Thanks for reading …. And if you’re really sad you can also follow me on twitter @grahameletts