Saturday, 30 October 2010

They're Like Little Horses - Part The Second

The hare was now up and running. There would be an expectant hush as the mechanical marvel approached the traps and then... an explosion of sound:- the bangclatter of the traps releasing, the the thudskitter of the dogs pounding relentlessly across the track, shoutcheering of the punters and the chatterdroning of the breathless and seemingly unbreathing commentators. And then, almost as soon as it had begun, it was over:- the dogs happily laying into a different fake rabbit thrown out for their amusement (except maybe for one smarter one who was now sniffing around the box which contained the recently covered deactivated rabbit), the disgusted snort and whispering tearing noise of punters discarding their useless betting slips (thus discounting them from our collection process - we only wanted pristine ones) and the shuffle of feet from those happy few queueing up to collect their winnings.

During the course of the night, we'd be allowed to pick out the odd greyhound for Ma and Pa to place a bet on. It was during this time that I developed my patented gambling technique which stills serves me on the very rare occasion that I place a bet - always pick the one with the pleasingly odd sounding name. Got one in the next race called Mary's Boy? no, thanks, think I'll give it a miss, ta. Got one called Lord Nifkin's Giraffe Meltdown? Stick some cash on it, that's the chap for me.

It worked surprisingly well for me on one of the last occasions that I went dahn the dogs. A friend I was with spent ages studying the form - their previous wins, conditions on each night, etc, etc - and lost about £30. I picked out ones with names like Claptrap A-Go-Go and came out ten quid up on the whole night (and that's good enough for me). It's a surefire winning system. Well, until it loses anyway.

As with the way of all things, ultimately Catford Greyhound Stadium's time has now passed and it's flashing series of neon lights depicting a greyhound running are blinking no more. But, as is also the way, the good times and the good memories live on.

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