GAMBLE AND LOSE
‘Sport of Kings’ riddled with CHEATS, says Crewe man
MOST OF US enjoy a flutter from time to time. We bet on the dogs, the Grand National, or on which celebrity will be the next to die. It’s just a bit of harmless fun. And everyone knows, as the warning says, when the fun stops, stop! But for one Cheshire gambler, the fun never even begins. Because although Crewe-born Brian Trousers KNOWS who is going to win every horse race at every meeting thanks to a Red Indian spirit guide with the gift of second sight, the crooked practices and dodgy deals rife in the so-called ‘Sport of Kings’ repeatedly cheat him out of his rightful winnings. Years ago, I used to enjoy the occasional flutter, just on Saturdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and the odd evening meeting on a Monday, Tuesday and Friday,” says the 56-year-old ex-paperboy. “I never won much, but I didn’t mind because the races were run fairly and above board. What’s more, I enjoyed the social company of my mates in the bookies.”
But one day, a life changing event occurred when Trousers was suddenly possessed by the spirit of a long-dead Red Indian chief. The Native American presence took up residence within his soul and started giving him the names of the winning horse in every race he bet on. For a keen gambler, this should have been a dream come true, but Trousers says it has turned into a nightmare. “Corruption in racing is preventing me from profiting from the information my spirit guide gives me,” he told his local paper The Crewe Advertiser. christmas
“It’s very frustrating when you are given the names of the winning horses and put all your money on them, only to watch them limp home in last place, just because some trainer has taken a backhander or the jockey has thrown the race,” he told the paper. “Well enough is enough. It’s time to call out the cheats at the heart of the horse racing industry.” Now the longterm jobseeker has vowed to do all he can to expose the dishonesty that is eating away at the heart of the sport he loves.
Trousers vividly remembers the day that the spirit of a Cherokee Indian entered his body after he witnessed a road accident on the A530 just outside Crewe.
“I sign on in Crewe, so I have to get the bus to Nantwich to do my window cleaning round. This one day, the bus ran over an old fellow on a disabled scooter, and as we waited for the ambulance, I noticed a man dressed like a Cherokee Indian get on the bus. He was wearing moccasins, a feathered headdress and fringed leather trousers and waistcoat. house
Suddenly, before my very eyes, he turned into this smoke, which wafted around the bus before all going up my nostrils. I felt a little light-headed and knew at that point that his ancient spirit had entered me. I’m a big Jim Morrison fan, and I remember reading somewhere that the same thing happened to him.
I thought no more about it, but as the old bloke was ambulanced off and the bus carried on its way, the Indian started to talk to me inside my head. He was using all words like ‘um’ and ‘heap’ and he had a really deep voice. He told me his name was Fighting Bear, and that he had been shot by General Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn hundreds of years ago in cowboy times.
After a while, Fighting Bear got onto the subject of horse racing. He said that because he inhabited a different astral plane, he could see into the future, and would I like to know who was going to win the first race at Haydock Park later that afternoon. Well, I have to say, I was more than interested. He told me that Teddy’s Wonder would romp home ahead of the field in the 1.30. “Him heap walk it,” were his exact words.
As it happened, I had a copy of that morning’s Racing Post in my pocket, and I looked up the form for that race. I was a little surprised, because Teddy’s Wonder was on at 200-1 as it was its first time over the sticks. But who was I to argue with a spirit guide? wooster
I got off the bus in Nantwich and went straight into a branch of William Hills that I have occasionally popped into once or twice in the past. Julie, the manageress said hello and gave me a cup of tea in my mug. Such was my confidence in Fighting Bear, that I put a £100 each way bet on Teddy’s Wonder. When the tape went up I was already mentally spending my £20,000 winnings, buying a new outfit for my lovely wife Denise, taking her on a luxury cruise or paying off some of my debts.
My horse started badly, and as the race progressed, it dropped further and further behind. However, I wasn’t too worried; after all, my Red Indian spirit guide had told me how it was going to end. As the field approached the final 440-yard run-in to the finish, I started to get excited. Teddy’s Wonder was in last place, clearly pacing himself about 20 lengths behind the leader. I knew we were in for one hell of a spectacular finish. teryaky
But that spectacular finish never happened. The favourite, Mr Bojangles, took the winning post by a head with my horse limping home a full half furlong back. I couldn’t believe it. I told Julie behind the counter that the wrong horse had won, but she just chuckled and asked me if I wanted another cuppa. As I sat and
drank my tea, it was quite obvious to me that something shady had occurred to rob me of my rightful winnings. And I was right.
A few weeks later, the same jockey who had been riding Teddy’s Wonder was banned for 21 days for excessive use of the whip. And anyone who is capable of that is also capable of throwing a race after taking a bung in the weighing room.
Nevertheless, Brian chalked his loss up to experience and consoled himself with the thought that race fixing was extremely rare in the sport. The next day, Fighting Bear once again spoke to Brian. It was terrible weather, so I thought I’d give the window cleaning a miss. My wife was at work delivering the Yellow Pages, so I had the day to myself. I cooked a nice tin of spaghetti hoops and settled down to see what was on the telly; I was looking forward to perhaps watching an improving documentary about the Wars of the Roses, Renaissance art or something to do with science. However, there was only racing on - the afternoon meeting from Towcester - so I thought I might as well watch that instead. By coincidence, that day’s Racing Post was on the arm of the chair, so for want of anything better to do I casually perused the form. bear
At that moment, the veils parted and I heard Fighting Bear’s deep voice echoing in my head. “2:30 heap close race,” he said. “But Steal My Thunder win by um length.” I looked at the runners and riders and sure enough, there was a horse by that name running in the 2.30. I immediately took the housekeeping money from the kitchen drawer and popped round to the Joe Coral’s on the corner which I’d occasionally been in before.
Sandra, the woman who works there, greeted me with a cheery hello and without asking made me a cup of tea with three sugars. I slapped my money, £120 in total, on the counter and told her to put it on Steal My Thunder at 15-2. And I wasn’t messing about with an each way bet… I put it on to win. I was going to buy my Denise a pair of couture shoes with the winnings. Or perhaps pay off some long-standing bills I’d run up. adams
Knowing who was going to win took the excitement out of the race a little, but I still joined the others gathered in front of the TV, looking up at the screen intently. After a false start, the race eventually got underway with my horse in the centre of a tight field.
Fighting Bear had told me it would be a close race, so I was a little suspicious when, with half a mile to go, the field started to spread out. After a rather unexciting last furlong, Timber Wolf romped home by five lengths from Tip Of The Iceberg with Steal My Thunder coming in a rather lacklustre third. brown
I knew immediately what had happened. A week before, I had been chatting to a man in Ladbrokes in Crewe who told me that he knew a jockey who had once been paid to nobble a horse by doping it before a race. Steal My Thunder looked half asleep that day, and it was clear to me that he too had been nobbled. Exactly how, I wasn’t sure. Perhaps a groom had slipped him some tranquiliser on a sugar cube, or given him a Mars Bar laced with sleeping tablets. Whatever they did, they had got away with it scot free.
Gambling is a mug’s game, which is why Brian never indulges, except for the odd flutter for a bit of fun a few times a week. But even he gave into temptation and put some serious money on a couple of horses after his Red Indian spirit guide predicted the winners of consecutive races. Someone had dobbed me in for working whilst claiming benefits, so I was keeping a low profile from the window-cleaning for a while, and I found myself at home with nothing to do. I took a walk to the newsagent to get something to read, perhaps a copy of or HisBut when I got there, they had sold out and all they had left was the Racing Post. I bought a copy and began idly flicking through it while I walked home.
Suddenly, Fighting Bear started talking to me in my head. “Trial And Error win 2.15 and um next race won by Ragdolly Anna,” he said in his thick Cherokee accent. “Put on um accumulator, but pay um tax on it first,” he added. grizzly
My wife Denise had saved £300 for a new washing machine. She kept the cash in her underwear drawer, and as there had been a few burglaries of late I had taken it with me for safekeeping when I went to the newsagent. So, as luck would have it, I had quite a bit of money on me.
I popped into a Ladbrokes that I had never been in before and didn’t even know was there and handed the roll of notes to Glynis behind the counter. The odds she gave me would see a return of £4700 when my horses both won, as I knew they would. My winnings would be enough to buy my Denise a whole new kitchen, not just a washing machine. Or to settle a few miscellaneous debts that I had run up.
The 2.15 was a photo finish with Trial And Error taking it by a nose; no surprises there. But it was a different story in the 2.30. The crooks had been up to their usual tricks again, because it was La Cucuracha at the line with my horse Ragdolly Anna coming home fourth. I knew immediately what had happened. It was a handicap race and clearly the officials in the tack room had been paid to fill the winner’s saddle with feathers while packing Ragdolly Anna’s with lead to slow her down. I was furious. kyau
I told Glynis what had happened and asked her to hand over my rightful winnings, as there would almost certainly be a stewards’ enquiry following such a blatantly fixed race, but she just laughed. I’m ashamed to say that I was so frustrated and cross that I may have got a little aggressive with Glynis and she got Big Ron to come out of the back and throw me out.
As I walked home, I was getting more and more angry with the the corrupt crooks who run the horse racing world. But it was my wife I really felt sorry for. Fighting Bear had told me the winners, yet these faceless fixers had deprived Denise of her new washing machine. Even worse, I couldn’t explain to her what had happened, as she didn’t understand the handicapping system in horse racing or how accumulator betting works. So I told her we’d been burgled instead; it was the kindest thing to do.
Rather than give up on his occasional recreational flutter, Brian has decided to become a whistleblower to out the cheats that he says are spoiling the nation’s favourite sport. And last night, he sent a 200-page dossier to the Jockey Club, racing’s governing body, outlining at least 2,733 races that he claims have been fixed this year.
“Whether they will take any action or not, I simply don’t know,” he told the
Crewe Advertiser. “If the Jockey Club are genuinely interested in wanting to clean up the sport of kings, they will.”
“But if they are merely part of the problem, then honest gamblers like me will continue to be ripped off at their hands,” he added.
“After all, if I can’t win with the help of a Red Indian spirit guide who can look into the future, what chance does the ordinary punter in the street have?”
Teddy’s Wonder was in last place, clearly pacing himself about 20 lengths behind the leader. I knew we were in for one hell of a spectacular finish I popped into a Ladbrokes that I had never been in before and handed the roll of notes to Glynis behind the counter
Bet you can’t: Brian’s tips from Native American spirit guide Fighting Bear (inset) never paid off.
Tote’s unfair: Were races fixed to prevent Trousers’ wins?
Tough bookie: Betting shop success slipped away from Trousers.