Ed­i­tor’s let­ter

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE - DO­MINIC CAS­TLE, Ed­i­tor, EDP Nor­folk Mag­a­zine 01603 772758/07725 201153, do­minic.cas­[email protected]

Ishould prob­a­bly come clean here; while this is­sue has a bit of a horsey theme go­ing on, I’m not big on the whole equine thing. It’s not that I don’t ad­mire a hand­some horse; just that I find them slightly ter­ri­fy­ing.

Any­thing as sub­stan­tial as that which thinks for it­self and is in­vited to co­op­er­ate with hu­man be­ings al­ways has the up­per hand. You just don’t know what is go­ing on be­hind that long, im­pas­sive face.

To be fair I haven’t had any ter­ri­ble ex­pe­ri­ences with horses. The odd pony trek on hol­i­day passed with­out in­ci­dent and I’ve never been kicked, thrown or bit­ten by one.

In fact my worst horse-based ex­pe­ri­ence hap­pened when I was a very ju­nior re­porter on the EDP and I was in­vited by a se­nior col­league to an early Bank Hol­i­day meet­ing at Fak­en­ham.

It wasn’t a so­cial in­vi­ta­tion; I would be work­ing with Dick on his cov­er­age for the Sport­ing Life, then the pre-em­i­nent pa­per for rac­ing. I’d get a ten­ner and a beer and in those days that was in­cen­tive enough to give up an early May af­ter­noon.

I can’t find it in the records, but I be­lieve that was the cold­est Bank Hol­i­day since the Ice Age. In those days Fak­en­ham wasn’t as well-ap­pointed as it is now and, dear reader, in in­ad­e­quate cloth­ing, I was frozen, shiv­er­ing so hard that I must have looked fuzzy around the edges to every­one else.

But that wasn’t the real prob­lem. Then, as now, I sim­ply

knew noth­ing about the sport of kings.

“Barkle Bumpty in the 2.10 has moved up; he’s threes over seven since Win­can­ton when he was car­ry­ing two stone and a Bel­gian hat­stand,” says Dick. Or some­thing like that.

It didn’t get any bet­ter when the rac­ing started. My sole job was to phone the Sport­ing Life and give them the odds.

I was clue­less. “Barkle is now fours; Smithy’s Hanky is evens, Sponge­bob is leg­ging it out to elevens and Up the Ante has gone Hor­licks,” says Dick.

So I’d pick up the phone and glumly dial the copy-taker. Com­pet­ing with the tinny Tan­noy blar­ing out race com­men­tary I’d pass on some en­tirely use­less in­for­ma­tion which had be­come even more non­sen­si­cal in my iced-up brain.

The copy-taker, an old hand, was baf­fled but kind. He tried to prise some­thing use­ful out of me but he was fish­ing in an empty pond. He fi­nally gave up. “Put me back on to Dick,” he said, wearily.

And so that was the pat­tern of the day. Every­one else was hav­ing a whale of a time. The rac­ing was colour­ful and ex­cit­ing and peo­ple were lov­ing it all.

As Terry Red­head says in this is­sue, Fak­en­ham and Great Yar­mouth, Nor­folk’s two top race­courses, of­fer much to the race-goer. But I’ve never been able to lay the ghost of that mis­er­able Bank Hol­i­day Mon­day.

And I never did get my ten­ner, ei­ther.

Race-go­ers at Fak­en­ham en­joy­ing the ac­tion

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