It must remain a mystery as to why I asked my Dad to put my pocket money on a horse called Honey End. Perhaps I had yet to outgrow my love for Winnie the Pooh. It was my first bet on a horse. The year was 1967. The race, the Grand National at Aintree.
My late father grew up surrounded by horses in Ireland. Together with his four boys, he sat down in front of our rented black and white television set to watch the race unfold. A Grand National like no other before or since. What unfolded up at Aintree is etched in the memory of anyone old enough to have watched the race. Those watching on television had a much better view of the eventful race than those on course.
One of my older brothers had a pound on the fortunate winner of the race at odds of 100/1. Like the winner himself, a lucky boy. Foinavon won the race and became so famous they named a fence after him.
Sadly the Grand National will not be taking place in 2020. One of many racing fixtures to be called off, rightly, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Just when I was hoping to tip the winner of the race for the fifth consecutive year. Subscribers to my selections service at VG Tips will be disappointed. So am I.
But the health of the nation comes before any sport and we must hope the crisis is over before the next National Hunt season proper is due to begin.
1967 was my first bet. What was yours? Name the horse. Did you win?
You can watch the PATHE film of that memorable race here.