Greyhound RacesCategory: Sport
For an ordinary working man a visit to horse races may be a rare occasion, though he may make bets most days of the week. But it is probable that he can easily go to dog races if he wants to.
Greyhound races flourish, particularly in big towns, for the sake of gambling — people bet on the races, as they do at horse races. In London there are a number of greyhound racing stadiums, and they operate in the evenings. The dogs are assembled in cages or “traps” on the track, an electric hare is sent at great speed round the track on a special rail, and the dogs are released from their traps, all at the same time, to chase the hare. The first dog past the winning-post is the winner. The breeding, training and racing of horses is a very expensive business which only the rich can afford; greyhound racing is relatively cheap, and therefore it is more a working-class sport. But, gambling is the main purpose, and there is very little sport in it.
How I Parted Company with Greyhounds for Ever
I once lost £, 32 on thirty-two consecutive races. This cascade of ill-fortune occupied no more than a few days, and drove me to make a demonstration at the stand of a bookmaker with a lisp called Walsh, a combination of circumstances which led to him being known as Old Time Waltz.
“What,” I cried audibly, “is the good of going on when I’ve backed thirty-two losers in succession?”
Old Time Waltz responded promptly, although he was busy taking a lot of sixty to forty about the favourite, Milly’s Mick. “Shut up!” he hissed, bending right down from the box. “Go away! You’re upsettin’ me customers.”
One or two punters with currency in their hands did, indeed, seem to be on the verge of holding back, impressed by the reasonableness of my complaint.
“Well, what’s the good of it?” I said, “My information’s all right, but the damn things fall over every time.”
I thought he was going to strike me with his satchel. Instead, he said “Here — I’ll stand you a free bet on the favourite — thirty to twenty Milly’s Mick. There’s your ticket. Get outa this!”
I accepted his offer. If Milly’s Mick won I’d owe him only £ 2, a payable sum, and if it didn’t, which was much more probable, I’d be no worse off than before.
The race, of course, ran exactly true to form. Through a fault in the mechanism the hare flew off the rails at the third bend, most of the dogs leaped over the fence in pursuit of it, and Milly’s Mick was found soon afterwards barking its head off at a cat in the park. The stewards declared “no race” — the most readily supportable judgement they’d delivered in weeks — and I parted company with greyhounds for ever