Monday 15 July 2013

The Punter’s Glossary

Hi everyone. Jack and I are still basking in the warmth of a recent holiday in the Murcian desert of Spain. We were celebrating my stepping down from chairmanship of the consulting company that I set up a fair time ago. Our intention was to start off in the way we intend to carry on. We went on holiday at the end of the final week.

Earlier in my career I was persuaded to write a business textbook (Transform Your Supply Chain – Releasing Value in Business. Heavily discounted and signed copies are still available – not surprisingly!), and I still remember the shock of finding a copy of the magnum opus being flogged for £1 in a second-hand bookshop. One of my few claims to business fame is that for a (very short) while, the book was one of the top sellers in Brussels, of all places. My colleagues always used to say, “Well done Jon, big in Belgium”.

Anyway, that is a bit of a rambling introduction to the fact that as part of my holiday reading, I discovered a copy of Hitting the Turf – A Punting Life, written by David Ashforth. And yes, that was also £1. Inside the book there was a punter’s glossary that I found pretty amusing. I’ll have a go at doing the owners’ glossary for the next blog. Here are a few extracts.

Accumulator: bet requiring punter to make additional selections, until one loses.

Ante-post: special arrangement under which you are allowed to lose your money six months before the race has started.

Blinker: the first act of desperation (see also Hood, Visor, Gelding, Put Down).

Bookmaker: wealthy victim of repeated misfortune.

Double: bet based on the erroneous conviction that it is possible to pick more than one winner in the same afternoon.

Each Way: opportunity to lose twice in one bet.

Form Book: historical work, useful for predicting what will happen in the past.

Good Thing: losing horse.

Horse: magnificent creature with no sense of justice.

Inspection: examination of course to see whether it is fit for you to lose your money on.

Jockey: small person employed by trainer to ruin your win double.

Punter: person with no money.

Racecourse: place for seeing, at first hand, where things go wrong.

Starter: official who drops a flag to indicate that hope has ended and experience is about to begin.

Winning Post: wooden stick inserted in the ground in the wrong place.

On that note, wherever you may be over the summer, if it’s on a racecourse you’ll doubtless agree with the above. If not, I hope you’re enjoying your holidays.


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