Our Membership Secretary's success at the Ffos Las race course.
Posted on Thu 11 March 2010
The name of a classic Marx Brothers' film but also a memorable occasion for Peter Guy, the well respected Membership Secretary of the Old Carolians' Association. On February 18th 2010, Peter and his 5 other syndicate members, went to watch their mare Tara Taylor win a 2 mile 6 furlong hurdle race at Ffos Las race course in Carmarthenshire.
Not many people have heard of Ffos Las. Situated near Llanelli at Trimsaran, the hallowed birthplace of the Welsh rugby legend Jonathan Davies, it is the third of Wales' racecourses. It was the first National Hunt racecourse to be built in Britain for 80 years and was opened by Sir Peter O'Sullevan in June last year. Its first meeting attracted a sell out crowd of 10,000 racegoers.
Peter has been a passionate follower of the Sport of Kings for many years, and this is his first major success on the turf. Having re mortgaged his house and raided his swear box to fund his hobby, he was elated at the horse's victory. He joined his fellow syndicate members and the bookmakers in a conga round the winner's enclosure after the horse came in at odds of 350 to 1.
The horse has an all Irish team. Ridden by Fearghus Shortarse and trained by Seamus O' Normous at Ballyslowly in County Sligo, the horse just held on to win by a jockey's jock strap - or in racing parlance, a short head, from the favourite "Just One Cornetto" and " A Tub of Lard". The mare has a very chequered history. Usually considered to be a bit of a donkey and a no hoper, it is often referred to as "Tarra Taylor" as jockeys wave it goodbye at the starting gate.
Seamus O' Normous put the horse's success down to its special diet on the morning of the race - the usual hay and maize, and a special treat - a packet of Trebor Extra Strong Mints. He said after the race, " God, what a performance, but I wouldn't stand behind the horse if I were you!"
The one man who was not elated at the end of the race was the Manchester United manager and famous racehorse owner Sir Alex Ferguson. His horse, "Last Three Minutes", did come in last of 16 runners by 10 lengths, having been left at the gate.
Sir Alex was incandescent with rage. "The Starter", he said, " took 30 seconds to climb onto his post and he was so unfit, he couldn't get down again. He was just not fit enough to start a race like that. We needed a good fit Starter and we just didn't have one. He told my jockey, Wayne Scouser, that he looked in need of a rest. What a thing to say to a lad about to start a race and who has just discovered John Terry hiding in his wardrobe. I have complained to the Stewards but they are all like the F.A. - they just do FA about it. I shan't be coming here again. I'm used to the morning dress that you find at Epsom or Ascot, not the ratting caps and corduroys worn by the riff raff here."
Meanwhile, Peter Guy and his syndicate friends were preparing for a celebratory night at the nearest hotel. Their success had earned them a share in prize money of £2500, 20 crates of Felinfoel beer and 200 Sainsbury's kids' vouchers. Peter said, " The next step up is a visit to the big one at Aintree. It's only a few furlongs further and the hurdles are just a bit higher."
Author[Comic]: Peter Vaughan Photo: Unknown