Showing posts from November, 2015

Jump to it

Mug Punting got off to a pretty low-key start this jumps season. Even a trip to Cheltenham’s first day of the season couldn’t induce a winning thread. Me, Dad and Bruv pitched up on the first day that an impressive new £45m five-storey grandstand was open for business. The whole redevelopment looked good: a new parade ring and winners enclosure, balconies, viewing areas and high level walkways. We grabbed a table on the first floor next to the champagne bar and gathered from staff that plebs like us would not be allowed in here in future. When the stand opened formally from the next meeting, this would be badge holders only. This was the soft launch designed to test operational wrinkles like queues for the bogs and crushes at the exits. (Wouldn’t want to see the members used as such guinea pigs...) Still, the development is a significant improvement on the old owners and trainers enclosure that used to occupy the site. Much more spick and span than my punting. I di

A tale of two piers

Well, two and a half piers, really. Because I was to be found lurking outside a concrete bunker opposite Brighton's ruined West Pier at one point of this tale, haranguing strangers on a damp Halloween evening. West Pier You may well ask why this was happening when I could easily have been lapping up an insanely brilliant collection of Weekend sport in comfort at home. The answer has something to do with a misjudgement about the pulling power of a rock ‘n’ roll dream ticket.   Joe Bonamassa, one of the few truly inspiring guitarists left on my to-see list had announced an arena tour. Surprisingly all the dates missed out London. Inexplicably, they also bypassed Aylesbury Watford and even the decent blues pub in Sarrat. Brighton was on the list though. And I knew tickets would sell fast for this blistering fret-meister. So one Monday morning I was to crouching over the laptop, credit card in hand, waiting for the tickets to go on sale. Hardly a Glastonbury-scale operati

Smug Punting: More short tales about long odds

I'm delighted to announce the follow up to Mug Punting: Short tales about long odds is published today. Picking up the dysfunctional threads of the original Mug Punting opus, this second collection of real-life racing and sporting yarns meanders haphazardly through ten more years of furiously celebrated small time gambling adventures.  Since that first volume, the this blog has become quite well established as an outlet for racing, sport and betting rambles, together with a ridiculous array of general escapist nonsense, bellyaching and disturbing trend towards telltale middle-aged grumpiness. Time marches on … The blog has implausibly gathered a loyal troupe of curious visitors, to whom I am massively grateful. Many of those posts provide the source for the stories here, and have been expanded and edited into new tales that are set against the backdrop of a decade of horse racing and other iconic sporting moments. Smug Punting: More short tales about long odds (what el