AUTHOR: Lewis Williams

LOOK SHARPE: Age Sensitive? Who, Me? Well, Yes…..

Sports betting PR legend GRAHAM SHARPE brings you his latest ‘LOOK SHARPE’ column…

NEVER A COLLEAGUE, but certainly a long-term pal in the betting industry, who has a relatively high profile personality, slightly tweaked one of my buttons recently when he tweeted (X-ed?) : ‘An elderly lady in a betting shop copped £26,000 for just a £5 predicting the first 3 home in the Grand National’, writes GRAHAM SHARPE.

Noticing initially that in his excitement to refer to her age he had forgotten to read his own copy, and had omitted the word ‘bet’ or ‘stake’ after the mention of ‘£5’, just what, I wondered, was the relevance of referring to this person’s age, particularly without specifying precisely what it was?

I don’t think there was any whatsoever. Maybe, had the story said ‘A 97 year old customer….’ or ‘A 52 year old customer…’ readers could at least have then made their own mind up as to whether they then immediately decided that in their own terms, this person qualified as ancient, elderly, middle-aged, youthful, or merely alive.

‘Elderly’ can mean such different things to different readers. I consulted my own go-to, Collins Modern English Dictionary, admittedly a 1987 edition, and it had this definition: ‘quite old; past middle age’…..for a more specific meaning I also then looked up ‘middle age’, and read: ‘period of life between youth and old age, usually considered to be approximately between the ages of 40 and 60.’ Hm. Perhaps I need a younger dictionary.

So, I asked my pal for his/her own definition of ‘elderly’ and received something of a cop-out answer: ‘Haha! Good question. You never guess a woman’s age 🤣.’

I don’t have to guess the age of veteran football manager, Phil Brown – who you may recall more for his permanently sun-tanned face, rather than the winning exploits of the many teams he has managed. Now aged 64, with his days in the Premier League – where he was in charge of Hull City as they enjoyed probably their most successful period now long past – I saw Phil, still looking as though he had just jetted in from the Costa del Sol, recently managing Kidderminster Harriers as they took on the club where I was a director for almost a decade, Wealdstone FC – in a National League relegation battle.

Sadly for Phil, Wealdstone came out on top and ended up surviving in the same division, while Phil’s boys were relegated. But seeing Phil in the phlesh reminded me of the time in 2009, when his top division club, Hull City, were struggling to avoid relegation and Phil decided to take them to the races at Chester for a morale-boosting get-together.

However, the players refused point blank to join him on the racecourse, claiming they should be concentrating on preparations for their next vital match at home to Stoke. They lost the game 2-1!

Nonetheless, they somehow ultimately managed to avoid relegation by one place, and Brown stated that this was the greatest achievement in not only his managerial career, but also the club’s history. At the end of the game, Brown went onto the pitch with a microphone (he was also a trained electrician) and started singing the old Beach Boys’ hit, ‘Sloop John B’ to the crowd….

18 years earlier, in July, 1991 the Hull City FC Handicap at Beverley was won by 11/1 Azubah – but the entire event was struck from the records when it was proved that the race had started 1minute 6 seconds earlier than the scheduled time.

Still on an age theme, how old do you think the oldest recorded runner to contest a legitimate race at a British course might have been?

Well, on June 9, 1962, Creggmore Boy set a record yet to be beaten, and unlikely ever to be, when finishing 4th in a Cartmel chase – at the age of 22…..while on June 10, 1935, one Harry Beasley rode the horse, Mollie, in the Corinthian Plate run at Baldoyle, Dublin. They were unplaced, but Harry set a record for the oldest age recorded by a jockey – he was 83……70 years older than was the 13 year old jockey Mornington Cannon, who rode his first winner, Flint, at Salisbury in May, 1887.

Another age – well, age-gap, record was established in July, 1947, when jockey J Anderson, whose first winner was scored in 1906, and who had officially retired in 1922, returned after a quarter of a century’s retirement, to win on Gracious Sun in the Trial Selling Plate at Carlisle.

And in 1991, 35 years after it had gone missing, the trophy presented by Chepstow racecourse to Sir Gordon Richards after his retirement in 1954 was discovered in a TSB vault.

Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.



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