“Ruff? Butch!”

You know spring has sprung when the Grand National comes into view. It’s not one of my favourite races, I confess, I prefer the calm of the Lincoln or the Derby but my late father loved it. He would often have a flutter (worked out meticulously “by form”) on this legendary race and placed over the phone to late bookmaker Ruff Cramer, who was a legend.


“Ruff? Butch!” (my father was a master butcher) and then the conversation would continue in some very horsey technical terms, laden with “six-cross-doubles, let’s have a “round Robin” (a bet that consists of ten bets involving three selections in different events, I think, it always sounded highly complicated)

And did you know that Burlington Bertie was betting slang for odds of 100 to thirty — it was also known as “scruffy and dirty”. Get it? It rhymes.

I liked the poem about Beechers Brook, but think BBC sports poet Keith Wilson is hard to beat. I’ll put money on his “Irritable Vowel Syndrome” poem any day.


The wonderful photos are courtesy of the San Francisco State University website