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“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.

BookieRaid_NerveCenter1943

“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.

BookieRaid_Chicago3_1938

The wonderful photos are courtesy of the San Francisco State University website http://online.sfsu.edu/