Teaching Practice in West Yorkshire in the early 90’s
Every school has one – the Racing Post clutching, die hard punter. My Teaching practice mentor was such a bloke – Pete Rose, another school, another legend. He loved a bet, but loved teaching too – he really showed me the ropes and was a top guy.
On the first day of the Lincoln Handicap meeting at Doncaster, Pete sent me down to the town centre to the bookies with a handful of loose change, rather than have me teach my classes. This was in the days before mobiles and the internet, so I was sent on an information gathering mission to the Keighley branch of Ladbrokes.
The Lincoln is a mile long cavalry charge down the straight and often horses win due the favourable draw they get from the stalls, rather than winning on ability. The stall draw number can be a massive influence on the race result. The big race was due to run the next day, so I had to sit down and watch the races on this day before and write down the stall numbers of the first five horses home for each race. These five numbers I relayed back on a pay phone outside the bookies to the lab technician back at school every half hour or so. Scribbled notes were then passed to Pete as he taught my lessons.
A picture built up of the draw bias that Pete used in getting his wedge on early for the race the next day.
Pete bought me a pint afterwards for my good work in the local pub – “The Grinning Rat.” The whole episode looking back seems so alien now when compared to today’s times in schools.