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A Day at the Phoenix Park Races

 

Phoenix Park Racecourse on 8th May 1946

Phoenix Park Racecourse on 8th May 1946

Image credit to Clontuskert

I remember those days when my youth was ablaze
With ambitions of winning dosh fast
When my mate Billy Browne turned the prices around
As the tips he was given were vast

At the Phoenix Park races we both had a go
Of increasing the money we had
And the horses we backed with the tips that we got
Their form on the race card was bad

Then the starter he flagged the field on their way
And poor Billy’s horse trailed in last
And in the unsaddling enclosure the jockey he sighed
On hearing the swear words we cast

Then into the bar with his head hung down low
Towards the one who had given the tip?
And he’d give them a rollicking for the tip that they gave
And for them they would give him no lip

Billy always said of the horses that lost
They were donkeys just fit for a beach
For they’d be harmless giving kids rides up and down
Leaving them and the track out of reach

But the race scene and track it was close to his heart
And the colours of the shirts jockeys wore
And the sound of the hooves on the turf on the track
And the crowd’s encouraging roar

But no more is there a race course in the Park
And no more is our Billy around
But the donkeys are still given rides on the beach
With gentle thuds as their feet hit the ground

 

 

Back in the 60s we may not have had a lot of money but we knew how to have fun.
I loved going to the Park races especially with my best work mate Billy Browne as he was great fun and it was never dull when Billy was around.
Billy knew all the jockeys and a lot of the owners and trainers as well and could chat with the best of them.

 

He would get a lot of tips that sometimes won but more times lost.
He always said betting was a mugs game but back then we were prepared to risk a few bob to increase what little we had in our pockets.
The only money we gambled was what we had as our pocket money; Billy always put his family first and made sure his wife Kitty was looked after when he won.
As I was only a lad I suppose Billy was a good role model and I made sure my mother got her share of my wages and my winnings when I won.
I don’t have a bet anymore as I treasure what pension I have and don’t want to see the bookies increasing their retirement money.
I still love watching the races on telly and I pick out a horse in the races I watch and if they win I don’t get annoyed that I didn’t back them as I also picked a lot of donkeys as well.
Sadly the Phoenix Park racecourse closed in the late 1990s due to financial difficulties and never reopened.
But I will always remember all the good times myself and Billy had there.
My poem is dedicated to my old friend Billy who is no longer with us.

 

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