No, I’m not talking about the build up to Christmas, but the loss of a beautiful creature, December Second, during a so called, Sport of Kings horse race. The irony is that since lockdown society hasn’t stopped betting on horses. The BetFreds, 888Sport, SkyBet, Coral betting companies are unlikely to go bust, as during lockdown online gambling has actually increased!
The Grand National was cancelled. No racing could take place. No gathering of crowds to see the bookies’ odds, the parade of runners before the off and seeing the champions in the winners enclosure. Instead, this year, thanks to CoVid19 the UK watched and many betted on a virtual horse race. The thrill and frustration was still there, as the computer randomly selected fallers and refusers, just like the real thing, using a variety of different algorithms. Punters received the usual odds for the outsiders and those carrying extra weight in this National Hunt Handicap race that fascinates the nation young and old. Over 2.5 million pounds was raised for NHS charities as 4.8 million viewers tuned in to watch it. Unlike today, no horses were injured or killed in this highly spectated virtual horse race. I wonder why, for those that like the endorphin buzz of getting that “next winner” why can’t we make virtual betting the norm and let the horses graze the fields and live their lives? RIP December Second - run free.