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A visit to Ascot 1964

Ascot Racecourse had had a new grandstand built and Paul Wyand had been consulted about the arrangements for the newsreel cameras.  At the top of the grandstand there was a long gallery, enough for twenty cameras.  Movietonews only wanted one up there.  Of course there would be a small army from the B.B.C.

Even though the position were fixed for our cameras, it was necessary for someone to go over to Ascot to speak with the Secretary of the Racecourse to say hello and confirm that we would be coming for the main events in June.

In early summer of 1961, it was time for someone to visit Ascot and see the new grandstand.

As Assignments Manager, it fell to me to go along.  I walked into the Secretary’s outer office. I was greeted by the secretarial staff and I was told that the Secretary had someone in with him.  After a few minutes a large military looking gentleman came out of the office with the Secretary.  He was complete with brown bowler hat, tweed jacket and riding breeches with highly polished riding boots.

English: Old Stand at Ascot Racecourse.

English: Old Stand at Ascot Racecourse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After he had gone, the Secretary said to all in his outer office that “He has a horse running at Lewes this afternoon and it has a chance”.  The horse was called “Pandofell”.  I believe its odds at that time were 33-1.

When I got into the Secretary’s office, he told me that the man was the Queen’s trainer and when he said that a horse “had a chance” he meant that it was odds on to win.

When I left Ascot, I stopped at the first call box and phoned back to the officer.  I spoke to Martin Bishop, a U.P.I journalist, who was well known to be an active client of the local bookies shop in Denham,  “A1 Sports”.  I asked him to put a pound on for me.

Martin relayed details of my encounter to all and sundry.  The staff of UPI and Movietone included a number of punters. He gathered funds from all over the office and went down to A1 Sports where he placed a lot of money on the horse.  By then, the odds were 100-6 and it won by three lengths.  Martin Bishop was, henceforth, banned from A1 Sports.

This was a great pity because the next nearest betting shop was in Uxbridge some miles away.

© Terence Gallacher and, 2012.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terence Gallacher and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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