More like wetworking! commented one wag on the eve of the inaugural #Betworking event at Chester Races. With sunglasses popped firmly back in cases and golf umbrellas dusted off, nearly fifty of Manchester’s finest were ready for a day out to remember in the historic Roman city. I couldn’t bloody wait. Love the races I do, hooked as long ago as 1981 (as a five year old!).
After months of cajoling the troops and planning the detail, it was very much the weather dictating pre-race chatter. For the racing veterans, would the forecast rain affect the going? For the ‘fashionistas’, would it ruin the hairstyles and change the all-important look.
Yet come Friday lunchtime, seemingly the lovely girls had dismissed the local Mancunian drizzle with nonchalant ease as one by one, they arrived at Grand Pacific looking absolutely stunning in a diverse assembly of summer dresses.
And the blokes weren’t too shabby either. Marc Yaffe (JMW Solicitors), Paul Yates (Online Ventures Group) and Ashley Williams (Neighbourhood) all upholding the now legendary three-piece tradition. Gary Chaplin, Chris Marsh (UKFast) and Carlos Oliveira (Shaping Cloud) equally dapper yet it was Danny Rodgerson (Brabners) pushing the boundaries in pastel who stood out.
After a welcome glass of fizz and buffet lunch from the excellent Australasia team, this stellar Mancunian cast was assembled and ready to ‘betwork’ in style. Aside from my own worries about the potential unreliability of coach drivers, there was a lovely relaxed mood about Grand Pacific. Absolute vindication of dragging everybody out of the Friday rat race for an afternoon. As it transpired, both coaches arrived in Spinningfields on time and after dealing with the slight curveball of the second bus refusing to allow our bought alcohol on board, we set off in good spirits.
Our 32-seater coach was bubbling, with drinks and conversation both in full flow. After some light traffic, we arrived at the course in good time where eventually the entire group was reunited in our chosen Finishing Post section.
We were greeted by some welcome drinks kindly provided by Chester-based law firm, Aaron & Partners. A huge thank you to Chris Longbottom and Scott Hadden for arranging these for our group. They went down an absolute treat. Due to the weather, the course was quiet… much quieter than I’d expected, but in a way, this helped to foster a sense of intimacy among us. And better still, we more or less commanded the undercover centre of our own al-fresco reserved tables section. It was quite relaxing sipping Pimms, watching the light drizzle fall around us.
Anyway, to the important business, the evening’s racing and as a collective group, we hit a purple patch. On the coaches earlier, I’d collected ten pounds off everyone who wanted to be part of my ‘Betworking Syndicate’. With £400 in hand, I set about a strategy to give everyone a financial interest across all the races…
6:20 1st Disavow 13/8F (backed £100 to win 3/1) +£300
6:50 3rd Alpine Storm 15/2 (backed £50 E/W 5/1) level
7:20 1st Cosseted 6/4 (backed £100 to win) +£150
7:55 1st Big Johnny D 9/2 (backed £50 to win 5/1) +£250
8:30 4th Caramack 5/1 (backed £50 E/W) -£100
8:55 1st Buredyma 2/1 (backed £200 to win 7/4) +£350
Total £950 profit
Oh yes, it was definitely time to party on the winnings! At least 30 of us piled into Neighbourhood back in town and having bumped into a few more souls who couldn’t join us at the races, we celebrated into the early hours with a hardcore contingent partying on over at Liars Club. The MRJ Recruitment lads, Jody, Ashley and Will among those last standing. One unnamed dirty bastard even finished off the night with a kebab (burp).
A most enjoyable day and night out and genuinely humbled to introduce so many people to each other for the first time. And equally so many to a new sport. Hopefully, there’ll be a sequel. Hell no, there WILL be. Let me know if you want in and I’ll pop you on the invitation circular when it’s ready.