The New Captain
The Best Laid Plans ...
The Plastic Fantastic
Ode to a Bush Stone Curlew
The Garden of Serenity
Cut and Thrust
Ode to Mount Wellington
Dreams go by Contraries
List of 2002 stories
Dreams go by Contraries
Back in 1962, a friend of mine named Eric was following a horse-racing system which, believe it or not, rarely lost. The system was highly selective and only rarely produced a horse to wager on but on "Debutante Stakes" day at Caulfield it nominated two horses in consecutive races. Eric backed them both and had a nice collect when Young Victoria won the Debutante Stakes for fillies and Time and Tide won the Debutant Stakes for colts. Amongst other things, Eric bought a motor-mower out of his winnings.
Exactly seven weeks later he had his next system horse. It was a three-year old colt named Jerkin and was to be ridden by Melbourne's top jockey, Roy Higgins. As 5/1 was readily on offer by all the bookies, I visualised my friend's future if Jerkin won. "A motor-mower last time, Eric, a motor car this time. Heh! Wacko!" I said to him, clapping my hands to express my excitement at his likely success. Imagine my surprise when he told me that he was not going to back Jerkin. I asked him why not. "I've had this dream," he said, and now I quote him verbatim, "I interpretated my dream using Zurko's "Book of Dreams" and it says I'm going to have bad luck with my horses." A few minutes later, when I had managed to stop laughing, I asked him, "Eric, I know the only thing in your life is horses but how in the hell did you work that out?"
He told me that in his dream he was mowing the lawn with his new motor-mower when the mower broke away from him, charged across the lawn running over a dove and killing it. The motor-mower then split down the middle. "What's that got to do with anything?" I asked. "Everything! Everything!" he replied, with feeling. His interpretation of the dream, with the help of Zurko, he explained as follows: Because a dove is a bird of peace or good luck, he was due for bad luck for killing it, and because the motor mower symbolically represented his horses he had lost control of them and was due for bad luck. The motor-mower splitting apart only emphasised the breakdown of his method, therefore, he was not having a bet.
Nothing I said could persuade him to show some commonsense. I pleaded, "This is your system, Eric, it's won almost every time. It's seven weeks since you've had a bet and your last two horses both won so you can have this bet for nothing. Put something on it, anyway!" Nothing would change his mind. "Consider the horse," I said, "and the jockey. Jerkin has won 4 of its last 6 starts, 3 out of its last 4 races, and Roy the Boy, Higgins, the best jockey in Melbourne is in the saddle and you've got about 10 times the true odds. You've gotta be crazy not to bet on it. What more do you want?" No! Nothing got through to Eric, he was adamant. "Well, Eric," I said. "You are crazy! But I'm having my twenty quid on it because Jerkin is gunna bolt in."
The race was duly run and Jerkin "bolted" in, winning easing-up by a neck which could have been many lengths if Higgins had ridden him out. Eric was astounded and extremely dejected. I had expected him to have put a few hundred pounds on Jerkin, so it represented a very, very big difference to his bankroll. Despite his sad state I insisted he celebrate my success and I forced him, a teetotaller, to drink my health with a glass of champagne. Eric's downcast spirits did not improve when I pointed out to him that his dream had, in fact, come true. "Huh? How do you work that out?" asked Eric. "Easy! Eric, easy! easy as pie, have another drink."
You see, Eric missed out on backing a 5/1 certainty which is about as bad as a punter's luck can ever get.