The trouble with Big Dave was that he was so damn likeable, forever cracking jokes and even when he wasn’t cracking jokes he still had a way about him that made you want to laugh. You couldn’t help but enjoy his company but with Dave, money always came into it sooner or later and it would be only a matter of time before he was tapping you up.
I had just about got my money back off him after the previous years Euro’s in Portugal. He had heavily laid Greece in the knockout stages because he was convinced that they simply could not win. Each lay was much bigger than the one before in order to try and recoup his losses.
“Dey were so lucky against Portugal, dis team shunt even be innit. I’ve worked it owt, dey play the French in da quarters, probably da Czechs in da semi’s and either da Dutch or Portugal again in da final. Come on Carl, can you really see em getting past dat lot?”
“No Dave I can’t”
“Exactly, dey can’t win it I tell yer…..its buyin money”…… I still wince even now.
But pay me back he did although I was one of the lucky ones and I am sure that there was so much money taken out of circulation and handed to the bookies via Big Dave that this was probably a factor behind the credit crunch. But Big Dave had convinced me that Horse Racing was still an earner despite our unfortunate day in Doncaster.
Big Dave was a professional gambler, trouble was he never had any money to bet with but he always had this uncanny knack of being able to get his hands on dough…..unfortunately sometimes it was mine. We had travelled the short journey to York in the summer of 2005 for the “Royal Ascot” meeting. The real Ascot was having a facelift so they held the event at York that year.
We had gone for several days and booked a hotel (separate rooms) overlooking the Roman wall. I’d had a bad week online and felt that I needed the break. I hadn’t intended on spending it with Big Dave but my significant other half was away on business and he caught me at a vulnerable moment and at a loose end.
“I av information dat is so hot, it wud arouse a corpse” said Big Dave.
Apparently Dave knew some geezer who knew a geezer who was connected to a top stable.
“Dis is secret Carl you understand, dis horse aint gonna win” said Big Dave.
“Cos it aint been puttin da work in dats why” Big Dave went on, “it aint fit enough to compete”
“Who is this contact that your mate has Dave?”
“It’s a no names kinda thing but its spot on”
But Big Dave had his own ideas anyway, on the first day of the meeting he was literally drooling at the thought that the Godolphin trained Shamardal wasn’t going to win this race.
“Dettori was supposed ta ride dis and now they av got some Aussie jockey. Dis horse is made for Frankie’s style and now he aint ridin it. Da racins totally different down under, dis guy won’t av a clue” preached Big Dave.
“Get on dat phone and lay dis thing for a monkey and put some on for yerself” said Big Dave.
Very nice of him seeing as it wasn’t his account and he didn’t have a penny in it (but we were all square after all after he had paid me back). Shamardal went to the front almost straight away.
“YES!!! Its f***** now cos it can’t lead against dis field and win” shouted Big Dave.
Anyway…..it won at 7/4 with perhaps one of the finest pieces of front running in ages according to the following days Racing Post. I had to get away from Big Dave for two reasons, firstly I felt like hitting him and secondly I didn’t want a grown man to see me cry.
I was stood at the entry to the parade ring a few minutes later as the horses for the next race came trooping past. It’s quite awesome how big horses are when you get really close to them. I was just in the process of thinking how dangerous this spot was in which to stand with the horses being in such close proximity when I heard a squeaky voice from behind me say “you’re standing in the right place if you want to get kicked”
That was it, the end of the line. I had done my money in all week online and now I was doing my nuts in York and having some smart arse who knew jack about horse racing state the frickin obvious was too much.
So I spun round and said “why don’t you go and f……” to then see that the guy was in fact John Francome.
I skilfully managed to stifle the sentence and ended up saying “cheers mate” and quickly walked off.
The day deteriorated even more when the horse that Dave said wasn’t going to win with the “corpse arousing” information went and lost and guess who had lost all confidence and decided to swerve it?
“I can’t believe yer dint lump on Carl”
“Dares some fink up wiv yer man” shouted Big Dave.
Never a truer word had passed his lips all week.
Rumour has it that while living in his shed in Tibet, Big Dave has run up massive debts and has seriously upset the locals.
Carl “The Dean” Sampson can also be found playing free poker