Horse Racing

The diligent race by race contemplative ananlysis of collated historical form,
perused at length the evening before,
intently evalauating the individual runners, the type of race, the soft to heavy ground,
the favourable low number of the draw,
up in the stands, enjoying a thrilling National Hunt meeting at scenic Market Rasen,
on a blustery winter’s day,
with a backdrop of undulating wolds and billowing rain clouds tinged with pewter grey,
lightened by sun’s luminous rays.

Opposite the stands, an exhilarating duel for the red and white finishing post,
the joint leaders matching stride for stride,
a two year old inexperienced debutante tiring, drifting and going sideways,
at the course’s rail rather wide,
the exuberant whinny of a jogging excited youngster, calling to the other runners,
it’s first time around the parade ring,
down at the start, the five minute wait with the race official checking his watch,
the air of anticipation it brings.

As the sprung elongated bright orange starting tape across the course quickly recedes,
black binoculars and heads are raised,
the first horse past the finishing post in the winner’s enclosure, after a photo finish,
being happily praised,
the prodigious crowds, excitement and glamour of the eminent flat and jump festivals,
throughout the racing year,
debonair top hat and tails, stylish dresses with resplendent designer hats are worn,
a smart dress code to which racegoers adhere.

The groundsmen levelling rich brown birch hurdles and replacing circular divots,
in green manicured grass,
the multicoloured twisted braid and bright oval shaped metal racecourse badge,
of an annual member’s pass,
the bustle of a crowded betting ring, watching a race develop across the course,
the sport of kings you loved so dear,
whenever I see a meeting or hear the distinctive commentary of horse racing,
this brings you ever closer, brings you ever near.

A much loved husband and father, Justin Farthing 1949 – 2018


A poem can express innermost emotions after the loss of a loved one or friend.

My poetry is written to be gently uplifting and evocative, reminding the reader or listeners of the loved one or friend’s joy of horse racing as a professional or hobby.

My poems have been very well recieved at both church and crematorium services, adding a very personal accolade.

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