George Ward, founding President of the Horserace Sponsors Association, used to support races under the banner of his photo-processing brands Bonusprint and Tripleprint. And after every race, he’d ensure that there was a box of Trebor Mints for the winning horse.
Asked why he preferred to present Trebor Mints instead of Polos, he explained that, with Trebor, the horses received more mint for their money – there being no holes in the centre of the sweets.
Once upon a time he could have given PEZ sweets, the small brick-shaped sweets that come with a handy dispenser – often in the shape of a Disney character. While we tend to think of them as being fruit-flavoured, they were actually first marketed as minty breath fresheners, in Vienna, 1927; the name PEZ being an abbreviation of Pfefferminz, the German word for peppermint.
PEZ now come in all sorts of sour and fizzy flavours, demonstrating the forethought of the manufacturers, because sales of mint flavoured sweets are falling throughout the United Kingdom. Eight of the ten most popular brands have experienced a fall sales during the last year, including Polo Mints by 9.7% and Trebor Mints by 8.7%. According to Cameron Sharp, an analyst quoted online last week, the mint market is now worth £150 million – just 3.1% of the near £5 billion that we spend on confectionery every year.
Apparently health conscious shoppers are less likely to pick up a packet of sugary mints, while the number of smokers who need to freshen their breath is also diminishing. All of this is very strange, because I don’t think of horses as being particularly health conscious and I can’t remember ever seeing one smoke.
Perhaps the time has come for carrot flavoured PEZ sweets. When One For Arthur attended Kelso Races in order to open the new Parade Ring last month, the hint was dropped (very heavily) that he greatly preferred carrots to mints. Which is just as well because, courtesy of local businessman Colin McGrath, Kelso Racecourse has presented a sack of carrots to every winning horse for the last fifteen years. All in all, Colin has presented more than a twelve hundred sacks of carrots, which amounts to quite a few tonnes.
The new carrot flavoured PEZ sweets could come packaged in dispensers topped with the head of a famous jockey – wearing the silks of famous horses like Red Rum and Desert Orchid. I’m sure that would prove popular with punters – I’ve often heard it said, by customers in the Kelso betting shop, that they’d like to see a particular jockey’s head on a stick!
Perhaps one of the dispensers will carry the yellow and white colours of Sheriff Garrett (whose name appeals to me for some reason), our selection for the weekend at Market Rasen on Saturday. If you need a carrot to place a bet, just think of the mint you’ll make if he wins.