I’m sometimes asked what happens when I have no ideas for writing the Border Post. The answer, which will be immediately obvious to anyone who reads it often, is that I write 500 words about nothing and hope no one notices. Much the same as this week…
Because, this week, my mind is empty, vacant and blank. Just like the public enclosures at Kelso this weekend when we will be staging our fourth fixture of the season. There will be no crowd and the grandstands will be unoccupied, desolate and abandoned (plus any other synonym that you can think of for the word ‘empty’).
Of course we’re not the only ones. The betting shops in England are all closed too – they’re uninhabited, barren, cleared. The lack of crowds and places for punters to strike their bets will leave our finances depleted, devoid and most definitely lacking. So much so, that it’s difficult not to feel a bit hollow, dry or forsaken.
However, all is not lost. When Pandora opened the box which was given to her by Zeus, she probably felt a bit like we do now. All the evils of the World, including greed, envy, hatred, pain, disease, hunger, poverty and war, flew out before she could replace the lid and none of them could be gathered back in. But, importantly, the box was NOT empty. One item remained – the Greek word for it is Elpis, we call it hope.
Hope was thus retained by man, for all eternity, as a key defence against the multitude of other evils which were unleashed upon the World. And yet hope is a doubled edged sword – we may find it helpful, but it must also have been considered pretty dangerous for Zeus to include it in his box of tricks in the first place.
For example, I may hope that Saturday’s selection (Taxmeifyoucan in the Racing TV Free Trial Hurdle Race) will win me a fortune, but based on recent experience that could well turn out to be a false expectation – one based on whimsey that could easily leave me in a worse position than I’d started.
But not all hope is like that. When hope is backed by a strong work ethic and a spirit of togetherness, it can provide that small ray of sunshine that helps us to defy the odds. So the owners that hope to get their horses onto the track will realise their ambition at Kelso on Saturday. The trainers that care for the horses will receive their training fees and will pay the farriers, the feed merchants and the equine physiotherapists.
The online betting companies will contribute a little more for the racing pictures that are streamed to the phones of racing fans, who are sadly obliged to stay at home. And despite the racecourse, the highstreet and the betting shops being empty, the wheels of the racing industry will continue to turn and hope remains that we’ll all be able to return to normal soon.
Well, we can keep our fingers crossed…