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Fireman Jak

by 'Mad Marty' Wilson |  Published: Jun 01, 2010


Fireman JakAs most of my readers know by now, I have an 18-year-old son called Jak. I could never ever get him to go to school. He used to have two days a week off every week, and had the highest absences ever recorded in his school’s history. Some mornings I would drop Jak off at school and he would run home along the railway walk and be back before me!

He would not go to school under any circumstances. Invariably, Jak left school with nothing. No qualifications whatsoever. So what does he want to do when he leaves school? He wants to go to college to further his education.

Jak managed to get in to Dudley College. I think he wants to become a fireman. He wants to follow in the footsteps of the famous Hendon Mobster Ross Boatman, who as you well know was a fireman in TV drama London’s Burning. I’ve had a word with Ross and he’s going to teach Jak how to hold a hose and to swing round a pole. I didn’t realise that you had to go to college to become a fireman but obviously there are all different kinds of fires. Some you put out with sand and some you put out with your hands and feet. Just so long as you don’t throw petrol on them.

As part of one of his projects for Dudley College, Jak was to contact one of his local heroes. Some people wrote to footballers like Wayne Rooney, and some people wrote to John Terry. (By the way we wrote to 100 footballers’ wives and asked them if they’d ever sleep with John Terry ­ 83 percent of them said never again!) Anyway, Jak wrote to A.P. McCoy, the famous national hunt (and now Grand National-winning) jockey, and said how he’d followed him from a very early age because his pocket money and food on the table often depended on A.P.’s results as I have backed McCoy all my life. It was often caviar or chips. I can’t help it if A.P. McCoy was responsible for my son having his first bicycle repossessed. But obviously it has paid dividends over the years following him.

Lo and behold, the most extraordinary thing was about to happen. Out of all the 40 people who attend Jak’s class in Dudley College, only one student got a reply from his hero. You guessed it, A.P. McCoy invited me and Jak to Warwick races for an afternoon I will never forget. We met owners, trainers, and had a four-course meal on a day that will live in my son’s heart forever. We also had a chat and discovered that we had a mutual friend, Gerlando Dominico Franco Cacciatore, or as I know him, Joe.

The following Saturday, Joe rings me and says A.P. fancies a horse at Chepstow. Joe said he couldn’t be out of the frame. So I put £1,000 on an online gambling site and found a special offer. The first bet that you made, they double the odds. The horse was 8-1, so I had £250 each-way on the computer, but the bet looked like it hadn’t been taken. I turned the computer off and reset it, and tried once more to put £250 each-way on the horse. Again it appeared that the bet hadn’t been taken.

Forget it, I thought. I’ll go down the betting shop and place £250 each-way in cash. On the way home Jak texted me, “I hope you had enough on the horse, Dad.” Now I knew it had won.

The horse had led from start to finish over two-and-a-half grueling miles round Chepstow on a sloppy track. It was never in any trouble. And the good news didn’t end there. Two days later I turned on my laptop to find my account with the new online firm had been credited with a further £7,500. Not only had the bets been taken, they’d paid me double the odds for the first £250 each way. Thank god my son wants to become a fireman.
The money was used wisely, as this win gave me the entry into this year’s Irish Open, where I eventually finished 17th out of a field of 708 runners and collected a further €18,000. Bar that, I had no real luck that week. Spade Suit

Mad Marty Wilson is a professional gambler and poker consultant for Matchroom Sport.