I should like the opportunity to raise the plight of the Irish jockey-man. We all know about the current financial difficulties endured by the Irish Republic, but how many are cognisant of its effects upon jockey-men?
We might read an online Ballybunnion Advertiser, or we might peruse, in a particularly well-stocked newsagent or railway station "mini-library", an afternoon edition of the "Ballybum Telegraph & Argus". There we may see an article and think "it's all up with the Irish racing business these days". But do we think about the consequences for the jockey-men?
I have a friend. Let us call him "Little Patrick". He was a jockey-man. Now he is reduced (and being an already-small fellow he won't stand much reducing) to appearing in Kiddy Entertainments as "Larry The Leprechaun", all got up in a green suit and given to say lines such as "Yer've a sweet tongue on yers, Missus; it'll be kissin the Blarney Stone yes hev done so ye have" and giving out three wishes to the children.
Little Patrick has a friend called "Wee O'Rafferty" who once came seventh in the Ballybegob Handicap. He is now working as a camel jockey-man for the Arabs, over there in the Araby.
I also hear from acquaintances in the Turf Accountancy business as to how there are many poor former jockey-men now working the streets of London as rent boys by pretending to be runaway schoolboys from Killarney. Others ply a trade as chimney sweeps by day, and work in the pantos of an evening - there is work as Snow White's Dwarfs From The Emerald Isle or if a pantomime dog or cat or small monkey is required, these erstwhile jockey-men will be there in a trice (that is their preferred mode of transport these days, now the Dublin Rickshaws have no licence after dark). These lads can do a great panto animal "with having been so close to the beast and felt its thrummings" when on horseback.
But you must agree that this is quite a come-down from riding a horse at Drumlin Races. Indeed, it was always a big come-down for these tiny folk, getting off a great big horse, and them such tiny wee fellows. But my point is clear.
Miss Ethel Nitrate
PS When I refer to the "mini-library" above, I mean those kiosks they have at stations, where you can buy an ounce of shag, or a biro, or discover the telephone number of a gentleman who administers corporal discipline to mature ladies.
I have read the letter you saw fit to publish on the subject of these Irish jockeys. I want to say to these people: may I help?
My daughters, Ambergris and Tallow, are passionate about their shetland ponies, and they would be simply ecstatic if I were able to procure a brace of little Irish jockey-men who might ride the tiny horses about a miniature Aintree Grand National course their father left them when he moved to Papua New Guinea with Mrs Flabstone from the florists.
I can offer the little chaps pocket money for sweets etc, and there might well be work in my friend's Comedy Rodeo she puts on for the kids' birthday parties and such. It would be wonderful if she had real live miniature comedy cowboys. She did try some unemployed Circus Dwarfs but they couldn't ride the animals, which include dogs, cats, pigs, a big hare and an exotic thing, a tapir or toucan or something. Coypu? I don't know. Or is it a pangolin, that anteater thing?
I do hope that I and these diminutive heroes can be of mutual support.
I read in your letter's page about the woman what is offered the work to these jockeys what has no horse to ride. I have to say that when she says the pandolin, she is barkine up the wrong lamp-post without a padlle.
For a pandaline is a kind of string instroment. My granddadd had one as was from Tynane Weare. This was, he played on it of a Sunday's, the entertaindt us familey. When he was, he gote it fromm Prage in Checkoslovakrea in the Warre.
You canet play a anteeater!
Frank E Stiene
Dear Editors Three
(three is an guess I don't know how many)
I have read of these Irish jockeys. First, they are nowhare called jockey-men, just jockeys. Let's get that strait.
But I see that there are some been kulled becorse of money, there not been enoiughe to fede them. I coulde see howe a hors coulde of been put downe if theyr is no moneye to fede him. But a humane man, a jockeye been khilled is tearable.
Sumethine must be dune befoure moare thease jock-keys have dye.
Vin Ordinaire (B A Hons.)