Canterbury Regulars Like More Than Horses

Sir Mark Irving

BY JIM WELLS

Not everyone has completed their enchanted connection with the most watched television series in the world. Many are still holding up their hands to prevent comment on the conclusion when the subject is introduced.

“Don’t tell me; I’m going to finish it this weekend, ” they’ll say.  “Is the ending really as bad as I’ve heard? ”

“Oh, you watched it, too,” rejoined a Canterbury regular still grieving over the Kentucky Derby conclusion, a man in touch with all things racing but not much else.

Then there are those who simply never became addicted. “After they melted down the metal and poured it on the blond brother, that was it for me,” said horsemen’s bookkeeper Tiffany Leggett.

Game of Thrones, of course, is the subject matter of the moment, and there are plenty of Canterbury regulars among the addicts.

Look no further than the racetrack press box, where the subject attracted a fair amount of attention Friday night…although a former rider now giving tours to patrons claims a closer identification than most.

Former jockey Mark Irving was raised in York, England. “I was in school with  Mark Addy (who played Robert Baratheon in the series). He was ahead of me, but his brother Simon was with me.”

Needless to say, Irving headed straight to his version of the man cave at home whenever the series aired. “I’d grab my beer and a snack, and disappear until it was finished.”

Track announcer Paul Allen and Bruce Meyer, the Oracle, were hot on the topic Friday night.  Both were underwhelmed with the finish although not necessarily disappointed.

The Oracle

Many viewers simply didn’t like the conclusion of the series, with the way it turned out. “I understand that,” said Meyer, who deemed the conclusion “okay” and the series among the best he has seen.

He and Allen discussed the possibility that Khalessi, queen Daenerys Targaryen, possibly got into one of her dragons with the whip a bit too energetically on one or more occasions.

Paul Allen

“Hey do you know how they (simulated) that movement of the dragons,” Allen asked. “They had a tennis ball on a stick that they moved back and forth in front of, what do they call, those screens.”

Joining Allen in the press box Friday night was his next-door neighbor, Cotton John, his seatmate for the last three seasons of the series.

Cotton John was disenchanted with the ending. “I was,” he said, “but it was such a great series I don’t want to say too much bad about it.”

Liked it ? Well, they are among a multitude of fans who intend to re-watch the entire series, all eight seasons.

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