The fall of the Berlin Wall; the end of Queen Victoria's six-decade reign; the final episode of The Wire; reaching your destination after a satisfying automobile journey along a favourite route... all things eventually finish. Yesterday this was evident in stark brutality, and as I assess my Bet365 balance (showing a £200 loss on First Lieutenant, and a £25 loss on a FL / Dynaste "banker" double), as well as my Betfair P&L this morning, it makes for a similar reading experience as one of Melanie Phillips’ Daily Mail columns: sickening.
I have never been trackside at Cheltenham’s “St Patrick’s Day” but it was an otherwise enjoyable experience. Slightly shorter queues for bars and toilets (particularly after blagging it into the club enclosure) and Irish barmen in the Guinness tent seemingly more inebriated than their awaiting punters, World Hurdle day offered a pleasant alternative to Gold Cup Friday, which brings us to today.
|The amphitheatre of National Hunt Racing|
I write this from the B&B in which we are staying (I say B&B – it’s a family home that we have been taking over in increased numbers for the past few meetings at National Hunt HQ.. Essex raiders, if you will) and without the luxury of having much time at my disposal to think up my usual witticisms and anecdotes, I’ll get on with my selections for Friday. Whilst I am hoping to end the week on a high, it would be wrong to look at yesterday and get too bogged down; ultimately it’s been a cracking week of punting and just being in the presence of Far West’s connections today is sure to make it an extremely pleasurable and memorable fourth day at my third festival. Looking forward..
Far West - been backing him for ages and, knowing one of the part owners as closely as I know my own member, it would be a delight to see the juvenile hurdler deliver at around 6/1 today. Nicholls is bullish, and said in this morning's Betfair column: "I personally would say that we set the form standard going into this race".
Ted Veale - heard some decent noise about this one, who carries just 10-6 with Bryan Cooper on board. Cooper was atop Benefficient, slayer of Dynaste, yesterday and then stood in on First Lieutenant after reports that the unfortunate Davy Russell had spontaneously punctured a lung - get well soon Davy!
At Fishers Cross. The delightful Rebecca Curtis saddles this in-form bay gelding to provide that elusive 2013 festival win for AP McCoy, who I've just seen has been given the ride on Sir Des Champs in the Gold Cup following Davy Russell's withdrawal and the subsequent but unrelated non-running of Sunnyhillboy.
Backed, and then layed a bit of Silviniaco Conti antepost after his recent winning of the Denman Chase at Newbury. Nicholls is happy with SC and whilst there are plenty of doubters out there, he's said he's "confident that Conti goes into the race fit and well and on an upward curve". Backed Sir Des Champs nearly a year ago and now buoyed by the booking of the 17-time consecutive champion jockey. Going to take Long Run each-way too for the Waley-Cohen / Henderson crew - can't ignore that animal. Now watch Bob's Worth make all and duly sluice up!
Salsify. Small bet on a fancied nag as part of a multiple - see below.
Act of Kalanisi for Dr Richard Newland, who I found out recently is involved in orthopaedics, much like myself! AoK is ridden by 6-pound claiming jockey Christopher Ward (incidentally the name of one of my favourite watch brands). Also backed Salubrious - PFN and Harry Derham (3). As well as putting David Pipe's grey Gevrey Chambertin in a big acca, I also like Oh Crick and Shooters Wood too.. let's see how carried away I get at the track later!
Last bet of the week.. well last festival bet anyway. I was on Alderwood at 20/1 in last year's Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle and I'm going to get back involved today too, albeit only with a 0.5pt poke.
Finally, I've had a monster accumulator and Super Heinz with bet365.. pays out about a million-to-one.. fine.