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Thursday, 7 March 2013

Nags, Stags, Slags and a Hag

It is said, probably, that a period of reflection helps to cleanse the soul and reinvigorate the brain.  That a fortnight's departure from this mortal toil with the love of your life (Mrs Palphabet) whilst abstaining from your bit on the side (betting) will aid clarity of thought and renewed focus on the really important parts of your existence. 
So, as I returned today to Palphabet towers after a couple of weeks in South Africa, it was somewhat alarming in my role as a relatively new husband (particularly to my relatively new wife), that I rustled through the mail with an excitement akin to a senior cardinal suddenly realising that He isn’t gazing down with the omnipresence he once feared.  Abstinence cannot rid you of those natural urges, whether the deity you worship is up there, or down here (in my case, presented to me this morning in the glossy form of the Racing Post’s Cheltenham Festival Guide 2013).
As I prepare myself for daily festival blogs next week, here's a photographic account demonstrating what the past few weeks have consisted of...
- a trip to Meydan racecourse in Dubai.. no bookmakers, but wifi was excellent and permitted untroubled access to the markets
- a stable tour at the Ditcheat base of champion National Hunt trainer Paul Nicholls, where the hospitality and geniality of the man himself, plus assistant Dan Skelton was a privilege to witness at close quarters 

 Top - PFN holds court before the gallops; Bottom left - more than a village; Bottom right: "this year's Champion Hurdler [Zarkandar, with Harry Derham on board] and next year's Champion Hurdler [Far West, partnered by Daryl Jacob]" - absolutely first class banter from the champion trainer at his magnificent Somerset HQ

- a stag party in Cardiff.. below left shows my stag pal Nunny posing whilst yours truly [in a fantastic get-up might I add] attempts to eke some profit out of Southampton versus Man City.  Below right just shows the stag, turned into a slag by a local hag.  
- a trip to Ascot for another successful festival warm-up for Far West.. for more on this Triumph Hurdle contender, click here
Above - Henrietta Knight and I do our best impressions of Johnny 5 from "Short Circuit"
Below - Ascot in all its glory; Underneath - Palphabet blog on the blag..



- a stag party in Cape Town.. is that Henrietta Knight up the top of Table Mountain? Oh no, it's Johnny 5
- a wedding in Stellenbosch - the highlight of which was us horse racing around the dance floor.  No one else was impressed...

- a failed attempt to ride an ostrich.. apparently weighing over 75kg deems you too fat to actually take one for a spin, so I just sat on the poor thing while he did an impression of an armed-robber

- a growing enthusiasm for the forthcoming Cheltenham Festival and general increasing appreciation of the sport's rich tapestry

- a portfolio of antepost bets that has become more succinct, thanks to various non-runners, with increased stakes as delirium begins to take hold, particularly in the wake of the period of punting lent that I described above (the two week holiday).  Firstly, two decent stabs:

Then, a mixed bag, as two of my Gold Cup picks fell by the wayside

Finally, a flurry of delirious optimism.  Hopefully my 6pt each-way stake at 11-1 on Tiger Woods to win this weekend's WGC event at Doral will ensure that I can go to war at Cheltenham next week with a full strength armoury.



  1. You seem to be fully involved DP! What's your pick of the festival?

  2. Need you ask?? Apart from my many stabs on Far West, here's a decent price for you on the same day if you need to invest some of your Triumph winnings: Ted Veale in the County Hurdle or maybe Landscape in the Martin Pipe

    Just on Far West.. "one of our best chances at the meeting", Paul Nicholls said on the Betfair preview last night..likes the track, has shown an impressive turn of foot (at ascot last month), Ruby is a perfect partner.. I think a decent investment is clearly recommended! Couch is funny on this too: "Anthony [Bromley] knows more about juveniles than the BBC!"

    Finally - clearly Henderson & Mullins have the strongest hand but at odds on and slightly odds against I will probably have a little punt on PFN for top festival trainer too.. I think he's got plenty of potential winners - especially in the "lesser" races / handicaps - and might represent some value

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