Good evening from the Major who returns to the homestead somewhat weathered from a day of drinking and general high jinx. I could not comment on the weather, I feel it is beyond me.
A simple day racing. Myself, my brother and two of his acquaintances, one of whom had never met a racecourse.
We started the day in the smarter Montpellier, all delighted with a breakfast of haddock and tea. Procecco followed and service was good.
We pooled resources into a kitty as seemed decent and walked up through town in amongst the Cheltenham masses, dressed strictly as to orders. If you have not seen the dress code for men, it is simple enough. Jeans, deliberately scruffy but in unnatural shades, they fall to brown shoes, all angular. A shirt, generally a collar, thank God, and a blazer. Yes a blazer on jeans. The Jeremy Clarkson look. Quite.
Being with inexperienced souls, I feel we bookended the day with a beautiful juxtaposition. Imagine. As we strolled through Pittville Park, I lamented that our kitty would be best spent on Vautour in the first but that failure, with so much, so early, would leave a bitter taste. Being good sports to a man, debate and consensus, the company decried that, yes we should go to war in the first and to hell with the consequence.
And so, we did. How we were richly rewarded for our stand. I wrote last night that if Mullins felt he had the 2016 Gold Cup winner, then he might be right but Don Poli might have a serious rival in Vautour. I gloat a little, yes, I bask in the righteousness but not much, rather I am delighted we have another star on the scene. If you read my weeks preview, you knew it did my balance no bad turn either.
Vautour is all about speed but he travels well enough to step up in trip. Don Poli does his best work at the business end and looks a proper street fighter. If the stars align, this could be some battle. Kauto v Denman II. A long way off and many a slip between the crunch and leap so we can park those thoughts, for now.
Juxtaposition. From a glorious stand with a brave investment on Vautour. Cut to many units of alcohol later and we remain on course ploughing notes onto Clifford Baker to win the charity race, which he did not. Yes, quite.
Between one point and another, those Cheltenham virgins (I didn’t call them that in case of offence) were inducted.
I met up with some former colleagues, all fine chaps, financial sorts, work in a stiff environment and so like to let their hair down. These old dogs were skulking about the top of the course and while jaded; determined to see things through. No bat of an eyelid, I became part of their round, which was generous. Since I had to scoot before I could reciprocate, I bought them a ticket on my fancy in the last, Nina almost bought Bless the Wings home…… Delighted to see them.
The bus. Fun bus back to town. 40-year-old Anthony, probably some sort of estate agent, in his Jeremy Clarkson uniform he pole danced. Yes, don’t adjust your spectacles, he pole danced on the bus and encouraged others to do so. I give the man credit that he almost elicited cooperation from two ladies who probably woke to be thankful that their friend stopped them in the nick of time. Being wine flown myself, I must admit to encouraging this behaviour. Shame on me, I know. Oh, I’ll rot with the devil.
You did not come here to read such cadish shenanigans. This I know. We are here because we are about to embark. We join the battle full, there will be warm work in the forward skirmish but our heavy cavalry will punch through and we must pour on, fearless and with blind anger, slashing in fury.
My brother told me a vivid vision at the end of the day. One, that while not mine might sum up the day. We were lingering, drinking in the Centaur after racing when he decided to pursue a habit our mother would certainly not condone. Smoking. He sauntered out to the concourse and witnessed a moment. Meandering as a man does he floated past the food vendors and surprised himself by almost walking in on the sales event at the top of the course.
Sat and all contemplative, he heard the call as the hammer went down for 75k, lot 5; in the distance, as the last light was dying, confetti swirled into the lights of the Best Mate stand, the confetti of the damned, thousands and thousands of torn slips.
Thursday, we held our ground, lets go, final day; leave nothing on the bookies floor. To the sports, let your slips not be torn in terror and left in a terrifying eddy.
Courage, roll the dice.
Friday Gold Cup
The triumph, I have not had many winners in this race. Here the kids arrive, full or reputation but not having ever faced such a test. Many of them compiled reputations on winter ground and that scuppers my enthusiasm.
Beltor carries a 50/1 slip of mine (see the Saturday Sermon two weeks ago) and I would enjoy his win. However, if I had not post a bet, I would be concerned that connections have decided headgear is in order?
Top Notch is at least as interesting as Peace and Co. X is as interesting as Y. I am done. I am tempted to have an interest in Kalkir. A mere 20/1. All reputation, it burst badly but maybe, maybe.
I really want a good ground horse and Hargam is the one I trust. 7/1 Paddy Power.
JP loves the County. As the Pertemps contenders turned the bend, I thought the owner might have the first three home. Not to be but he might get a winner here. Tony McCoy has made his selection. I think he might regret it. Sort it Out appealing mark.
Albert Bartlett. Let me ask you ask you a question… Whatever happened to Leon Trotsky?
NO MORE HEROES.
My bet of the week. God, I pray for rain. God, I pray he needs it not.
The Gold Cup
I have been a supporter in recent weeks of Road to Riches who in my view is the worthy winner. Alas, the ground as it is may prove against him and three are of interest. Silviniaco Conti, Carlingford Lough and Bobs Worth.
Legends. It is hard to regain a Gold Cup. Yes. Bobs Worth while a superior winner once, has too much water under the bridge to confirm that now.
Carlingford Lough, no.
Silvi? The horse that faded, twice? Well, yes. For a start, his form has only improved and as long as the stormy weather does not procede his run, I think he won’t winter. Silviniaco Conti 4/1.
I write with some trepidation, he might fade you see. So. Two tips.
I want Holywell on side. I wrote that Ma Filluele was a horse I wanted to follow and her second today supported my view, even if the girl did not quite make it profitable. Her and Holywell have history.
He is not a natural pick but one that spring ground makes easier.
Bet victor are still 10/1 on Salisfy in the Foxhunters and frankly, the horse knows the business and I am less bothered about age in the race.
I sniff a plot in the Martin Pipe, which is not hard as lots of trainers are trying to launch one. Yet, Full Shift, reappearing in the race looks a murkier candidate than most.
McCoy. Last race at the festival. Ned Buntline 5/1.
It is all so easy.
Courage, roll the dice.