Like 2005 all over again!
Well, not exactly, but to the extent that we are having such wonderful weather in the third week of March, it is. The sun is blazing outside, light streaming into the house, while I am sitting there, engrossed in my Jenny Pitman novel.
It seems that Cheltenham is having a bot of rain today, to 'freshen up' the ground, but that the rest of the week should be sunny, if not all that wam any more. It should still be ground for the mudlovers and the bets I placed two weeks ago are still looking good. They are as follows:
Tuesday: New Alco 14-1 (now 10-1) in the William Hill Trophy
Thursday: Too Forward 14-1 (now 10-1) in the Ryaniar Chase
Thursday: Kasbah Bliss 12-1 (now 10-1) in the World Hurdle
Friday: My Will 25-1 and 20-1 (now 14-1) in the Gold Cup
Friday: L'Ami 20-1 (now 14-1) in the Gold Cup
Further, I fancy my old friend Hardy Eustace (3-1) in the Champion Hurdle, which he will try to win for the third time) and Roman Ark (16-1) in a race on Thursday.
I am thinking to go on three days - Wednesday to Friday, having arranged to hire a car from Taunton on Wednesday morning, handing it in at Heathrow on Friday evening after the Gold Cup. It is a pity but in the 'old days' one couyld go for three days and see the whole meeting, but now they have spread it out over four days, so I will be missing the Champion Hurdle, amongst others.
There is a race on the Thursday which is the Ryanair Chase which is for the best horses over two-and-a-half miles. In the old days, such horses had the choice of running over two miles in the Champion Chase or the Gold Cup over three-and-a-quarter miles, which made each of those two races more interesting... will such horses be fast enough for the two miler or stay far enough in the Gold Cup. Maybe it is fairer to the horses who are two-and-a-half mile specialists, but it does take away some of the interest from the established races. This year it looks like being one of the best races of the week with the likes of Monet's Garden, Our Vic and Racing Demon due to run. It will be difficult for my fancy Too Forward to win, and I am regretting a little having had a 'punt' on him now, but come the end of the week, he might be the only horse who has won me any money, this being the glorious uncertainty of horse racing.
Unlike 2005 however, Take The Stand will not be running. He has deteriorated badly since last year and he doesn't like the soft conditions so whereas it is a pity not to see him, it is best that he isn't going to be put in a difficult position where ghe cannot do himself justice. Who knows? He may be back for another crack at the Grand National in a month's time.