Half way through the Wednesday of Cheltenham last year I slipped out and bought a dog – a “Landseer” Newfoundland puppy to be precise (Robbie, named after Wee Robbie at Nick Gifford’s yard). The small bundle of fluff as he was then has grown to be a hairy monster weighing in at over ten stone (although he’s got a long way to go before he catches me up). He costs £5 a day to feed and until recently he’s always eaten every scrap of food we give him. It all changed this week – he’s been leaving his food and Jane has been very worried by this.
Yesterday he started howling loudly during the day. We did some research. Our next door neighbours recently bought a year old bitch, and she’s currently on heat – Robbie’s been spending time with her and they’ve built up a bit of a relationship.
“Poor boy” said Jane, “He’s pining for a bit of action with his girl”
“I know how he feels” I said.
“You men are all the same” Jane replied with a half smile.
Well I guess so. It would be good if I could go off my food for a while but it isn’t happening at the moment – I think I’m now heavier than when I started dieting.
I may still go to Newbury tomorrow despite the fact that Mon Michel is not running. It’s a fantastic day’s racing – one of the best of the NH year as a lot of Cheltenham bound horses come out for their last run.
In the first a number of top class flat recruits (including a G1 winner) take on the unlucky second from the Cheltenham bumper two years ago. In the third Voy Pur takes on Master Minded, Clive Smith’s impressive young pretender. Denman will go off at long odds on in the Aon. The last is a top class bumper and a convincing winner would go straight to the top of the champion bumper market. It seems odd to me that Mad Max is three times the price of the Old Pretender in the Champion Bumper market but less than twice his price in tomorrow’s race.
The betting race for me is the Totesport Trophy. Five Dream is a worthy favourite – a classy improving type who is extremely well treated by the conditions of the race. I try to avoid favourites in races like this one but I’m really struggling to get away from this horse. The best alternative I can find is Whispered Promises, a recent recruit to the Pipe team from Roger Brookhouse. It’s paid well to follow horses going to Pond House from small stables over the years – one of the biggest wins of my early life was on Olympian at Cheltenham after he moved to Martin Pipe from Tom McGovern. I know David likes Whispered Promises and I’m sure he’ll run a big race.
At Ayr in the 2:20 I like Quws Law, although don’t ask me how to pronounce it. Villon in the last is a very interesting type if retaining all his ability, and I’ll back him if the price is right.
Swindon head up to Huddersfield for a important match. As far as I know new signing Simon Cox will line up (he returns to the club having played on loan from Reading in the first half of the season) and he may make a big difference. Fingers crossed.