Cheltenham drew to a close and I faced the horrible realisation that for the first time in my life I have gone through the meeting without finding a single winner. I didn’t bet in as many races as I normally do due to time constraints and I twice had the heartbreak of seeing my horse jump the last in a comfortable lead only to be reeled in. Still it was a depressing performance.
The days when I had the time to spend hours poring through form are behind me, but even if I did I’m not sure I have the same enthusiasm as there are so many other thoughts that occupy my mind now. In the old days I could spend hours going through form and nothing could distract me. I can’t do that now and it shows.
I had to drive up from home today having picked up our dog late last night – I left late and ran into serious traffic problems, and I didn’t get to our box until after the second race. I meet a lot of sporting personalities in my job and it doesn’t generally affect me, but there are one or two people I will always be in awe of. Sir Peter O’Sullevan is one such person, and he was in our box when I arrived – I’ve met him briefly a couple of times before. To my surprise he recognised me and came over for a chat. He is an amazing man – at the age of 92 his hearing isn’t what it once was but his mind is as strong as ever. I felt humble in his company.
Kauto Star won the big one, and Clive collects his million pounds from us. He came into the Betfair tent a short while after the race, carrying the Gold Cup and with an enormous entourage. I felt emotional for him and had a brief chat – we did some photos on the stage and he left. It was a great race – Kauto had his customary last fence blunder and Exotic Dancer would have run him a lot closer had he had less traffic problems.
I stuck around to chat to a few punters and lose a bit more money. Nick Gifford had told me in the morning that he quite liked his horse Diego Cao at Fakenham – he came second at 25-1 after a few traffic problems.
Tomorrow Thunderbolt Jaxon finally makes his debut – I won’t be going as I have too much on. The early tissues had him in at a big price and had me excited, but he’s looking like opening at around 2.7 which is not a get rich price. I’m expecting a big run in what looks like an average race.