At last the waiting is over and Cheltenham is under way. I live about 50 miles from the course, but I like to have plenty of time before the races begin and so I leave home at 9.00. I get to the track about an hour and a half later and that gives me time to walk the track and to fulfil all the requests from the media for interviews.
Tuesday was a little disappointing. My main hope Le Bague Au Roi ran well for a long way in the Mares’ Hurdle and would’ve finished in the places but for a mistake at the last. Two and a half miles is probably not far enough for her any longer.
Louis’ Vac Pouch is my best ride on Thursday, in the Pertemps Final. He was a close second in the Silver Trophy at Chepstow’s October meeting. A host of winners have come out of that race since, including Louis, who won at Aintree in November. He’s gone up 13 pounds in the weights but he’s got a great chance tomorrow.
Everyone’s interested in Native River and he’s almost challenging for favouritism with Might Be now. My fellow handles soft well but I’d prefer the ground to be a little less tacky come Friday. A bit of rain could help, but the forecast suggests we might get more than a little. Forecasts can be wrong though! We’ll just have to cope with what we’ve got on the day. The tension and the excitement are mounting!
I should say a word about Cedar Venture’s win in the Taunton bumper on Monday, the last race before Cheltenham, which teed me up nicely for the Festival. She wasn’t going fantastically coming out of the back straight, but she stays really well and was in complete control at the end. This heavy ground suited her. She’s only four and hopefully there’ll be more to come.