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Cheltenham Festival Sets High Standards

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In December every year I get lucky, in that I get a vote for the Owner, Trainer and Jockey of the Year in the Prestigious Horserace Writers and Photographers Association Derby Awards.

Even now, and I thought about this long and hard as I negotiated the eighth blunder of the Modern World, Oxford’s Pear Tree Roundabout at 6pm on a Friday on my way from home from Cheltenham, that task is heading for the bin marked ‘far too difficult’.

And that’s just off the back of four unforgettable days in Gloucestershire at Jump Racing’s shrine.

Just how, please, am I supposed to balance the brilliance of Faugheen and Vautour and the jumping of Un de Sceaux? Oh, and then there’s the small matter of the fairy story that DID come true as Coneygree made all to win the Gold Cup and become the first Novice to hit the Jackpot since 1974?

Next stop is Aintree the week after Easter and that’s before we even start the Flat Season which as this stage has a wide open look to the Derby and then Royal Ascot and the like.

Quite simply, if Cheltenham sets the standard for the year we are in for a treat.

But I am already wondering how soon it will be before a colleague in the Press Corps is heard to utter ‘roll on March’.

I’ll say it now, because the thought of a reunion with Team Mullins’ star names and Coneygree is a fabulously enticing prospect now- heaven knows what it will be like when Jack Frost starts his annual mayhem in the winter.

By Mike Vince