20 February 2017
BLOG: The Approach to Cheltenham
So its that time of the year again- you know the’ How many Good Things can you secure before you actually get to Cheltenham’ competition.
It’s the one that alludes the great Mr and Mrs Public year on year. It seems business as usual- the sons and daughters of the bookmaking are privately educated at schools where their endowment funds are never short of the umpteenth million for the new Science Block- all funded of course by the world’s great ‘puntathon’ (surely loseathon to most of us) that is for ever part of the Gloucestershire folklore each March.
And remember the final two results last year? 14-1 and 28-1 – still hurts doesn’t it.
I don’t bet- sorting out which horse is which is a big enough challenge but about 5 years ago I reached a week before Cheltenham with a big smile and six near certainties. I even backed a few.
Then came the rain, lameness, travel sickness and the one I fancied biggest of all carried out by a loose horse who had got no further than the first.
But this game is for the perseverance culture. The greatest thrill of my life came at Easter last year days after the latest Cheltenham financial carnage had to be reconciled as I sat listening (and if you ever get the chance I plead you to go) in the National Cathedral in Washington DC to the incredible talent of Benjamin Straley illustrating why he is the best young Organist on Earth (I cried my eyes out just listening). He modulated a wonderful piece just a semitone in one simple triumphant move and I felt in another world.
So that’s the approach to the Cheltenham journey this year- modulate it just a semitone which in music speak is- ignore half what people tell you and let the music (ie you) make up your own mind.
This week it’s Nicholls, Henderson and Tizzard before the first of two trips to Ireland at the weekend. Which of Tizzard’s four for the Gold Cup? I shall report back.
And that indescribably uplifting and beautiful music is coming with me. My Cue Cards says there’s No Altior to that.
By Mike Vince