Day Two. Hmm. This doesn’t look appetising. The heaven-hyped Samcro runs, yes, but he’s one for the big hitters only.
Ditto Altior, even if he’s drifting after his injury scare. Elsewhere there’s a couple of impenetrable handicaps, a supremely impenetrable bumper and the novelty event that is the Cross Country Race.
Hmm again. The initial Cheltenham is Here At Last excitement has worn off and reality has kicked in. It’s not unlike Jose Mourinho’s situation at Old Trafford. Mind you, at least none of today’s runners will be playing for a scoreless draw.
My plan of campaign? To take her handy. I have no strong opinions on any of the afternoon’s races. What’s more, nobody else out there seems to have identified any blots on the handicap.
So, to return to my self-imposed guidelines from the opening day, I’m not going to have bets for the sake of it and I’m not going to blow my entire kitty of €77.50 either. This column, therefore, will not be a wry-but-amusing confessional about how your correspondent did his tonsils. Sorry.
On the plus side I do have a free bet of a fiver (woo hoo) on the Champion Chase. In the hope of a Lazarene comeback I stick it on Douvan at 4/1.
As the race unfolds I go from mild hope to quiet optimism to serious optimism. Douvan, looking like the old Douvan, has pulled himself to the front and is jumping beautifully. Then he dives at the fourth last and that’s that.
Patrick Mullins is gutted (“he looked like the Douvan I rode at Leopardstown two years ago”). Willie Mullins is gutted. I’m gutted, even if I only stood to win €20. Mind you, it could be worse. I could be poor Ruby.
If you’re reading, Ruby, try googling Dave Mackay, a soccer player from back in the day. He was kind of like Roy Keane, except less mouthy and far less fetishised by the Irish media.
Anyway, Mackay broke his leg, broke it again on his first match back – and came back again and won an FA Cup, then a League title. He wasn’t a young man either.
A Lucky 15 of Dounikos, Burbank, Josies Orders and Duc Des Genievres proves even less successful than Tuesday’s Lucky 15, which at least returned €2.50.
Yet after Apple’s Jade capsized my short-odds treble on the opening day I’m not inclined to feel guilty for passing over Samcro, Presenting Percy and Altior.
Nor am I inclined to feel guilty for not backing Bleu Berry at 20/1 (even his owner didn’t) or Veneer Of Charm at 33/1.
That said, in hindsight I ought to have harboured some kind of fellow feeling for the latter, having been accused often enough in the past of possessing the selfsame dubious quality.
As with Tuesday, I’m reduced to hoping the last race will get me out. This much I can safely hazard: the winner of the bumper will probably hail from Closutton.
As to which component of the WP Mullins cavalry charge will do the needful, I’m on Blackbow. Specifically I’m on his partner, the trainer’s son, and thereby hangs a tale.
Ten years ago Patrick obliged for me on Cousin Vinny in the same race, a bet I placed solely because I’d seen him in a winebar a few weeks beforehand (Patrick, not Vinny, and he wasn’t drinking wine because he was there to chauffeur his mother and aunties home). I took this to be an auspicious omen. It was.
The good news is that Willie saddles the first three home. The bad news is that none – not one! – of them is Blackbow, who finishes fifth. I check my online account. They weren’t paying five places. My cup of vinegar runneth over.
May Ruby go on to be the new Dave Mackay. May I stop being the current Jose Mourinho.
State of the kitty after Day 2: €32.50
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