Is he too young at six years of age? Well, Long Run triumphed at the same age so I tell myself he probably isn’t. More pressingly, is winning the Thyestes at Gowran Park any signpost to winning the blue riband of National Hunt racing?
On the face of it no, but the rain means today will be a slog, as three miles at Gowran Park in the depths of January invariably is. Also, Djakadam has Ruby and Willie on his side, which is more or less the same as having God rooting for him. All told, what more could one ask for? Someone Facebooks me from Cheltenham.
“Saw your plaintive appeal for tips at the bottom of your piece today,” quoth he, nominating Rich Coast in the County Hurdle and Paint The Clouds in the hunter chase. Thank you, kind sir.
Rich Coast goes into a small-money each-way Lucky 15 with Dicosimo, Thomas Brown and Forthefunofit, the last-named three sourced from various nooks and crannies of the papers and Twitter, and because I have no strong opinion on any of the other races I get No More Heroes and The Game Changer into a couple of just-for-an-interest wagers.
Ordinarily I’d be on my fellow Enda’s contestant On The Fringe in the hunter chase. He and Nina Carberry deserve a break after Quantativeeasing’s – and my – ill luck on Wednesday. Yet my correspondent seems so sure...
No joy in the opening two races. I’m not that bothered. Wicklow Brave’s victory in the County Hurdle is a patent pointer to his stablemate Black Hercules in the Albert Bartlett. But a horde of punters have jumped to the same conclusion, forcing Black Hercules in to 5/2. Will I take the plunge? No. The price is too skinny for me, especially over a three-mile trip that will take all the getting in these conditions.
The race is won by a Mullins runner alright. But it isn’t the WP Mullins favourite. It isn’t even one of the WP Mullins outsiders. It’s Martello Tower, trained by Mags Mullins.
Black Hercules is mentioned only once or twice during the commentary and doesn’t get the trip. I have consciously avoided the Gadarene rush and kept my money in my pocket, for another half an hour anyway.
I congratulate myself on my percipience. Onto the Gold Cup. No complaints here. Bar a sketchy jump at the water Djakadam does everything right, only to find in Coneygree one horse too good for him. A pity from my point of view, though I do collect on the place.
You can probably guess what happens in the hunter chase. Yep: On The Fringe skates home, leaving Paint The Clouds toiling back in third place. I text a friend who once accompanied me to the Bolger stable to inform him I hadn’t backed the winner. “Jaysus, I was sure you would have,” he responds. “Was even going to text you to enquire.” Oh woe.
With my Lucky 15 nags likely to pass the winning post sometime tomorrow, that’s it for the meeting. It was good, mainly because of the each-way savers, but it could have been better.
Annie Power’s tumble, Quantitativeeasing’s freakish misfortune: I have not been lucky.
As flagged here on Wednesday, the planned celebratory venture to the off-licence – actually it’s a wine shop — after the last race on Friday does indeed transpire, albeit without flags flying and trumpets blaring.
“Something sparkling, please,” I tell the nice lady behind the counter.
“Oooh,” the nice lady says, “do you want cava or prosecco? Or champagne champagne?”
It is all I can do not to burst into tears on the spot. “It would have been champagne champagne if Annie Power had stayed up on Tuesday,” I reply. “But now it won’t be.”
* Finishing total: €98.01