Today I can just about bring myself to have one or two bets totalling €20 on before racing begins. There are various reasons for this.
First off there’s the Mullins factor.
Willie dropped most of his Fat Men and Little Boys yesterday, levelling cities with all but one of them. What has he left in the bomb bay?
Secondly, the first two races on the card have short-priced favourites and small fields.
In the opener Yanworth and Yorkhill dominate the market, with none of the others making much appeal.
In the RSA a similar comment applies to More of That and No More Heroes.
What is the punter who is betting small money and looking for value to do?
From what source am I to get a couple of decent each-way candidates in the Coral Cup and the Fred Winter? All these First World problems.
I make do with a tenner double, Yorkhill and Un De Sceaux.
Josies Orders and Nina Carberry look the obvious punt in the cross-country, but again the price is too short so I stick a fiver each way on their stablemate Quantitativeeasing, not least because the last time I backed him in this race he was carried out by some other wretched nag when going nicely.
I feel I’m due a measure of karma.
Desperate times calling for desperate measures, I am reduced to going on Facebook to solicit opinions for the bumper.
A keen Examiner reader and shrewd sports fan from the greater Clonmel area responds to the effect that while he knows nothing about racing he heard a lad announce on radio that Jessica Harrington’s horse has a good each-way chance.
I look up the bumper field. Hmm, New To This Town. Two runs, two wins. About 8/1.
Then again, Willie has put Patrick – his son and, presumably, heir - up on Avenir d’une Vie, which surely counts for something.
It was this logic that led me to clean up on Cousin Vinny in the bumper a few years back. In the end I opt for WP and Patrick.
For the second race, meanwhile, I indulge myself a little. Last year I backed Shaneshill when he was second to Douvan – no crime, that – in the Supreme Novice.
Today he’s 18/1 for the RSA after a poor run last time out in England.
But loyalty demands adhesion to old friends – God knows, my old friends still put up with me - and I have a couple of quid each way on him.
Yorkhill gets my double off to awhen comprehensively seeing off Yanworth in the Neptune, and after being last for two thirds of the RSA – Simon Holt mentions in commentary that he was second at the last two festivals – Shaneshill is produced by Paul Townend around the home turn.
Good old Shaneshill! Surely, at long last, this is his year to be in front at the winning post...
It isn’t. Despite my roars of encouragement Blaklion has a little too much for him up the hill.
Ugh. I can hardly believe it.
Poor old Shaneshill! If ever a horse deserved his day in the sun. (Note to self: don’t put everything on the nose on him at Cheltenham 2017.)
The sight of a flood of late money for Rock The Kasbah in the Coral Cup prompts me to chance a few bob each way on him.
For placing a bet just for the sake of it I get what I deserve; Rock The Kasbah makes a mistake four out and is soon reduced to a walk.
Children, don’t try this at home.
The afternoon continues downhill from there.
Un De Sceaux is well beaten by a rejuvenated Sprinter Sacre, sinking my double.
Quantitativeeasing – really, this shouldn’t be allowed as a name; it has too many syllables, not to mention every one of the permitted 18 characters – finishes fourth, except the bookies are only paying three places.
And Willie manages second, third and fourth in the bumper, but none of them with Avenir d’une Vie.
An imperfect Cousin Vinny, as Feargal Sharkey doubtless wouldn’t have said.
I stagger home cursing the finish of the RSA.
Shaneshill would have got me out for the day. He didn’t.
Thus it goes. First World problems.