A mixed day in the betting trenches

It’s Thursday. The worst and weakest card of the festival. Eww. But that’s not all.

A mixed day in the betting trenches

It’s also St Patrick’s Day, which is likely to make for horrific scenes on Channel 4 throughout the afternoon. Award yourself a drink for every gobdaw in a leprechaun outfit you see. Double eww. If you’re not the first faller of the day I’ll be astonished.

As with yesterday I don’t blow all my powder before lunchtime. The quality and variety of the fields do not warrant it. I essay a tenner double on the two Mullins hotpots, Vautour and Limini, and an each-way Lucky 15 consisting of Doctor Harper, Our Kaempfer, Josses Hill and Aux Ptits Soins. That will do for the moment.

I decide against Black Hercules in the opener on the grounds that Willie was originally thinking in terms of the four-miler for him. Not a good idea – on my part, that is, not Willie’s. Black Hercules wins comfortably, the 4/1 co-favourite. This is why Willie is Willie and I am me.

I’ve opted against including Taglietelle, who’s been placed for me at previous festivals, in my acca on the basis that he’s top weight in the Pertemps. While the weight duly stops him winning it, it doesn’t stop him finishing fourth. Our Kaempfer, my boy, finishes fifth. Will I be rewarded for finishing fifth? It is a question Louis Van Gaal must wrestle with every night before he goes to sleep.

I do some flicking of channels. Na Piarsaigh are doing a job on Cushendall at Croke Park. St Pat’s of Maghera have scored four goals in the first half of the MacRory Cup final. Back on Channel 4 the leprechauns are mercifully thin on the ground, but less than mercifully there’s a feature on Victoria Pendleton and tomorrow’s foxhunters race. Zzzz. Sorry, this isn’t horse racing - it’s vaudeville.

To the Ryanair and Vautour, the most impressive winner at last year’s festival. The word isn’t good. He’s “only at 90 per cent”, it seems. He’s “been working badly”, it is reported. Instead of being odds on he drifts to 11/10 before going off at evens. I fret for my double with Limini.

I needn’t have. Rounding the home turn Vautour simply runs away from Road To Riches – there is no other way of putting it – and storms home. “A gazelle in the form of a horse,” Simon Holt swoons. So much for the rumours.

The most impressive winner at last year’s festival is the most impressive winner at this year’s festival, or close enough. And this is him at 90 per cent? If Vautour is ever at 100 per cent he’ll probably beat Barcelona.

The Stayers Hurdle I skip. Thistlecrack justifies the hype in style. The 4.10 I couldn’t care less about and afford an even wider berth.

Now that the Vautour half of my double is up I decide to take a walk on the wild side and give myself another interest in the mares race. In honour of the Marys in my life - one of whom has been importuning me all week to take her to dinner on the back of my prospective vast Cheltenham loot, who noted with a sniff that the running total was lower after Wednesday than it was after Tuesday and who will not be massively impressed with me this morning on cutting to the bottom line - I have a couple of quid each way on Bloody Mary at 12/1 (she goes off at 7/1).

Going to the final flight I have two quadrupeds running for me. No doubt mindful of last year’s Annie Power debacle, Ruby – it’s a long time since he required a surname – makes sure to get over it on Limini. My double is in. Just for good measure Bloody Mary stays on to finish third. Excellent.

At this stage, having got myself out for the day, discretion really should be the better part of valour. But I can’t resist playing up my winnings. I scan the field for the Fulke Walwyn/Kim Muir online. Down near the bottom I note that Grandads Horse has been backed in from 33s to 20s. Last of the big spenders as always, in I blithely sail with a fiver each way.

Grandads Horse finishes 14th. Why did I bother? “Oh Enda, why don’t you have some sense?” I can hear the Marys – all four of them – say. “Do something to restore my confidence.” Too late for today, ladies.

Re Our Kaempfer, incidentally, it turns out that Bet365 did pay five places on the Pertemps. I get the princely total of €1.65 back on my Lucky 15. Ewwwwwwwwwwww.

Running total after Day Three: €74.84

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