Daffodils mean it’s Cheltenham
OUR daffodils always flower the weekend before the Cheltenham Festival. This year they arrived two weeks early, either because of Global Warming, or they forced themselves due to the manic build-up to Cheltenham that now starts the previous April, culminating in preview evenings beginning just after the King George!
However even our elder daffs will raise their heads and be bolt upright at 13.31 when that cheer, greeting the start of The Supreme Novice Hurdle, reverberates around what will be tomorrow, “England’s green and pleasant land.”
Life-long festival goers will follow their traditional cunning short-cuts and back roads, while more recent disciples will type in ‘GL50 4SH’ and brace themselves for the queues, sustained by handy picnics! The wisest and more resourceful will arrive by breakfast time or by helicopter! The Festival has finally arrived.
Everybody involved with every runner has done absolutely everything they can to fine-tune and prepare every horse. It makes no difference if you are Henderson, Mullins or the trainer of one that is still hoping to get into the bottom of a handicap, it means ‘the world’ to have a horse truly worthy of being there.
Disappointingly we have to pass this year and wait for Aintree. Our horses are very promising but also young and we must wait, be patient and hopefully produce them for next year. It is frustrating not be competing and I promise you, that is what drives us on and makes us go to any lengths to find the right animals in this frantically competitive business.
My pilgrimage tomorrow is not to Cheltenham but to Sedbergh to cheer on Sophie Webber in her Cross Country Championship across The Fells. I think she’ll feel like a horse that has completed four National Hunt Chases by the end of the day! Then I’ll drive a few miles back down to Wolverhampton for the 7.40, where New Agenda makes his debut for us in a moderate-looking maiden. This looks a very promising ex-Juddmonte horse, so who knows where he might be running this time next year?
Wednesday will be Bangor, where we hope The Venerable Bede will continue along his promising path and Burma might be able to emulate what she has achieved for us in France. At the same time we will be cheering on Cantlow in The Cross Country race at Cheltenham and possibly taking a bit of the 20/1, as after his Leopardstown antics, we recommended that he was rehabilitated by the genius that is Enda Bolger.
Hopefully I’ll get to Cheltenham on Thursday and Friday to admire the best our business can offer and to fine-tune our plans for winners there in 2017.
Enjoy it because it does not get any better.