Greetings from Dublin. But not for long as I get ready to board my plane to the UK. I’m Sarah and I’ll be escorting you through the most exciting week in the racing calendar for the Over The Line blog.
Yes, the Cheltenham Festival 2012 is here and Paddy Power’s girl on the ground (that’s me) is on a mission. From dawn till dusk I’ll be working, ok, and a little partying, just for you. Not only will I be catching up with our favourite owners, trainers and jockeys but I’ll also infiltrate the who’s who of the sporting, entertainment and business world. Bring on the gossip!
An unbelievable 250,000 spectators are expected to descend on Prestbury Park over the four-day meet. Eating and drinking go hand in hand, of course. It’s thought more than 20,000 bottles of Champagne will be quaffed, almost 220,000 pints of the black stuff poured, with 10,000 gallons of tea and coffee consumed. Quite possibly a bit of misbehaving too. And that’s just the Irish.
Here’s a head-start as I caught up with one of the UK’s top trainers, David Pipe, for an interview, straight from Pond House. In my book, David has to be one of the friendliest (and tallest @ 6ft5”) guys on the circuit.
David’s Dad, Martin Pipe, is one of the most successful trainers in the national hunt game. Known for ‘placing’ horses well in handicaps, we wanted to know if he had a strong opinion on any particular runner. “My dad is strong on Salut Flo,” David offered. “We both are!
“He’s favourite for the Byrne Group Plate on Thursday and hasn’t had much racing in England. He was going very well in December at Cheltenham while making a bad mistake that put him out of the race we decided with the owner to put him away for March. After that he’s had a good prep and hopefully all goes well his jumping would be his only issue. His jump is a little bit French style.” Nothing wrong with a bit of French style, David, I say. “Well, are you talking about fashion?” he asks.
David was always going to be involved with horses. It is in his blood. But, what if he hadn’t had followed in his father’s footsteps – where does he think life would have taken him.
A golfer? A stripper? An electrician? Or a fireman.
Listen to our audio of the interview to find out… (as well as the full interview about Buena Vista and his Cheltenham betting tips)