Well, it’s hard to believe the final day of the Cheltenham Festival is finally here. And it’s even harder to believe there letting me do my Live Blog again!
It’s Gold Cup day and although I struggle to find winners on the last day of Cheltenham like Clare Balding struggles to prove she’s actually quite ‘street’, that won’t stop me trying.
I’ll be here all day to keep you up to date on all the news, views and snide remarks you need for the day. Feel free to contribute via the comments section or if you’re too fancy for that, give me a shout on Twitter where I’m @MinistryOfGlove.
‘HELL OF A HORSE’ COUNT: 0
‘RANDOM CELEBRITY WITH A TENUOUS LINK TO RACING’ COUNT: 0
5.30pm: That’s it. Another Festival has come and gone and a strong closing day for punters means it’s just about even in the non-stop battle against the bookies.
It was an incredible week for a few people, most of them Irish. We may have no money, but we ended up with a record 14 winners at the Festival, far behind of the expectations of even the most optimistic of Hiberno-supremacists. I can’t image Hiberno-supremacists would be a particularly optimistic bunch anyway. Willie Mullins takes Top Trainer honours, Ruby Walsh is the Top Jockey and Bryan Cooper has announced himself on jumps racing’s biggest stage.
Our thoughts are still with JT McNamara.
That’s all from me. Thanks for reading if you read and thanks for shamelessly promoting the blog around the internet if you did that.
5.20pm: It’s another win for AP McCoy as Alderwood wins at the Festival for the second time in a row. The punters piled into him all day and the Festival ends with a bit of kicking for the Paddy Power finances. Boo and indeed hoo. Kid Cassidy makes it a 1-2 for JP McManus. Oiseau Du Nuit and Drumshambo make up the places.
Grand Annual Chase Result
1st Alderwood 3/1F
2nd Kid Cassidy
3rd Oiseau De Nuit
5.15pm: It’s the beginning of the end. They’re off in the Grand Annual Chase …
5.13pm: Quote of the Festival (or at least the Grand Annual Chase) from fellow Paddy Power blogger, Rob:
I’m not mad about this musical chairs type of start
5pm: We’re 15 minutes away from the last race of the Festival and although I’m sobbing uncontrollably at the prospect of it all coming to an end, I’ll get it together for a quick look at the Grand Annual Chase. Alderwood has been well backed to win another Festival race, Kid Cassidy is on the drift and Ulck Du Lin has come in for plenty of support. For what it’s worth, I’m backing Anquetta – a decision that stems largely from my laziness to scroll down the page after I sorted my racecard alphabetically.
4.56pm: Lydia asks the winning jockey, Harry Derham if there were any hairy moments during the race. As he looks about 11 years old, I don’t think he’s ever had a hairy moment ever.
Yes, that was a pre-puberty joke.
4.54pm: If you didn’t get a chance to see the Oscar Delta drama, here it is in all it’s animated GIF glory.
4.46pm: Paul Nicholls is on the board at the penultimate time of asking. Salibrious stays on up the hill to claim a typically messy Martin Pipe Hurdle. Nagpur, Double Ross and Mark Your Mark complete the places.
And on account of a very disappointing run, favourite, Gevrey Chambertain is getting one of these:
Martin Pipe Hurdle Result
1st Salubrious 16/1
3rd Double Ross
4th Make Your Mark
4.40pm: They’re away in the Martin Pipe Hurdle – best of luck … you’re going to need it
4.35pm: Five minutes to go until the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle. Gevrey Chamberlain will go off as the heavily backed favourite – which may not be a good thing in this race.
4.20pm: that’s Channel 4’s Cheltenham coverage over and if that wasn’t deflating enough, Noel Edmonds is going to be on in a minute. I recommend switching over the Racing UK or else keep following this blog where I’ll keep saying mean things about the bearded cosmic ordering tit.
4.17pm: Fourth in the Foxhunters is Doctor Kingsley and by some way of compensation, we’re refunding all bets on Oscar Delta.
4.10pm: WOW! Absolutely amazing scenes in the Foxhunters as Salisfy benefits from a moment of madness from Oscar Delta. With the race at his mercy, Oscar Delta jinked and unseated Jane Mangan about 100 yards from the winning post. Absolutely heart-breaking scenes as the distraught jockey walks away. In the middle of all drama, Divine Intavention finished second, Cottage Oak finished third and I’ll tell you who finished Super Extra Bonus ‘We’re Sorry’ Apology Place fourth as soon as I find out.
It’s money back on Divine Intavention
The Foxhunter’s Chase Result
1st Salsify 2/1F
2nd Divine Intavention
3rd Cottage Oak
Super Extra Bonus ‘We’re Sorry’ Apology Place 4th Doctor Kingsley
4.02pm: Away they go in the Foxhunters’ Chase …
3.52pm: Willie Mullins and his wonderful hat are being asked for the opinion on Sir Des Champs’ run. He doesn’t seem too upset from the narrow defeat and speaks with the confidence of a man who knows he’s got a good horse. And a snazzy hat.
It was a good run, probably the best run of his career, we won’t use the ground as an excuse. We’ll be back next year
3.50pm: Ten minutes to go until the Foxhunters Chase and Salisfy will go off as favourite, but there has been a lot of support for Chapoturgeon. Backstage has drifted out to 12/1.
3.37pm: Right, this celebrating is all well and good, but there’s Shameless Plugging to be done.
The Foxhunters Chase is in about 20 minutes and here’s a Money-Back Special and Extra Place Special to sink your e-teeth into:
3.35pm: The replays show just how much Silviniaco Conti’s falls hindered Bobs Worth. It was great work from Barry Geraghty to keep his mount out of trouble.
3.34pm: That’s Festival winner number 50 for Nicky Henderson and what a race to bring up the half century. Great stuff.
3.28pm: A thrilling Gold Cup ends with Bobs Worth digging it out for victory! He looked like Tescoburger meat with not long to go, but Barry Geraghty coaxed him back into contention and once he got to the front, there was no beating him. Great performance from both horse and jockey. Tony McCoy had to settle for second on his spare ride on board Sir Des Champs. Long Run ran well, but had to settle for third.
Cheltenham Gold Cup Result
1st Bobs Worth 11/4F
2nd Sir Des Champs
3rd Long Run
3.21pm: They’re away in the Gold Cup …
3.20pm: Graham Cunningham seems to be basing his betting strategy on the likelihood of the winner’s backstory transferring into an inspirational Disney movie.
3.19pm: Bob’s Worth out to 11/4 again and Long Run in to 7/2.
3.14pm: A nervous sounding Nicky Henderson says the softening ground is most likely to affect Bob’s Worth.
3.12pm: Bob’s Worth is now 5/2.
3.05pm: We’re 15 minutes away from a Gold Cup that’s more open than a paternity test on the Jeremy Kyle show. Based on the heavy rainfall, there’s been money for Long Run and he’s now 4/1 from 11/2. Bob’s Worth has looked more uneasy than David Lee Travis when a police car drives by his house at the top of the market, but with not long to go, he’s 11/4 and likely to go off as favourite. Silviniaco Conti is also 4/1. It’s shaping up to be an absolute cracker.
Paul Carberry misses the ride on board Monbeg Dude due to a fall in the last and Sam Twiston-Davies takes over.
2.57pm: If you’re a fan of jockey related financial trivia and snazzy graphics, then check out this little beauty.
2.55pm: That’s the first favourite to deliver since Sprinter Sacre’s canter on Wednesday afternoon. Could it be a turning point for punters?
2.51pm: There can be few more classy athletes in the world of sport than AP McCoy. From the saddle, in the middle of personal triumph, he takes the time to send his best wishes to JP McNamara and remember Campbell Gillies, who won this race last year, but died in a tragic accident.
2.48pm: McCoy is finally on the board and it’s a swift kick in the plums for the bookmakers. At Fishers Cross wins the Albert Bartlett like a really classy horse and lands a huge gamble for punters, which in fairness is long overdue after the run of results they’ve had. African Gold and Inish Island battled it out for second, with the former edging it.
Albert Bartlett Hurdle Result
1st At Fishers Cross 11/8F
2nd African Gold
3rd Inish Island
2.41pm: They’re away in the Albert Bartlett, but no-one wants to make the running …
2.30pm: We’re ten minutes away from the Albert Bartlett Hurdle. The money keeps coming for At Fishers Cross who is now 11/8. Inish Island has also been well backed.
2.23pm: If the sight of the jockeys coming in looking like they’ve just starred in a scat movie wasn’t enough of a clue, we’ve had a going change at Cheltenham. It’s now soft (good to soft in places).
2.19pm: Look who has turned up at Cheltenham!!
It’s the cast of Made In Chelsea!
No wait … it’s Will and Kate.
“One wonders who has Ted said ‘hell of a horse’ about?” he’s probably not asking.
“Oh well. At least he’ll probably say ‘shit’ live on air soon”
2.15pm: Ha ha! Tony Martin croaks his way through an interview. He says he’s understandably delighted (I think) and blames excessive celebrations last night for the scratchiness of his voice.
2.11pm: We’re seeing the full range of Bryan Cooper’s skills today! After his confidence on board Our Conor in the first, we saw more calculating tactics as he urged Ted Veale up the hill to claim the County Hurdle. Tennis Cap ran out of gas up the hill, Manyriverstocross got third, Shadow Catcher ran well for fourth and Tankero Emery was our super extra bonus place fifth. Cotton Mill was a very disappointing favourite which can mean only one thing – a run out for our burger material image:
County Hurdle Result
1st Ted Veale 10/1
2nd Tennis Cap
4th Shadow Catcher
Super Extra Bonus Place 5th Tanerko Emery
2.06pm: They’re off in the County Hurdle …
2pm: They’re going down to post. The horses, not Tanya’s eyebrows.
1.58pm: Tanya has some mighty eyebrows.
1.53pm: Just over ten minutes to go until the start of the County Hurdle and I’m delight because every time I type out ‘county’ I’m one typo away from an immediate P45. Cotton Mill is currently 8/1 favourite, but Ifandbutwhynot and Ted Veale aren’t far behind at 9/1.
1.47pm: Thankfully Richard Hughes is a man of more words than his dad. He’s surprised Bryan Cooper let him go for home so soon, but with so much horse under him, he understands the decision.
1.44pm: Dessie Hughes lives up to his ‘man of few words’ moniker. ‘Is he a Champion Hurdle horse?’ he’s asked.
I think so
1.37pm: We may have witnessed the emergence of a couple of superstars in the Triumph. Our Conor wins in impressive style and Bryan Cooper’s confident ride was impossible to ignore. Far West was closest to grasping at his coat-tails and Sametegal was third.
Triumph Hurdle Result
1st Our Conor 4/1
2nd Far West
1.32pm: They’re off for day four as the Triumph Hurdle begins …
1.19pm: It’s now raining heavily at Cheltenham, but it’s ok because there’s shelter for 70,000 under Alice Plunkett’s hat.
1.06pm: Tanya is down in the betting ring where it’s even money her hat was stolen from a 1970s pimp from an US cop show.
1.01pm: It’s about time for a slow motion montage and right on cue we get one. In no way taking herself too seriously, Clare Balding earnestly tells us:
The power of television is it can show you the power, the agility and sheer beauty of the horse
And it can also show you the beauty of Nick Luck’s tie.
12.55pm: There’s more money for Bridget’s Pet in the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle. He’s now a 14/1 chance after being 22/1 earlier.
12.38pm: Wow – the start to the Channel 4 coverage is especially wanky today.
12.35pm: My bad – that was an ad.
12.34pm: Right, Racing UK are busy over-analyzing something so it’s about time to switch across to Channel 4 for the afternoon’s coverage which is being hosted by Audrey Hepburn who is eating a Galaxy.
12.08pm: Long Run’s jockey, Sam Waley-Cohen is convinced the cheek pieces on his mount will make a difference to his chances of winning the Gold Cup. Mind you, his brother told us he was also planning to put his new born child in the Gold Cup trophy, so maybe don’t put too much faith in his judgment.
12.06pm: It has now stopped raining and in other good news, if you’ve forgotten to do your Cheltenham homework for today, don’t worry because we asked Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty, John Parrott and Graham Chapman do it for you.
11.52am: WEATHER UPDATE
The umbrellas are going up at Cheltenham and the hairdos are on high frizz alert. The rain has started to fall slightly earlier than had been expected.
11.39am: ALBERT BARTLETT HURDLE PREVIEW
At Fishers Cross is getting plowed into for the Albert Bartlett Hurdle and he ticks the boxes of what a like in a Festival runner. Not that it needed it, but The New One’s victory in the Neptune in Wednesday has given his case a big boost and even without that, he was already the one to catch.
He’s a star in the making, but it’s an open race and his odds are on the Kate Moss side of skinny. Ballycasey was a real threat, but his withdrawal and much is being made of the fact Ruby Walsh picked him as his preference from the Mullins selection box of runners. That’s not too encouraging for Inish Island, but Ruby will now ride him and he’s got a chance. He lost to At Fishers Cross when getting 3 lbs from him back in December, but he was a little unlucky that day and Willie will ensure he’ll be a better horse three months later. I think he has a little more to give and I’m backing him to cause an upset.
11.31am: Our PR man, Feilim Mc An Unpronounceable has been living it up in Cheltenham for the week and in between trying look like a low budget Mark Wright and boozing it up, he managed to send us this e-diary entry from the front line.
11.24am: You might think David Bridgwater was pretty chuffed with The Giant Bolster’s shock second place in last year’s Gold Cup, but he’s pretty confident of more improvement from his horse this time around. He reckons the Bolster has a good chance in this year’s Gold Cup because ‘he keeps getting better’. The threat of softening ground doesn’t bother him either:
They’ve been running on it all year. It won’t make any difference. No-one can start crying about that
11.17am: Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty, Cheltenham Tips, a monkey and Henry Kelly doing the Harlem Shake. It doesn’t get much better than this:
11.12am: It must be weird being brought up in a racing family. About his son, Patrick, Willie Mullins proudly tells us:
He really loves the riding
If that was in any other context other than racing, it would mean a first class ticket to the Jeremy Kyle Show.
11.09am: It’s all happening this morning, which is making it difficult for me to make bitchy comments about everyone. Paul Townend is the latest jockey stood down, according to Brian Flangan of the Irish Daily Star:
Paul Townend is reported to be the latest jockey to be stood down today with injury. No word on what injury is or replacements yet
— Brian Flanagan (@BHDFlanagan) March 15, 2013
11.05am: An important non-number in the Albert Bartlett Hurdle. The well-backed Ballycasey has been ruled out for the Mullins-Walsh team.
11.02am: Sarah Jessica Parker has just turned up at Cheltenham. And she’s wearing a daring off-white number.
Not wait, it’s Long Run and he’s arrived plenty early ahead of his failed attempt to regain the Gold Cup.
10.57am: Sam Waley-Cohen’s brother his on Racing UK. Sam had a baby earlier this week and the brother tells us if Long Run wins the Gold Cup:
We’re going to put the baby in the cup
In no way putting the cart before the horse at all.
A fine example of lacklustre parenting and tipping there.
10.43am: Outstanding! You’ve got to love it. There’s just something stylish about the French.
Jacques Ricou has made the trip across la manche for one ride at Cheltenham today. He’s on board Vasco Du Ronceray in the Triumph Hurdle. He did say some things about the horse, but I was in awe of this jacket. That’s not regulation British and Irish jockey attire!
The puffer jacket, the flamboyant collar, the hair blowing in the wind – he’s like the James Dean of racing.
10.28am: I think it’s about time for a look at where the money is going for today’s races.
Rolling Star has been tightend up ever so slightly for the Triumph Hurdle. He’s now 10/3 from 7/2.
The betting for the County Hurdle has been lively. We’ve seen money for Princeton Plains, Shadow Catcher and Kian’s Delight, but Cotton Mill, Ted Veale and most alarmingly, Tennis Cap (14/1 from 9/1) are among the drifters.
Sir Des Champs is in to 4/1 from 9/2 for the Gold Cup, possibly due to McCoy being confirmed as his jockey. Long Run is in to 5/1 and Silviniaco Conti has drifted slightly to 9/2.
Bridget’s Pet is the big mover in the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle. The money has been piling in and he’s now 16/1 from 22/1 and that could change further.
Something has happened in the Grand Annual Chase, but it’s only a small bit of news and it would involve me making the same joke about His Excellency that I did the other day when he ran in the Arkle, so I won’t bother.
Salisfy is being well-backed to defend his Foxhunters Chase title. He’s now 11/4 from 10/3. Backstage is now 11/1 from 9/1.
10.22am: AP McCoy is finally confirmed for the ride on Sir Des Champs in the Gold Cup
Willie Mullins confirms Tony McCoy will ride Sir Des Champs in today's Gold Cup at the #CheltFest
— Racing Post (@RacingPost) March 15, 2013
10.10am: COUNTY HURDLE PREVIEW (AND SHAMELESS PLUG)
The shortest price winner in the last six County Hurdles has been 10/1 so with that vague encouragement I’m going to look for a bit of value. I like Cotton Mill a lot and considering there was talk of him going in the Champion Hurdle, he’s clearly classy and good enough to win a race like this. Still though, I’m going to look beyond him.
My overly speculative 50 cent each way will be going on Punjabi. I know he’s looked as classy as a handjob at the back of a bus since winning the Champion Hurdle, but at least he was once good enough to win that and he doesn’t need to reach those heights to win the County Hurdle. He likes Cheltenham, he’s representing the powerful Geraghty/Henderson combination and I just can’t ignore him at a big price. I’m banking on a sudden, unexpected and highly unlikely return to something approaching his best form, but it might happen so he’s my each way value option.
9.58am: BOOKIE BEING SOUND ALERT
We’re refunding all ante post bets on Sunnyhillboy in the Gold Cup for the after he was withdrawn earlier this morning.
JUSTICE! We're refunding all ante post bets on Sunnyhillboy due to his late withdrawal in the Cheltenham Gold Cup! #CheltFest
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) March 15, 2013
If you’re young and cool, you may not know that ‘Ante-post’ is pretty much what we call ‘Future Racing’ these days and according to the rules of racing, they would be counted as losing bets, but not in this case as we’re doing the decent thing.
9.52am: Nicky Henderson constantly looks like he could break down and cry. But he does have magnificent hair. He’s talking about Bob’s Worth in a pre-recorded bit on Racing UK.
The hill helps him. He’s a stayer and it suits him. He’s a workman
9.45am: Simon Claisse is on Racing UK now and he’s now the Head of Racing.
So that means so far this morning he’s been called:
- Director of racing
- Clerk of the course
- Director of racing AND clerk of the course
- That guy with the glasses who talks about the weather a lot
- Chief executive of filling a spare few minutes of airtime
- Head of Racing
This must be costing Cheltenham a fortune in business cards.
9.41am: Still no confirmation that AP McCoy is partnering up with Sir Des Champs for the Gold Cup. It has the hallmarks of a foregone conclusion, but we haven’t counted all our chickens or eggs in the hatch first – or whatever that saying is.
Tony McCoy's agent Dave Roberts says he has no knowledge of the jockey being booked for Sir Des Champs. Jonjo O'Neill reports the same.
— Racing Post (@RacingPost) March 15, 2013
9.30am: TRIUMPH HURDLE PREVIEW
My record of picking winners in the Triumph Hurdle is about as good as Tom Cruise’s record of having a successful marriage, but like the pint-sized and definitely not gay lunatic, I’m always willing to give it another go.
Based on the fact I find it hard to imagine Paul Nicholls not having a single winner at the Festival, my selections are likely to be biased to the point of irrelevance with the view he’s going to win. Far West has a great chance of breaking his 2013 Festival duck and with course form in the book, I’m giving him the nod over Rolling Star and Our Connor who admittedly also look very much like potential winners. Maybe I’m backing the wrong horse. It wouldn’t be the first time.
9.14am: Before inflicting Frasier on us, the Channel 4 Morning Line team gave us their best bets for Gold Cup day and if the first half of this sentence hasn’t already sent you into a spiral of disinterest, then here they are:
Ted ‘Broadcasting Standards Authority’ Walsh
The Tedster is banking on Salsify in the Foxhunters Chase
Nick ‘Excellent Jumper’ Luck
Nick and his amazing apparel are going for Cape Tribulation in the
Mick ‘Filling airtime’ Fitzgerald
Bob’s Worth in the Gold Cup
Sam ‘I don’t have a witty nickname’ Thomas
Long Run in the Gold Cup
9.06am: If you like scenic views of Cheltenham, men wearing flatcaps and tweed and hot air balloons in the shape of Paddy Power Lucky Pants, this is the pic for you:
9.02am: It looks nailed on that AP will get the ride on Sir Des Champs now and the speculation is rife about what he’s getting in return.
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) March 15, 2013
Free Ryanair flights for life? I’m sure they offered him something good as well.
8.55am: Oh no! Daphne is getting fat on Frasier and he’s going to stick his beak in for reasons that aren’t entirely clear. This has comedic awkwardness written all over it.
I’ll keep you up to date if and when something funny happens. But don’t count on it.
8.53am: Sunnyhillboy is confirmed as a non-runner in the Gold Cup.
Oh – that frees AP McCoy up to ride Sir Des Champs – what a coincidence.
8.44am: Tanya’s silly hats have been commendably consistent all week long. Check out today’s one – like Tweety Bird dry-humping a leopard.
8.34am: It’s safe to say Ted’s not a huge Sir Des Champs fan. He tells us
I haven’t seen anything in his life that suggests he’s a Gold Cup winner
I didn’t even have to edit out any swear words.
8.28am: SIR DES CHAMPS SPECULATION ALERT
@PPaudioteam This is brilliant: Which one of Paul Townend or Bryan Cooper will be seeing this today? pic.twitter.com/egjQk8QxdF
— Paul Cunnane (@p_cunnane) March 15, 2013
8.26am: Where does Jeremy Kyle stand for Cheltenham? He says he stands in the corporate section of the main stand, but I’ve got a feeling he likes to stand at the gates of Cheltenham, berating the riff-raff who wear hoodies or pyjamas to got to the shop.
8.24am: I’m not saying it’s quiet around Cheltenham this morning, but The Morning Line team have now taken to interviewing each other. Mick Fitz is now interviewing Sam Thomas and in a second I’m guessing they’ll swap and Sam will ask Mick a few questions. That should be good to kill a few minutes.
8.17am: I’ve a bit of a dilemma. I was trying to find the most stomach churning image of TOWIE earlier and thought I did pretty well, but there’s been a stewards inquiry and this is the new winner:
8.12am: Simon Claisse is on Channel 4 where he’s back to being the plain and simple ‘clerk of the course’. He’s saying he’s expecting three or four millimetres of rain before the Gold Cup begins and that would be enough to have the going changed to soft. Interesting stuff regardless of what his job title is.
8.11am: Graham Cunningham must have hit the snooze button for a few minutes because Mick Fitzgerald has been shunted off the panel so he can go and do non-committal interviews from trainers on track.
8.04am: I don’t know why Channel 4 are wasting time advertising their racing coverage to The Morning Line. It goes without saying to that audience. It’s kind of like ITV2 advertising ‘we’ve got loads more shit TV’ to its The Only Way Is Essex viewers.
8am: Davy Russell is an absentee today which means there’s a plum ride going on Sir Des Champs in the Gold Cup. When asked about, Ted ‘Tightlips’ Walsh does his best omerta impression by basically saying ‘I don’t know nothin’, muthafunker’. But you get the feeling he does really know something.
There were rumours that AP McCoy might be in line to take the ride, but for that to happen, Sunnyhillboy would need to be a non-runner. That’s not beyond the realms of possibility according to racecourse tittle-tattle.
7.54am: And that melodramatic theme tune tells us it’s time for The Morning Line on Channel 4 where Nick Luck is wearing a very snazzy jumper. Mick Fitzgerald and Ted Walsh are also there, but their jumpers aren’t as snazzy.
7.50am: Simon Claisse is being called ‘Director of Racing’ by Sky Sports News now. He must have been promoted overnight. He looks relieved that the reporter hasn’t tried to make a pun on his name and then gives the going as Good to soft (good in places).
7.38am: If you don’t fancy spending £2.00 (2.70 in euroquids according to the rather liberal exchange rate they’re using) on the Racing Post today, but would still like to hear what Pricewise thinks about stuff, then you’re in luck because that’s exactly the type of thing I do to boost my word count.
Today he’s putting up:
Princeton Plains in the County Hurdle
Our Vinnie in the Albert Bartlett Hurdle
Galant Nuit in the Foxhunters Chase
Village Vic and Bridgets Pet in the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle
He previously told us to stick the penny jar on Lac Fontana in the
7.30am: As you may have heard, the connections of Hunt Ball are in a bit of trouble for having the Paddy Power logo stenciled on his hindquarters/horse-arse as part of a stunt to raise £10,000 for Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance. The horse’s brilliant owner, Anthony Knott defended the decision by saying:
Racing can be a bit up its own arse at times so we thought we’d add a dash of colour to the proceedings
7.19am: Break out the Lilt because it’s totally tropical at Cheltenham today. And by that I mean it’s less genitalia-shrivelingly cold that it has been on the other days.
It’s expected to hit seven degrees Celsius at Cheltenham later, but we could be in for some heavy rain as the afternoon continues. It looks pretty good over in the Mexican state of Jalisco where it’s sunny with a high chance of bush if Suzy Almeida makes any sudden movements in that scandalously short dress.
7.01am: There’s an alarm blaring around the offices. Paddy Power must have opened his wallet by mistake.
6.56am: I was seriously considering backing Sir Des Champs for the Gold Cup, but Alex Hammond of Sky Sports News has tipped it up so now I’m going to avoid it like I avoid the music of One Direction. I’m not even half joking. Her tips are like kryptonite to horses.