Drinking with James Nesbitt until the early hours is not conducive to clear thought, however after three torrid days of arm-wrestling with the delightful Paddy Power and his ugly henchman, some form of escapism is permitted.
Our new friend James (or Jimmy as he insisted on being addressed) was incapable of speech, pouring out incomprehensible dribble, on a mission of destruction after the lack-lustre defeat of his horse, Riverside Theatre, yesterday.
The bi-product of such adventures is a thoroughly clouded brow. I’m sure Jimmy to pass a sure-fire winning tip on, however trying to translate language that would be common-place in a conversation between Gazza and Raul Moat was nigh on impossible. As such, you, our honest reader must rely on the trust-worthy if not slightly ‘unlucky’ clouded brow we have already referred to.
Yesterday was further carnage. With no favourites winning, and in reality no short-priced favourites in sight, it was a day to the hang the Racing Post on the wall and through darts at it whilst blind-folded. Rain Man would have woken up with a lovely poached egg on his nose. However, like Jimmy, keep going. If all else fails, alcohol will welcome you into her arms.
Race One is the Triumph. Hidden Justice could run nicely at an each way price (12/1). Far West will probably win (5/1).
Race two is the Vincent O’Brien. It’s very difficult to find a winner, but Tennis Cap could continue Willie Mullins’ sparkling form (11/1), or else Cotton Mill should be in the mix up (7/1).
At 2.40 is the Albert Bartlett. Try African Gold or At Fishers Cross. The formers’ (6/1) form has been franked by the victory of Close Touch at Sandown last week (who is by Generous and owned by her Majesty the Queen), whilst the latter beat The New One very well at Cheltenham. Many think he needs more cut in the ground, but I. Reality he hasn’t had a chance to prove himself on today’s going (and it was raining whilst I was enjoying a jaegerbomb with Jimmy, so there could be a bit of juice in the turf).
At 3.20 is the big one, the Cheltenham Gold Cup. It’s horribly competitive and you’ll hear tips left right and centre for numerous runners. Silviniaco Conti, who looks as tough as they come, although not having won round Cheltenham before, should win and is worthy of your money at 5/1.
At 4.00 is the Foxhunters, a race for bloodthirsty horses who have spent the past year honestly ridding our lands of vermin. Everyone seems to be talking about the favourite Salsify, last years winner. I don’t have the clarity of mind to argue with them . Back him.
At 4.40 Our Vinnie is a sure thing. It’s time to go big or go home. Lump on, especially with Paddy Power who will be offering the best odds on the event. They are certainly the nicest of all the bookmakers.
At 5.15 we have the 7th race of the day and the final of the festival. Shooters Wood could run nicely (16/1) and Gus Macrae could surprise many, like an unsuspecting Red Bull fuelled burp that you really didn’t want to meet.
It’s been an emotional week. As Jimmy put beautifully to in the early hours, “Cheeeauaalteeenhaaarrm isss liike waaater skeen withaat eny skiis. Yuv goort too jurst seeee woort haaapeens”.
And on that bombshell, I may ask my dear new acquaintance to be the god-father to my newly born daughter. We’ve learnt two lessons this week; one, never slag of Willie Mullins. He will always laugh loudest and longest. Two, if all else fails, Jimmy will see you at the bar with a jaeger. Thank you Paddy, for honestly taking my money without any scruples.