Saturday, March 15, 2008

Festival aftermath

Exactly one week ago I received an unsolicited copy of a glossy magazine called 'The Festival' in which Edward Gillespie, Managing Director of Cheltenham Racecourse, informed me 'The 2008 Festival has all the ingredients to be a year to remember.' I'll remember it primarily for the fact that, on the one day I was due to attend, the racing was abandoned. I suppose it's an ill wind - I came home with more money in my back pocket than ever before; perhaps the Wednesday's racing should be abandoned every year...

Without doubt the outstanding performance of the meeting was Master Minded's effortless nineteen length defeat of Voy Por Ustedes in the Champion Chase. Master Minded is the first five year old to win this race; with the benefit of hindsight, the 3/1 SP was huge - it will be a long time before we see bookmakers again offering those sort of odds about this particular indvidual.

While Denman powered to a famous victory in the Gold Cup, Kauto Star's jumping on occasions verged on the shoddy. In today's Times Harry Findlay, co-owner of Denman, is reported to have taken £600,000 from the bookies. One Findlay quote - "I see my life as a casino. Money is chips to play life with." It would be unwise to write off Kauto Star on this one performance; looking ahead, will Denman's connections be tempted by a tilt at next year's National?

Ruby Walsh (RW) deserves a mention for talking to camera immediately after Kauto's defeat. Ruby's line was that his mount was never really travelling and, on the day, the best horse won. Channel 4's Derek Thompson (DT) then asked, in his own inimitable fashion, whether he (Ruby) had any regrets having chosen Kauto rather than Denman...

RW - That's probably the most ridiculous question I've ever been asked.
DT - I know it is but I have to ask it.
RW - No, you didn't have to ask me. You can only ride one. I picked the wrong one. That's racing.

Well said Ruby.

Inglis Drever is special and goes into the record books as the first horse to win the World Hurdle three times. I've watched the video of this year's running again and again and on each occasion, three out, I think he can't win. Before the race connections said they'd consider retiring their stable star if won. Now, I wonder if they'll be tempted to return next year?

On the punting front Mrs Tips did rather well this year with a winner each day (but, I should point out, her selections were not proofed beforehand to the Racing Post). In marked contrast, I managed just two winners and a number of placed horses - details shown below. Disappointing, I know, but both Jim McGrath and John Francome came away from the meeting with only one winner each, so I'm in decent company...

Selections 15
Wins 2
Placed 5
Win strike rate 13.3%

E/W selections placed 2
Win selections placed 3

Stake 15
Return 11.01
Profit / Loss -4.99

Both of my readers will be interested to know I have no plans to give up the day job.

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