I can’t let the Festival week end without noting the general workaday heroism of our jockeys, both jumps and flat. They often come in for a lot of stick (excuse the pun) and if you don’t ride you can have no idea of the physical demands made on their bodies every day, and that’s not including kicks and falls and wasting to make weight.
For my money, these guys are the toughest athletes we have. Early starts, long journeys, seven day weeks on little food – no wonder Andrew Tinkler tweeted this morning that if he’d been lucky enough to win the one million that one of Nicky Henderson’s stable staff did this week on a yard five-timer, Tinkler would be straight off to Heathrow – not riding work the next morning as indeed the lottery winner was (full story here).
Anyway, props to Ruby Walsh and Tony McCoy for yesterday; not just for having the wisdom to preserve the beloved Kauto Star after nine fences jumped, nor indeed the looks like you won’t even be placed ride on Synchronised to lift the Gold Cup. No, massive, massive respect for this brief exchange, redolent with meaning, between the two friends and competitors during the running of the Gold Cup, reported in the Racing Post.
Ruby said: “I was thinking about pulling up when
AP [McCoy] said ‘if I were you I’d be pulling up’.
The rest is history.
On another cockles-of-my-heart note, Paul Nicholls is parading Kauto Star, Big Buck’s and Rock on Ruby through Ditcheat this lunchtime, in that order. Kauto Star in front, where he belongs.
Big Buck’s: the once distressing errant apostrophe has now become part of racing legend.
Today I think of him, Inglis Drever, Baracouda and Iris’s Gift, who shared a possessive apostrophe with today’s defending champion.
That is all.
I spoke to Wray Barton about Cheltenham today after she enquired how it was going. Well it’s not really I had to reply. My heart’s not in it – one reason for that being that it (my heart) is going to be in my mouth until after the Gold Cup.
That state of being in the world has not been helped by the fatalities so far, five as far as I am aware. Two yesterday in the Cross Country, another in a separate race and two today in the Coral Cup. It’s an unusually high number, and it sours the whole thing. That’s racing, people usually say. That’s life as well. Knowing it doesn’t ease the blow though.