Here’s the thing. At 1.30 a rabble of novices will kick off the Festival. Amongst them the short fav Dunguib. I can’t back him because he’s evens now and he needs “racing room”. So I could sit out the race. It seems sensible, but here’s the thing – I can’t. There’s a little voice nagging me. Now this is not the voice I generally listen to in punting matters as it knows bugger all about it, but this voice has been joined by a few others and I can’t ignore it.
The story starts at Cheltenham in January when I picked what appeared to be a pig called Fiulin in a good novices hurdle won by Restless Harry (more of him another day). Fiulin travelled ok and then spat the dummy somewhere at the top of the hill, coming home in his own time. Let’s say he needed the run. Chalked down to experience. Then just recently *searches have been throwing up the blog, these searches are “Fiulin” or “Evan Williams Fiulin”. Strange I thought. Who’s googling that bad lad. I’ve checked his price and it’s 200/1. No sign of a sustained or indeed much of any gamble yet, although his price halved for a short while yesterday somewhere – you see I’ve been watching. Anyway, one crap run in a small field at HQ when you have been yamming cream cakes all winter does not a Supreme Novice make so 200/1 seems a fair price.
Then Paddy Power offered this bet. Back a horse in the Supreme market and if Dunguib wins you get your stake back. Perfect. Now I just need Fiulin or Dunguib to win and I’ve lost nowt. Paddy will only get that bit of “shrewd” business though. Ladcrooks have already accepted my life-changing acca. I had to count the zeros a couple of times…
Back in the room, I am still not liking the Champion Hurdle. After a night to toss and turn on it I wake to find I am thinking:
You fool, it’s obvious Go Native will win the Champion Hurdle. Noel Meade, acknowledging his lacklustre record at the Festival, assures us GN has more speed than the Harchibald.
What an idiot you are, anyone can see the first-time blinkers for Celestial Halo will transform him, no matter what other heresy his owner has been preaching.
Don’t be such a dunce, Nicky says Binocular will win a Champion Hurdle, he just doesn’t know when.
Medermit’s a grey too and doesn’t Starluck look a bit grey too if you squint – you can’t just back one grey – you gotta back them all.
And so on through the field. Listen I’m with Nicky. Fiulin is going to win me a lot of money one day – I just don’t know when…
*In case you are wondering about the accuracy of google search terms I can tell you categorically that the Chow Chow is the world’s most popular dog (not in terms of ownership but in terms of search interest) and that Shaun the Sheep is in fact the world’s most popular celebrity.
This post was brought to you by Where’s the Madness in That? Productions
…that is what I blame my abject punting display yesterday on.
Once again the world turned and I was slightly behind it. Leaving late on account of the 8 a.m. inspection, missing the first and not being able to get a copy of the Post until I was on course all meant I had no chance for some proper study. This is what you need when entering the bear-pit and I had a) forgotten b) little opportunity – which was my own fault.
Time was on a Saturday, when the girls were little and had naps in the day, that I would take the dog out early doors and buy the Post. I also used to buy the ill-fated Sporting something or another in its brief life. Then I would read the form and read the trainers’ comments which, as a novice, I set great store by. Then I would take the dog out again via the bookies and place my bets.
The kids never sleep during the day now, not even when they are ill. On weekends they like to do stuff. Come on dog walks, hang out, watch films. I knocked the sticking my head in a paper habit on a Saturday a long time ago because it was selfish and didn’t read well. Consequently, I have come to terms with Saturday, the biggest punting day of the week, being my missed opportunity so to speak. I’m ok with that in the comfort of my own home. Doing a nearly 8 hour round trip with your dear mother counting her wonga in the dusk is a little harder to take! I don’t begrudge anyone a winner though.
I was able to read the Racing Post last night at bedtime. Therein were some of the nuggets I could have done with on course. In one small field hurdle race I had a nice theory about the well-bred Fiulin, trained by Evan Williams (in form) and was somewhat seduced by some fancy entries (Champion/World Hurdle). This fella downed tools before the home turn on the hill and came home last. As he dragged his sorry, and as it became evident fat, arse past the stands to explain himself to his connections I popped him in the mental notebook “will come on for the run”. If I had acquainted myself with the trainer’s view I would have know this:
“Time has conspired against us. It’s now the end of January and we haven’t been able to run him, so instead of going for a Mickey Mouse race and learning nothing, we are going for a good race to hopefully find out where we are with him. He has done a lot of schooling (makemeadiva notes: the beast jumped nicely it must be said), but he is a big horse and will come on a bundle for whatever he does here.”
So basically, I paid money to find out what I had already paid money to find out when I bought the paper. This, incidentally, is what trainer, Robin Dickin, said of the race winner Restless Harry who laid it down from the front and earned the only applause of the day from me.
“I have been riding horses for 40 years but the feel he gave me when I rode him on Tuesday was the best I’ve had. It was an extraordinary piece of work so I have to be expecting a good run. He is in better order than before (his last race) and was hardly trained or fed – this time he’s highly trained and well fed, so I hope I haven’t messed him up!”
Of course, not all trainers’ comments are equal. Paul Nicholls did not fancy Taranis, who delivered at 20/1 (well done to one Ms AMB 🙂 )after 766 days off the track since breaking down in the 2007 King George, saying:
“…it’s been a hard road back and I have yet to see the old ability’s still there.”
Yep the ability’s still there Paul and Fiulin is porky sort who thinks he doesn’t fancy actually running fast after about 1m6f.
It was all there, shame I didn’t read it first.
On the upside, I saw a Red Kite and Buzzard on the way out (these are impressive birds of prey and deserve to be proper nouns). I met some old and new friends on course and saw a fantastic yellow moon on the way home.
Oh, and mother bought the chips.