Thursday, 12 December 2013

Miracle At Cartmel

Last week’s blog sparked quite a bit of controversy, judging by my bursting mail-bag of three letters. Father Patrick O’Shea and Father Michael McNamara, both drawn to the article by its religious theme, wrote to express their dismay at my mentioning Sprinter Sacre in the same paragraph as Arkle. I’m sorry reverends, it won’t happen again. 

The third letter wasn’t actually a comment; it was an offer from a reader who is trying to sell a box-set of “The Best Xmas Films Ever”. The problem is, the collection was missing my favourite Christmas film of all time and possibly my second favourite film from any category – the 1947 version of Miracle On 34th Street, not to be confused with the 1994 version featuring Richard Attenborough (which is watchable but not magical).  

Miracle On 34th Street won three Oscars including one for the best original story and one for the best screenplay. The gem among a myriad of great lines comes when Kris Kringle (played by Edmund Gwenn, who won the third Oscar as Best Supporting Actor) is trying to explain to a small girl, who doesn’t believe in Father Christmas, why she should loosen up a little and let her imagination run free. He says “The Imagination is a place all by itself. A separate country. You’ve heard of the French nation, the British nation. Well, this is the Imagi-nation. It’s a wonderful place!” 

All of which gives me heart when I fantasise about the 2014 running of the Cheltenham Gold Cup – which, now that he has proven he stays three miles, can be won by the appropriately named Wishfull Thinking. Or perhaps he could dead-heat with Knockara Beau – I’d love it if they could both win. And while we’re in the mode of wish fulfilment, could we all take a moment to pray for some fine weather next Summer? It’s so much nicer when the sun shines. 

In particular, we need some good days around the end of May, the end of July and the end of August – when we shall be racing at Cartmel. If you haven’t written your letter yet to Father Christmas, don’t forget that Santa needs to place his order with us by Monday 16th December, if your Annual Members badge is to arrive in time to reach your stocking. 

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves - before then there is racing at Cheltenham this weekend. Colour Squadron is sure to be a popular choice in the big handicap chase, but I am going to go with Malcolm Jefferson’s Attaglance instead. He has a bit of ground to make up, based on their recent meeting in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, but as Kris Kringle says in the film: “Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to”.

... As if you needed any further reasons to continue following my advice.

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