Running the races at Cartmel is a dream job. Quite literally. If dreams occupy about 25% of our sleep time, I must spend two hours every night thinking about the racecourse.
Last night I was sitting on the biggest fairground ride you’ve ever seen – it was 200 foot tall and whirled people around in a circle at 85mph. I should have had a great view of the horses, but was struggling to hold my binoculars up most of the time. When the race was over, I couldn’t tell which horse had won and we couldn’t present any trophies.
Fortunately, in real life, someone else is responsible for adjudicating the result – although the fairground ride is absolutely real. It arrived at Cartmel on Tuesday, towers two to three times above the height of the Grandstand and is reported to be the tallest, fastest travelling fairground ride in the world.
In the early days I used to dream that I’d arrive at the racecourse and discover that racing had already started. That was embarrassing enough, but then I realised I was still wearing my pyjamas – if I was lucky. An analyst would probably have told me that I had an underlying fear that the racecourse wouldn’t be ready in time. And they’d be right: the work-up to the races can become quite tense, although I find the good-natured professionalism of our staff, suppliers and contractors inspires a great deal of confidence.
Our Clerk of the Course, Anthea Morshead, tells me that she recently dreamt about walking to the racecourse entrance. The problem was that she could never quite get there, because of the unaccountably huge weight on her back. This means, I suspect, that she has a deep lack of faith in the Managing Director, who keeps turning up at the racecourse in his pyjamas.
I have only once dreamt about the result of a real race in advance. It was the Schweppes Golden Mile, at Goodwood, in 1991 – which is odd, because it’s not a race I’d normally think about for very long. I clearly saw Parliament Piece passing the post first… He didn’t. He finished second, but with an each-way bet at 20/1, I’ve never complained that the dream was wrong.
If I had a dream result in mind for the Bank Holiday weekend, it might be for the two previous Cheltenham Festival winners, Spirit River and Son of Flicka to dead-heat in the final race on Monday. On balance though, I think I might go for Soul Magic winning a record eighth race at Cartmel on either Monday or Wednesday.
Sweet dreams - and make sure you follow them.