Friday, 20 November 2015

Ask Yourself Three Questions

I was up before dawn this morning, which sounds virtuous but is getting quite easy to do at this time of year. A thought hit me… Assuming that I live to be 80, which might be a bit optimistic depending on how many sticky toffee puddings I eat, I should have another 306 race-days to enjoy at Cartmel.  

I hope that someone else will be in charge by then, because I doubt I’ll be able to keep up with our Clerk of the Course (Anthea Morshead) when she walks the track. The only thing is: 306 doesn’t seem very many does it? 

We’re busy planning now for next season and experience tells me that we’ll get to March and then it’ll all be over like a flash: I’ll only have 297 left. Now I don’t want to get gloomy about this, Cartmel race-days are a joy and I won't benefit from counting them down as if they’re the last biscuits in the tin. It’s just that knowing there are so few makes it all the more important that we appreciate them to the full.   

With this in mind, I need you to ask yourself these three questions: Have I bought myself an annual members badge yet? Have I blocked off all the race dates in my diary?  Have I invited all my friends and family to come along too?

And when it comes to race-day, it’s important to enjoy every live-enhancing moment as it happens: Give your parents / children / grandchildren a hug when you arrive; savour the English Lakes Ice Cream before it slips off the end of the cone and, as you pass your money to the bookmaker, don’t forget to kiss it goodbye – because you might see it again, but that would just be a bonus.

The same goes for all the big events in the calendar, like Christmas Day, Birthdays and Cheltenham Gold Cup Day. Enjoy them all, knowing that they are a finite resource – and amplify the enjoyment by getting excited in advance: Buy yourself an advent calendar, write a letter to Santa and get a tenner on Saphir Du Rheu now, before he wins the Hennessy next week.

While you’re at it, have a modest punt on this week’s selection: the outstandingly handicapped Bold Sir Brian who has been off the track a while, but should start at a big price in the Betfair sponsored Fixed Brush Hurdle, at Haydock, on Saturday.

I’m hoping that I’ll see at least another 34 Grand Nationals and I’m delighted to be able to give you the winner for the 2021 race now. His name is Sky Lino and, trained by Nick Williams, he appeared in a Juvenile Hurdle at Bangor last week.

Having lost his jockey and galloped an extra mile before the race, the massively framed gelding pulled like a train – all the way to the second last hurdle, where he eventually tired and finished second. At some point during the next six years, I’m sure he’ll learn to chill, enjoy the moment and stay four and a half miles.

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