In response to John's earlier blog, I hold my hand up and admit that I was a non-believer. I didn't think Cowtoe Star would win the Gold Cup. My heart had wanted Beef Or Salmon (mainly so I could watch Catherine dance a jig with her new best friend Michael Hourigan) or my old friend Kingscliff but my head had said Exotic Dancer.
Kauto's brilliance apart, the star of the last day, if not the whole festival, in my opinion was brave little Katchit. Surely he'll win next year's Champion Hurdle? He was my nap of the meeting, my only winner in the Eddis tipping contest, and thank God he won having tipped him to my sister Jules, whom I'd also told to back Juveigneur on Tuesday (the best ride of the Festival from the best jockey at the Festival, who unbelievably remained winnerless all week).
That was Cheltenham. Roll on Aintree, though heartbreakingly without Little Brick and Nil Desperandum.
I don't make the trip to Liverpool very often. I've been a snapper at Becher's Brook twice for George Selwyn (Bobbyjo and Papillon) and my nerves just won't hold out for being that close to the action. The absolute worst moment was when the lovely Fiddling The Facts, ridden by the one and only M Fitzgerald, came down at Becher's second time around. Fortunately the brave mare was relatively unscathed and has gone on to breed two potential jumping stars in Classsic Fiddle and Fiddling Again, the latter having appeared a little flat in the Champion Bumper but had already won her first two starts. I believe Classic Fiddle is running at Newbury next weekend, which will be a real treat.
The last time we were at Aintree was with Jack Dawson on National day two years ago, with Carolynn, David and Aunty Nancy's Beaver. The Beaver didn't make it to Cheltenham. It was shades all the way in glorious spring weather and the weird and wonderful Ed Prosser kept us entertained with his piano playing and unfeasibly large bottle of Medoc.
While I'm on a vaguely good tipping run (by my own dismal standards), watch out for Imperial Rose, trained in Ireland by Tony Martin and bred by our good friend Nigel Reid ("Yeah, like it was my ambition to breed a ****ing novice hurdler," said Reid from his Zurich hideaway earlier today). Three seemingly untaxing runs down the field in maiden hurdles so far and I'm pretty convinced her handicap debut could be worth a small each-way flutter. She was runner-up to Ebaziyan over a mile and a half on the flat at Gowran Park and we all know what he went on to achieve earlier this week. Now that really is the end of the Cheltenham waffle.