Posted 20 hours ago

Cheltenham Et Al: The Best of Alastair Down

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Every day in the 10 days up to the meeting, lots of horses start dropping out due to injury and then all those months of planning and years of planning can easily go up in smoke – it is not a window of opportunity, it’s an arrow slit, and everyone is wanting to all fire through that arrow slit all at once. I met him a few times a very long time ago as I had horses with Jim Old in his glory days with Mole Board and Collier Bay and Alastair also had a share in one there. We had satellite tv, mainly French and I had no way of watching Cheltenham, except on this particular Friday. When you’re young, you go all day and all night and then have an hour’s kip and then go again, now that I work at the meeting, it is very different but I love the way also that it has transmitted itself to the next generation - it just has this, almost evangelical ability to get the group gospel across, I mean my three children, they couldn’t name another race course, but they never miss a day at the Festival.

PPB Counterparty Services Limited, having its registered address at Level 2, Spinola Park, Mikiel Ang.I’ve also seen the rise of Willie Mullins, who I have known for donkey’s years and when I met him first, he was just an amateur with the idea that he might train a bit and look where he is now!

It was right on the winning line in a stand that no longer exists and I was offered it; it was a box for 12 with the dining room out of the back - I think we got about 42 people into the box! The cover may have some limited signs of wear but the pages are clean, intact and the spine remains undamaged. To help personalise content, tailor your experience and help us improve our services, Betfair uses cookies. It didn’t make for easy viewing; you wouldn’t be able to have it now, the public wouldn’t stand for it.There’s a very good reason that that cheer goes up when the tapes go up; because people have been waiting for the start of the meeting or a particular race or the Gold Cup and they love it. I can think of potato farmers who have had a double there and have won an Arkle and a County Hurdle, who nobody had heard of before or even since - and a retired steelworker from the north-east won a handicap and he only had five horses; now that to me, is part of the romance of jump racing and that is the bit that which we seem to have slightly lost. You suspend ‘normal behaviour’ in several ways: money ceases to have any value; it may as well come out of a Monopoly box; and if things go wrong you, just go and get some more out, because it’s Cheltenham week and it doesn’t matter! I have spanned golden years and I have lived through the matchless age of Champion Hurdles with Sea Pigeon, Night Nurse, Monks Field doing battle over the years and I’ve seen the Kauto Star and Denman years; and the Best Mate years - I’ve been very lucky.

And I was hooked from then - not on just the betting though; I used to sit on the arm of dad’s armchair - and dads are heroes to their sons and he was a man of infinite charm and kindness - he loved racing and in turn, I loved it in his wake I guess. uk has been a home to passionate debate and intelligent discussion for horse racing enthusiasts since the year 2000. everyone just thinks it’s ‘down the hill and round the corner’ - but if you stand at the bottom turn and look up to the winning post…they talk about the ‘Cheltenham Hill’; you don’t see the winning post until you’re on ground level with it and it does rise away from you into that tunnel funnel of noise and people. One particular piece on being snowed in and the need for essentials of life ("gaspers") made me cry with laughter when first written in the old weekender and I was delighted to see it. I walked into the paddock with him and Geoff Lester after Collier Bay won the CH and value the video I have of that great moment.There is some cruelty in its beauty, it’s a very hard place and I have seen desperate tragedies to horse and human there and you know that those risks are being run on your behalf. In 1945 he resumed working for Anglo-Iranian and was based in Iran until 1947, and then in London until 1954. Discover the joy of reading with us, your trusted source for affordable books that do not compromise on quality. Down left British Petroleum in 1975 and was appointed chairman of Burmah Oil, which he rescued from the verge of bankruptcy. The loyalty and effort of our members make the Racing Forum the friendliest and most informative horse racing community.

they have to organise all the staff and all the equipment - I mean Eisenhower spent less time planning the D-Day landings than Elliot and Mullins would have done to get those horses over here fit and well…. Cheltenham has been made easier over the years and many, many more ways than it has been publicised - but rightly so, and we are still making innovations, like after last year’s four miler - which was a bit like the refute from Moscow but without Napoleon.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s the Champion Hurdle or one of the handicaps because the handicaps are contested with a ferocity and usually at a pace that is kind of frightening to watch - and they just go off like hell out of the night; so much so, that we’ve had changes in the field sizes in recent years.

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