YOU won’t see a better days racing than Cheltenham produced on Thursday.
Jumping’s patron saint J P McManus landed a treble, Paisley Park tugged at the heartstrings, while Ted Walsh is still talking about the tickle Any Second Now (10-1 to 6-1) landed in the Kim Muir.
Punts were landed faster than an AJ combination, Bryony Frost and Frodon (15-2 to 9-2) doing their bit for the good guys in the Ryanair Chase.
The little horse jumps like a grasshopper on springs and there’s a weighing room full of Flat jockeys who could learn a thing or two about public relations from the girl on his back.
Bryony’s got a few open ditches to cross before she matches Noel Fehily’s record though, and it was sad to hear the veteran virtuoso announce that he plans to retire this spring.
Fearless Fehily says less than a meditating monk, but he’s a proper favourite with punters and will be badly missed.
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Even Bill Gates would have gulped at the amount of dosh that flooded on Paisley Park (9-4 to 11-8) before the Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle.
That didn’t faze super-cool Aidan Coleman and he gave the gelding a belting ride to get the job done.
The win meant everything to owner Andrew Gemmell, who has been blind since birth, and you’d need a heart of granite not to be moved by the result.
Gordon Elliott wouldn’t have won an arm wrestling contest with Syd Little on the first day of the festival, but roared back to life when Tiger Roll (13-8 to 5-4) landed some lumpy bets in Wednesday’s Cross Country Chase.
The Tiger looked fresher than a tin of Dulux when he pinged the last and could do a Red Rum and win back-to-back Nationals.
Bletchley Park’s codebreakers would have struggled with Tuesday’s results, but a lucky once a year punter copped the lot when he pocketed £180,000 for a £2 Placepot bet.
The fella in question arrived on a coach and might just have upgraded to a taxi for the journey home!
LOVE RACING We went down to Kempton Racecourse to capture the adrenaline of the big day out
The stewards did overtime after the 4m National Hunt Chase, banning three amateur jocks who they reckoned should have pulled-up tired horses.
There’s no doubt the horses were cream-crackered, but it was a marathon run on desperate ground so surely that’s par for the course.
Sir Anthony McCoy was spitting feathers after young Declan Lavery got 10-days for finishing third on J P McManus’ Jerrysback, and it is hard to argue with his logic.
The horse was tired but still going forward and each-way punters would have got the right hump if he’d run up the white flag.
Trackman's Saturday Selection
ASHUTOR (1.30 Kempton) ran a cracker in a hot race last time and will be suited by this drop in trip.
Olly Murphy hit the woodwork at Cheltenham this week and can gain some compensation with CORINTO (3.25) at Fontwell, while Alan King’s TIMOTEO (2.05) is well treated under a penalty over at Kempton.
Best bet on that card is Paul Nicholls’ ASHUTOR (1.30). He ran into a smart one last time and will be right at home on this sharp track.