Here’s Paddy with a look back at last week’s Cheltenham Festival.
The Gold Cup was a very funny race to ride in.
The one thing I wasn’t worried about going into the race was a lack of pace but we hacked for the first three-quarters of the contest, and we were all sprinting coming down the hill.
It was far quicker than ideal from thereon in and when you have horses like Saphir Du Rheu and Smad Place still on the bridle going to 3 out – with all due respect to them – then you know something is wrong with the tempo of the race.
Obviously, it was again gutting to fall at the same fence as last year but he lives to fight another day and why should he be retired? He loves his work at home and I imagine he will go to Aintree, where he has an excellent record and where he won the Bowl so well last season after falling at Cheltenham.
I do think that he does want softer ground these days to be seen at his best though, so fingers crossed for rain at Aintree.
I knew pretty quickly after the start of the RSA that Royal Vacation wasn’t the same horse as he was at Cheltenham in January and you can ignore Poetic Rhythm’s run in the Neptune as he was nearly brought down, and stopped to a standstill. Imperial Eloquence got pushed around a bit in the bumper and he will a better horse for the experience.
I thought I was going to win the Champion Chase going to 3 out on Sir Valentino though, as he was running away with me.
In the end he finished third and that was a career-best and a great run, and that is one of the best training performances you will see from Tom George. Little over two years ago I was riding that horse when he was being beaten off marks in the 120s around Ludlow.
Barney Dwan also ran a hell of a race when second in the Pertemps, and it was very unfortunate that he clearly bumped into a Graded horse in Presenting Percy.
Someone told me that Timeform rated the winner’s performance good enough to take any Albert Bartlett of recent years other than Bob’s Worth’s, and I wish the bastard would have run it!
The week ended brilliantly with Chase The Spud’s win in the Midlands National. To win the richest handicap of the week is never a bad thing and he really toughed it out to battle for the victory. I did suggest the race to the owners after his previous run at Carlisle, so that was doubly pleasing.
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