It’s not often you come out of a festival so reflective but Horse Racing was dealt the lowest of blows over the weekend. As if Vautour’s sorry passing wasn’t enough the God’s decided another was to follow and poor old Simonsig followed on course on Sunday. Add in Sprinter Sacre’s retirement and tears were shed across the Racing World. How we care, how it hurts.
It doesn’t quite seem right to review our results and boast about any profit or dwell on any losses but here are some short words from each of our tipsters after a rather bizarre 3 days.
I want to pay tribute to a star that lost his life on the Prestbury turf yesterday. Simonsig was a beautiful horse with acres of talent. To me his greatest win was the Neptune of 2012, he looked an absolute machine that day. After that the problems set in but he had the bravery to win an Arkle Chase. I’ve experienced a lot of tough days on course, it’s part of the game but I shed a tear at my desk at Cheltenham yesterday. Some days you just want to go home and yesterday was one of those days.
I think the right decision has been made with the retirement of Sprinter Sacre. He’s gone out at the very top after a comeback year that nobody expected. He’s been beset by problems through his career and the time is right to call it a day. The old boy looked a million dollars as he said goodbye to his adoring public. I’m sure he’ll have a long and happy retirement.
The loss of Simonsig was a cruel misfortune to the Henderson stable after the retirement of Sprinter Sacre and I for one will be thinking of them all this week. Henderson really has been dealt two killer blows all on the same day and I know it’s a cliché but he’s a man that really doesn’t deserve it.
I’m not going to go into any more detail, there were positives to take away from the festival from a tipping and Ante-Post point of view but overall a feeling of sadness and discomfort from a racing point of view far outweighs the former.
My tributes for the weekend must be given on two wonderful horses.
Rest in peace SIMONSIG who took a fatal fall, breaking his leg and sadly is no longer with us.
Happy retirement to SPRINTER SACRE, who was retired over the weekend and goes down as one of the greatest national hunt horses of all time.
My racing highlights of the weekend:
NORTH HILL HARVEY winning the GREATWOOD HURDLE on Sunday.
BUYWISE finishing 3rd in the BETVICTOR GOLD CUP on Saturday.
THE JUMPS PUNTER
It was a sad end to the meeting with the death of Simonsig on the final day. Also, the announcement that Sprinter Sacre had to be retired due to injury. The way he came back to reclaim the Champion Chase was some achievement. In my opinion, there is no better sight than seeing 2m chasers jumping at speed before his injury there was no better 2m chaser the way in which he won his races was a joy to watch.
The highs and lows of racing that trainers owners jockey’s and us punters go through can at times leave you wondering why you put yourself through it all but it comes down to one simple answer it’s because we love it and the low times only make the high times more enjoyable.
Overall, it wasn’t the best festival betting wise with a few near misses, but plenty has been learned over those three days and after Aintree I would consider the Open to be the toughest festival to nail. We now have all these form lines to work with over the coming months and with the Betfair Chase and the Hennessy just around the corner, it is fair to say the National Hunt season is in full swing.
A tricky three days at the Cheltenham Open meeting, plenty of surprise results and definitely a case of bookies coming out on top. Not much damage done as we ended with a small loss – still we aim for profit and there’s plenty to learn going forward. The good thing is the number of clues gleaned from the weekend will be invaluable as we head towards the coming weeks and months of the National Hunt season.