And it is chaos!
Seriously, loads of bets going down, many on long priced horses in races that on paper, look unfathomable. This is a meeting that can test the mental fortitude of us punters, and from experience, the week is much easier to handle if it can only get off to a decent start.
Interesting fact of the day that I heard on Radio 5 Live whilst making a cuppa – over £2.5 million pounds will be withdrawn from the cash points in the main stand between today and Friday. Two-and-a-half-million!
Bearing in mind what I said about getting off to a decent start, it was so good to end up nicely in profit from the first race, the Supreme Novices Hurdle. Racing Service C had put up Summerville Boy at 12s a wee while ago, and despite making more than one error over the hurdles, including clouting the second last and hardly flying the last, it still managed to get up to win by a neck! It was such an exciting climax to the race and in that regard, the first race set the tone for the rest of the day, a number of the races providing thrilling finishes.
So heartened by a winning start, it was on to the Arkle, and this time it was Northern Monkey coming up with the goods. As the second leg of an 8/1 double (the first leg being some winner I can’t even remember from the all weather), I was hopeful that hot favourite Footpad would come up with the goods. Bearing in mind that it too, like Summerville Boy in the previous race, made more than one jumping blunder, the fact that it won going away suggests to me it is quite the racehorse!
What a start it had been, but the Champion Hurdle brought the winning streak to a halt with none of the three horses I had my dosh on involved in the finish.
The Mares’ Hurdle brought a modest winner for Northern Monkey who had risked just a small stake on Benie Des Dieux getting the better of many people’s banker of the day, Apples Jade.
The 4.50, a fiendishly difficult looking Novice Chase brought the best result of the day. I felt sorry for Racing Service A who had a 25/1 antepost bet on Ms Parfois, which went off at 11/2! The mare ran a tremendously gallant race, looking like she was going to get up about 50 yards from the line, only to be pipped by Rathvinden in a finish that had me on my feet and jumping around the living room like a kangaroo on speed. Rathvinden had been tipped you see, by Northern Monkey (again!), Racing Service B, and Racing Service C. The prices I had were 12/1, 7/1 and 6/1 respectively.
And so to the last, and thinking that the winning run really had to come to an end, up popped Mister Whitaker to land the spoils for Jason James and (I kid you not), Northern Monkey!
I don’t recall ever having such a consistently profitable day at the Festival as yesterday. There’s a nagging feeling that Cheltenham might just be about to bite back. Tune in tomorrow to find out….
Jason James: Staked 6pts, +3pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 3.5pts, +11.22pts.
Racing Service A: Staked 6.5pts, -6.5pts.
Racing Service B: Staked 5.5pts, +10pts.
Racing Service C: Staked 6pts, +9.7pts.
Total ROI: 81.57%.