Tanya's Blog - December 2014
Advent calendar doors are being prized open yet the racing family aren’t so much looking forward to the 25th, more like the 26th! The Festive period is upon us and with it comes the frenetic rush to write and send cards, buy, wrap and deliver presents and have time to study the upcoming racing treats. Surely a great gift for racing loving friend or family member would be a Racegoers Club membership, hint.
Christmas time, enjoy or endure? That is very much weather dependent and I’m very much hoping Jack Frost isn’t up to any mischief let alone any snowfall on the horizon! Before typing this I checked out the racing calendar and there are so many goodies across December.
Its silly season for awards, I use to go to the opening of an envelope but as I’ve become older and wiser you learn not to abuse such astonishing generosity and invitations. Plus I’ve become more of a hermit in the evenings, preferring to spend time in the gym or how about this for being an anorak, watching race replays!
Those that I do attend are Betting Shop Manager of the Year, which is my favourite, I’m also one of the judges on the panel and the whole process, competitors, organisers and fellow judges are close to my heart. The Horserace Writers and Photographers Awards is also a must attend in that its very rewarding to see friends and colleagues receive deserved recognition for their hard work and at the same time catch up with everyone I know all in one place, yet there is never enough time.
Time goes too quickly and its best to savour every moment, I certainly absorbed all the atmosphere at the Hennessy Meeting, Newbury is a real treat to visit and there were a few horses who are worth keeping an eye on. Nicky Henderson’s string aren’t firing on all cylinders, yet despite that Hammersly Lake ran a stormer over hurdles.
In the Hennessy there were three heroes outside of the winner Many Clouds, Houblon Des Obeaux’s weight carrying performance was admirable especially as he came again to grab second from Merry King. Monbeg Dude showed that a second Welsh National wouldn’t be beyond him with his fourth placing and The Druids Nephew not only clouted a fences but was ridden round the wide outside and whether the extra distance travelled was compensated by finding faster ground is hard to establish, but he ran a cracker.
Kalkir’s win at Fairyhouse certainly gave the odds compilers work to do and many have backed him already for the Triumph Hurdle, it appears at this early stage he’ll get plenty of name checks at Cheltenham Festival Previews.
There I am moaning that time goes too quickly and the next thing I’m typing about the Cheltenham Festival. Rewind, time to rein back to December, Becher Chase and Tingle Creek at the forefront of our thoughts, with 25 declared to go over the big spruce fences in the Becher Chase. I’ve been text a few times asking who I prefer and at the time of typing I’d reduced 25 to four, favourite Ballybriggan, last year’s fourth Ballybough Gorta, Oscar Time who has placed in two Grand Nationals and Benbens.
The following Saturday December 20th I’m not working but that doesn’t mean I won’t go racing all eyes on Ascot for the Ladbroke and the Long Walk Hurdle. The latter could well be Medinas again after his Newbury exploits, while I will be keen to see Sign Of A Victory in the Ladbroke. He treated his rivals with contempt on his last visit toAscot and Nicky Henderson’s horses will hopefully be filling the winners enclosure long before a fortnight’s time.
Then there is all the potential for us to be climbing the walls desperate for racing action with the William Hill King George and Coral Welsh National along with the fabulous racing in Ireland. As for the Boxing Day delight I’m looking at Captain Chris for each-way value and as mentioned previously Monbeg Dude to regain his Welsh National crown.
All it leaves me to do is wish you a very Merry Christmas and may all your bets be successful.