And so to Cheltenham to check out the runners and riders of an event that “epitomises and encompasses everything that is great about jump racing, whilst delivering an unbelievable occasion as the finest horses, jockeys, owners and trainers battle it out for the highest racing honours”.
With the promise of a good ride out with my three hot dates, and “an atmosphere that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up”, I too was looking for an unbelievable occasion.
After all, as die-hard fans of this column will recall, Busty always seemed to have a great time when she came down here, and I know that many of you are expecting big things from me.
Not that I am the kind of girl who loses her shirt – or other, more essential items of clothing for that matter – when I go to the gee-gees. I prefer to come out on top and walk away with a smile.
Mind you, my Cotwolds adventure did not get off to the best of starts when the Mouth from the South pulled up at the first, after being fingered for sending out one of those “Top Five”, “Bottom Five” emails back in the day. He said he had to keep his head down, but in a way I was quite pleased he couldn’t make it, imagine the shame of being in the Bottom Five?
However, things started to look even worse when the Blessed from the West went lame, too. Apparently he can’t get any time off as his agency is relocating from a converted farmhouse in deepest, darkest Somerset to swanky new offices in the centre of Bath. Where did you think we got that story then?
I was facing the very real prospect of “licking up to Lovatt” – as they call it round these parts – to try to get in the Blue Sheep tent. Even a retired jockey with a glint in his eye and a trilby hat took pity on me and got his fat wallet out to help me place a few bets. Then suddenly things started to pick up when I spotted the Horse from the North galloping towards me, with a beaming smile.
As you can imagine, I was chomping at the bit by then, and he swept me off my feet and took me straight to his suite at the five-star Wyastone, where we saddled up for a re-enactment of the Stayer’s Hurdle, whips and all.
When he said he was “up”, I must admit I thought he was referring to his betting prowess but luckily he was “up” in many more ways than that.
Of course, with the Gold Cup looming, it is still a little too early to judge whether he is “Top Five” material, but, suffice to say, the going down here is definitely good to firm, soft in places…