This time last week, I reflected on a genuine tragedy — the devastating loss of Many Clouds.
This week, we face up to the news that two more of Willie Mullins’ stable stars, namely Min and Faugheen, are out of the Festival.
Frustrating as this is, not least for punters but much more so for connections, it is a long way short of a tragedy and I have been irritated of late by those who have resorted to hyperbole to describe the turn of events.
Faugheen is a champion hurdler and Min is an undoubtedly talented novice chaser, but the perils of National Hunt racing dictate that appointments will be missed, even the most important on course appointments of the season.
I feel sorry for Willie Mullins, of whom I have written a great deal and seldom disguised my admiration, but his strokes of bad luck are blips rather than terminal distress.
Let’s not allow ourselves to wail and rage about events that are every bit as much part of the fabric of our sport as anything else. Faugheen and Min will be back, and hopefully on a track near you soon. Tragically, Many Clouds will not.
Champion hurdle lacks the wow factorSay non to regressive French thinking
An awful lot of comment has appeared since the French authorities announced at the weekend that female jockeys would get a weight allowance in some races.
I’ve little desire to tire you with extended thoughts, principally because the likelihood of it being implemented this side of The Pond anytime soon is slim to none.
It is, however, a regressive step. The standard of female jockeys is improving at a proportionately faster rate than their male equivalents, in my non-scientific opinion. Trajectories are closing and yet this artificial crutch fails to grasp that change.
It’s a daft idea and one we should be pleased is gaining next to no traction here in Blighty.
Beware silly season
We are about to enter silly season. Silly season is, of course, the month-long period of tediously dull Cheltenham Festival preview evenings when panellists vie with each other for who can show off that they’ve done the most homework in front of a dedicated audience, who remember that once upon a time an unmemorable panellist tipped a forgotten Festival winner at a big price.
They return in their droves to pubs, halls and cavernous arenas in the hope of hearing a secret snippet. They leave with over a hundred tips and realise they could have got it all on social media during a break in Corrie.
My advice? If you’ve not signed up, don’t worry about it unless you fancy meeting your pals there for a pint. And if you have signed up, take a pillow.
Will to win at Newbury
This weekend, we’re off to Newbury, which is rapidly throwing off its cloak of being one of my least inspiring race day experiences and surging up the league table in my affections.
The team in Berkshire are in great form, with fresh ideas, classy new developments and an eye most certainly on a very bright racing future.
This weekend’s Betfair Hurdle allows those of us who were smitten with WILLIAM H BONNEY a fortnight ago at Cheltenham to go in again at 8/1 or thereabouts. He may still have more to come and conditions should be absolutely ideal.
Image: Faugheen, by Tim Anthony via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0