Weblog: Straight from the sofa
Cheltenham SoFastival - Day Two, Part Two
5.35pm Any other business
@keitthpunter is confirmed as the winner of Tuesday's #twitpot, so the SoFastival Superstar of Cheltenham Award is now known as the keitthpunter trophy.
Speaking of which, I'll round off today with the keitthpunter trophy standings:
26 - Nicky Henderson
10 - Quevega, Willie Mullins, Keiran Burke, Barry Geraghty
8 - Noel Fehily, Alastair Down
5 - Donald McCain, Sprinter Sacre, Paul Nicholls, Anthony Knott, Nick Scholfield, Rebecca Curtis
4 - Richie McLernon
3 - Tommo, @claimsfive, Jeremiah McGrath
2 - JT McNamara, Ted Walsh
1 - Lesley Graham
0 - Jamie Moore (3 taken away for his whip ban)
-3 - Eric Lanlard
-10 - Cheltenham officials
5.12pm How My Bets Were (Possibly) Baptised - The Bumper
I'm flagging. Looking forward to a big bowl of rice, then tidying up all the mess I've made before Bob comes home, then some study and some green tea, then cricket practise (to take out some Bobs Worth frustration), then beer, duck pancakes and more study. And possibly some sleep.
No insight into neigh nomenclature here, just the bets. Clonbanan Lad won in a really good time. £20 at 20-1. I think the same applies for Many Clouds but I can't remember. £20 at 50. Glenwood Present was way too big at 600 (£5 each-way) based on his latest run and Ifbutandwhynot (£10 each-way) should appreciate the drying ground.
Good luck and I'll be back after rice and tuna to post updates on the SoFastival Superstar of Cheltenham award and the #twitpot.
4.57pm Provisional #twitpot results
After nearly two days of fearsome competition, I believe both @jeffman1976 (Gorgeous Sixty/Lemon Drop Red) and @keitthpunter (Jackies Solitaire and Colebrooke) have gone out in the unlucky 13th race of the Festival. Whoever had the horse that finished closest wins the Tuesday #twitpot. We'll find out soon but it's a tremendous effort by both of them.
And with it, we have a Wednesday winner, with inaugural ruler @AdrianBeaumont getting through thanks to Vendor. Congratulations!
4.52pm "We'll wake up one day"
Three winners already for Nicky Henderson then he goes and lands a four-timer in the Fred Winter with 40-1 shot Une Artiste. Another six SoFastival Superstar points for the dominant trainer, and three for Jeremiah McGrath who gave her an excellent ride.
She finished well behind Baby Mix and Sadler's Risk at Kempton last time, but I'm pretty sure this wasn't her form so not too much should be read into it.
4.36pm Montage Music Analysis
With all the excitement about Greatwood 18th Son Of Flicka, and the ineptitude of dolling off the last fence, I have forgotten to take part in the Montage Music Guessing Game.
And I was going to go for Run For Your Life by The Fray as well.
I think it might have something to do with the title, but I'm not sure.
4.26pm How My Bets Were (Possibly) Baptised
Vendor was named after the bloke who was selling extremely favourable handicap marks. He should be better than a 129-rated animal and £50 has gone his way at 5-1.
Jackies Solitaire should also prove to be better than her rating of 125 based on her form with Alasi, Baby Mix and Hinterland, and £20 has been invested at 25-1. Bobby Charlton's brother used to wear a lucky diamond necklace when he was playing football and hopefully the filly named after this will be just as lucky.
Small savers have gone on Royal Bonsai (£10 at 20-1) and Moujik Borget (£10 at 75), as Venetia Williams' French recruits tend to improve significantly for their first British starts.
4.17pm Go on my son
Father Des has just been on the phone to inform me I'm £300 better off thanks to a £100 bet placed in November regarding a horse running in either the Greatwood or the Paddy Power winning at the Cheltenham Festival.
Step forward Son Of Flicka! That improves my mood.
4.12pm The new Buena Vista?
Son Of Flicka has turned up 5lb lower than when second to Sir Des Champs in last year's Martin Pipe race, following a spell of bad form, and has won having been as big as 66-1 this morning.
Donald McCain hasn't had a horse run badly here this week, of those that have got round, and this bodes extremely well for the likes of Peddlers Cross - and Kie in the Fred Winter.
4.00pm Down, Down, Deeper and Down
Excellent line of questioning from Alastair Down. The three dolls were initially spread out across the width of the fence, but then grouped towards the near side because that is where the injured parties were.
Specifically, this was to protect them if there was a loose horse jumping round.
Thoroughly understandable, but still absolutely undefendable, as there should be more than three boards available at the last fence at such a prestigious event such as this.
Eight points to Down in the SoFastival Superstar Of Cheltenham Award.
3.56pm How My Bets Were (Possibly) Baptised - The Coral Cup
Garry was a competent midfielder and a good passer, if anyone wanted possession from him they just yelled Balgarry. He's well in under his penalty and £50 has gone on at 10-1.
Various amounts have gone on Dare Me, Bally Legend, First Fandango and Saphir River, no time to explain why!
3.51pm He'd be rubbish on Whose Line Is It Anyway
I think Cheltenham racecourse chairman Robert Waley-Cohen needs to improvise a bit. Before the presentation he said: "There's no finer sight in jump racing than the best two-mile steeplechasers going head to head over the famous Cheltenham fences, and battling up the hill to the tumultuous roar of a huge crowd. It was a pleasure to us all to witness the magnificant battle between Finian's Rainbow and Sizing Europe, reminding us of the skill and bravery of both horse and rider, and in the process reinforcing our love of this great sport."
He should have said: "There's no more demoralising sight in jump racing than officials making hash of cordoning off the last fence and the best two-mile chasers veering wildly right before battling up the hill to the noise of utter confusion from a perplexed crowd. It was embarrassing to witness the understandable bewilderment of the jockeys on Finian's Rainbow and Sizing Europe, reminding us once again that, despite unimaginable levels of skill and bravery from both horse and rider, officials can do this game a great disservice, in the process disheartening the sport's followers, their love of the pursuit, and any motivation they have for passing on their fascination to others."
And to top it off nicely, the stewards have said that everything was in place but the jockeys had their head down and they couldn't see. More incompetence again, if a mistake has been made it should be admitted as opposed to making it worse.
One tiny portion of the fence had signs up, and Channel 4 have just shown that, to begin with, the whole fence had barriers up until confusion kicked in. Everything was not in place when Sizing Europe and Finian's Rainbow approached.
3.36pm Tommo on top of things
Good work from roving reporter Tommo. He's letting us know that Richard Johnson is being stretchered into an ambulance, but the likelihood is that he is just badly bruised, and Johnson wanted to be up and walking.
The Guardian's Chris Cook is also providing vital updates from his @claimsfive Twitter handle. He also says Richard Johnson is thought to be bruised but it's too early to rule out a broken leg, and also that a photographer was crouching down and Wishfull Thinking knocked his camera into his face. He believes the photographer will be fine though.
Three points each to Tommo and @claimsfive in the SoFastival Superstar of Cheltenham Award.
3.30pm The supposed pinnacle of racing
And they can't make it clear whether a fence needs to be jumped or not. Desperate stuff by the officials, racing was very nearly in the news again for all the wrong reasons, and hopefully it won't be - the Wishfull Thinking incident looked a nasty one.
A good line from a raging Ted Walsh, who mentions the guy "waving a handkerchief" to get them to go around the last.
Superb stuff once again for Henderson and Geraghty, ten SoFastival Superstar of Cheltenham points for both of them, two for Ted Walsh, and minus ten for the Cheltenham officials who nearly ruined a great spectacle.
If I'd been on one of the beaten horses I might have jumped the last just in case they were supposed to tackle it...
3.14pm And it was all going so well...
Oh Lesley! Lesley, Lesley, Lesley! You've been doing a sterling job interviewing the joyous connections in the winner's enclosure but you've dropped a clanger.
Given the nod by a colleague, and using Sky Plus, we had a bit of x30 rewinding and discovered that yes, it was true. Lesley Graham had asked the owners of last year's Albert Bartlett winner Bobs Worth, after he has just won the RSA Chase, if they had ever had a winner at the Cheltenham Festival before.
Minus three points to Lesley Graham in the SoFastival Superstar of Cheltenham Award I'm afraid, leaving her on a total of one.