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Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Storm over - Gordon's gallops survived the weather but I wasn't so lucky

The latest diary entry by Gordon Elliott's groom

Groom Georgie Benson has Mick Jazz among others to look forward to at Cheltenham
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I’m glad that week is over. I know there were some yards that were brought to a complete standstill but Gordon managed to keep everything ticking over these past few days, which was some achievement.

I wasn't so lucky. I was at home on Thursday night when Storm Emma hit and when I woke up on Friday morning it became clear quite quickly that I wouldn’t be making it into work.

Our road, which is quite near Fairyhouse racecourse, was completely impassable and the snow was well above my waist.

There were some people who had Jeeps at Gordon’s and they were collecting some of us who were stranded, but unfortunately I wasn’t for saving on Friday and Saturday!

We were completely housebound with nothing else to do except study the Cheltenham form.

Thankfully I made it in on Sunday, where we had 44 of our Cheltenham horses riding out.

I know the snow hasn’t been ideal for trainers with horses going to Cheltenham, but hopefully it won’t have too much of an effect on our horses, as they are hard fit already and you wouldn’t be doing anything major right now anyway.

One horse who won’t be going to Cheltenham this year is Cracking Smart. He’s had a very small problem and, while I thought he’d make it, the boss decided to give him the rest of the season off as he’s very talented.

Gordon turned 40 the other day and, while we’ve been known to throw people into the pool on their birthday – just ask Olly Murphy – I don’t think anyone thought twice about doing it to Gordon, especially in this weather.

If they did, I think they might have been sacked on the spot! I don’t think the snow stopped them celebrating the milestone anyway as they made it into Trim for a small celebration.

At this stage, I just want all of the talking to be over and for Cheltenham to start.

We’re doing things a little differently this year in that Mary Nugent is going over first with all of the gear, which means when we arrive with the horses all we need to do is bed them down.

We’ve been planning for Cheltenham for months now. I think I’m going over in the first lorry along with Lisa O’Neill. We usually leave Saturday evening and arrive at Cheltenham the next morning, but don’t ask me what route we take, because I’m normally asleep in the back while poor Lisa does the driving.

Speaking of sleeps, how many until the festival? I can't wait.

More from Georgie Benson's Festival Diary . . .

Elliott big guns receive glowing report from the groom who knows them best

Not even the Beast from the East can stop us at Gordon's

Taking nothing for granted as finishing touches are applied for Cheltenham

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Don’t ask me what route we take, because I’m normally asleep in the back while poor Lisa does the driving
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