Cheltenham Festival: The Ultimate Guide - 2021-03-05


Itching to get that monkey off my back


Peter Thomas

I’ve got a monkey on my back. It’s been there for nearly a year now and it just won’t go away, keeps chattering in my ear, telling me bad things, mostly about my punting, although sometimes about my lack of aptitude for life in general. It hopped up there on March 13, 2020, at around 5.37pm, shortly after the finish of the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, the last race of the festival. So while everybody else was queuing up to get out of the car park, or just putting the kettle on for a nice cup of tea, I was entering a period of betting turmoil. The preamble is a simple one. Imperial Aura and Simply The Betts had already won, I had a sizeable chunk running on to the final leg of my each-way treble, Ben Jones had just hit the front on Pileon, Column Of Fire had fallen at the last and we were clear, with only a tiddly little slope to climb to secure the win. I’d have to say that the ten grand or so was already spent (on a new bathroom, so I was told, plus assorted sundries), but it would still have been nice if Indefatigable hadn’t got up to beat us by a short head. And the trouble with the last race of the festival is that you have to wait a whole 12 months for another go. So the monkey is still in situ, my year of seething still isn’t over and I’m looking forward to redemption.



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