Gold Cup entries are out today and the big race is only just over 9 weeks away. Before that we have Trials day at Cheltenham, the Dublin festival including the Irish Gold Cup and the Denman chase at Newbury. So plenty more water under the bridge before the Gold Cup itself.
But the publication of the entries surely allow a little reminiscing.
I’ve been going to Cheltenham every year since 1989 – the day when Desert Orchid famously sloshed through the mud to beat Yahoo – just watching it back gives goosebumps. Yahoo went on round the home turn in ground and at a course the brilliant Dessie hated. The evocative Peter O’Sullevan commentary, “Desert Orchid is beginning to get up”…”Simon Sherwood punches the air”.
What a day to choose as your first at the festival. I was captivated. And although in the early years I only went one day of the meeting I’ve now seen 23 Gold Cups – including the last 11 in a row. And while I’ve seen plenty of other good ones, including The Fellow, Best Mate, Long Run, Denman and of course Kauto Star, Desert Orchid will always be the best one.
You know there were two 66-1 winners that day. The weather was appalling. But it was one the great festival days.
Might Bite managed to provide a memory in last year’s RSA when we won despite taking his seat in the Guinness Grandstand. Maybe he can provide another great moment in a few weeks time. Excitement mounting.