£40m takes a running jump – Cheltenham’s champions day

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Ruby comes back on Faugheen

I’m not quite sure about Champion’s Day 2015. Was I dreaming, did Annie Power really jump a shadow and cost Ireland half it’s GDP in a single stride?

I was there, by the fence, I was on  , tipped at the post by Glen’s Melody, but I wasn’t watching the finish, I was watching Annie Power get knocked down again and stay down, and see the screens erected. I was waiting for the ambulance and so were 63,000 horse lovers.

And then Annie Power got up and boulted through the screens and we all cheered and applauded and some of us cried (I am welling up writing this). Because Ruby Walsh and everyone of us did not understand what had happened but feared something much worse than the loss of £40m of accumulated bets on trainer and jockey that had included the success of Faugheen , Arctic Fire and Hurricane Fly (1-2-3 in the Champion Hurdle).

It was one of those days , when the sky was an unbelievable blue, and a record crowd of over 63,000 basked in windless warmth.

We even got ushered into the Parade ring for the Champions , where I got as close as I will ever get to the truly heroic Hurricane Fly

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With John Tsalos

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These horses looked so beautiful in the spring sunshine

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That’s the New One with Sam Twiston-Davies

And here are some older ones – Stella and Una

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There were  lots of posh people wherever we went

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and there was Una

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And Elaine and Stella

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and Rita and Andrew

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We went down on a 1959 Routemaster which never got past 50mph but that didn’t matter. We had a lot to eat and drink – and we sang some good songs!

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We came back on a cold 1959 Routemaster and had a lot to drink and rolled into Paddington ab0ut two hours late because 63,00o can’t get out of Cheltenham very easily.

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And we did a lot of hugging and shouting and dancing and singing (and no-one went to corporate hospitality!).

With Karen

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and again!

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and Julie

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There is no place like Cheltenham on a bad day, but this was a day fit for champions – a champion day indeed!

There was no stopping Jane….

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Nor forgetting the Northwoods though this photo’s from another (colder) year


So it was goodbye to Cheltenham for another year

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with some souvenirs for the wait till next March

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About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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