Posted by Tania Kindersley.
(Kauto Star, photographed beautifully by Alan Crowhurst for Getty Images.)
It is a real dour old day here in the north of Scotland. Sometimes it is so flat and damp and dreich that even the glorious hills and trees retire into bland anonymity. I had to stare and stare to find any beauty at all.
Luckily, in the end, there was some. It seems there always is. I say luckily because all I can think about is the magnificent Kauto Star attempting to make racing history later this afternoon, so there are no coherent words for you. I need some photographs to compensate.
Kauto is a beautiful, brave horse, and in an hour or so he is going to try, at the age of 11, to win the King George VI steeplechase for the fifth time IN A ROW. This has never been done, ever. If he can do it, it will be an act of such pure class that every racing journalist in the land will run out of superlatives and have to send out for more.
I have knots in my stomach. In a fast, tough, long race, anything can happen. Even great horses fall. There can be pile-ups. Delicate tendons can break. Blood vessels can blow. The mightiest champion can be brought down by a loose horse.
This is a lovely, willing, genuine horse. He is the best we have seen in a generation. I want almost more than anything to see him win, but really, now, I just want him to come home safe.
Pictures of the day -
I know this is out of focus and not a good photograph at all, but you know I can never resist an action shot, especially when it involves the ears going up in the air:
And the dear old hill, very sombre in the flat white light:
And now I must go and stare and stare at the television. Fingers crossed.
Oh, and if you are interested, there is a lovely piece about Kauto Star here, by Chris Clark at The Guardian.