Posted by Tania Kindersley.
It was a magnificent, glorious, marvellous, memorable day. I shall tell you the whole story tomorrow, because it is worth telling, but the main thing is that I won a stupid amount of money, and my beloved Master Minded DID come back to his best, just as I had secretly dreamed he might, and positively skated up in the big race. All the tipsters said he would not do it. They were all Alberta's Run, all the time, with a side order of Kalahari King. It was just me, and a nice lady at the Scottish Herald, who kept the faith. And I put my money where my mouth was, all twenty pounds of it. I never felt so vindicated in my life.
It was a beautiful, beautiful thing to watch. The smile on Ruby Walsh's face was a mile wide. I shouted and jumped up and down and the dogs barked and there was joy and mayhem in my house.
Because I admire that horse so much, I had not been able to bear watching the whole race, and kept leaving the room until it was safe. By the time Master Minded came to the second last, he was still on the bridle, cruising along like the champion he is, and there was no fear of mistakes. But it did not matter, because I was recording the whole thing. My plan was to have a lovely Friday night re-watching the entire day's racing. (You see my wild and crazy life. I am the Jack Kerouac of the North-East.)
It was not just Master Minded. I wanted to see again Topolski, bolting up in the first, and the lovely five year old Mon Parrain putting in an astounding jumping performance for any horse, let alone one so young, over the National fences in the Topham.
I'll just have a quick peek, I thought, turning to my BT vision box. NOTHING. I checked again. I turned the device off, restarted it, and looked one more time. Just endless episodes of silly old Brothers and Sisters. I could not believe it. My finger must have been trembling so much that I did not hit the record button hard enough.
Never mind, I thought, bravely. At least there will be the highlights tonight. There are always highlights. Channel Four does a brilliant late night programme after each day of Cheltenham. I can rely on dear old Auntie.
No, I cannot. There are four BBC channels and there is no late night racing on ANY OF THEM. Oh, oh, Beeb, I am always sticking up for you when all those cross politicos accuse you of bias. I spend half my life lauding Radio Four to the skies. I defend you to the last ditch when furious free marketeers want to privatise you and turn you into Sky. And this, this, is how you reward me?
So, in desperation, I turn to my faithful readers. One of you must work for the BBC, or know something who does, or is just savvy enough to know if one can buy copies of a day's racing. Surely they have tapes? Or something?
This fever will probably have passed by tomorrow, and will subside into low regret. It's not the end of the world. But just in case any of you are, in fact, Clare Balding, I send out my heartfelt plea.
Here's what the glorious fellow looked like at the last:
(Photograph by the Press Association.)
And here are some photographs from the garden, just now, which I took to try and still my beating heart.
You can see that there was a bit of spectacular evening light. In which the ladyships graciously basked: