So much for my no blog, no Twitter resolution. Turns out I cannot HELP myself. I have to write some words on the screen and send them out to you. The Pigeon and I are sitting in our favourite place, Plato’s in Kirkby Lonsdale, and I am devouring the Racing Post, with a glorious picture of the mighty Frankel on its cover, because it is FRANKEL DAY.
It is yet another of the great, cherished days, and I am about to drive over the moors to the Knavesmire. There are no nice hotel rooms free near York, and anyway, this is my place. The Pigeon is going to be looked after for the day on a farm just up the road, where she may romp in the woods as I scream Come on, my son.
There may be need for shouting, this time. Lately, it’s been applauding a victory parade. Now Frankel goes two furlongs into the unknown, with an entire O’Brien gang out to mug him. The race is stuffed with pacemakers and tacticians, all aiming to get Frankel. Memories of the great Brigadier sear the minds of Frankel fans. Can this be the day the champion is brought low?
I am so excited I am shaking. It is about four hundred miles from my front door to York Racecourse; every single of those miles is worth it. It could all be a tremendous let-down, I suppose; Frankel could be interfered with, stumble, just get out of bed on the wrong side. No horse goes on winning like that; unbeaten is a rare word.
Here is what I think is going to happen. I think he will see the extra two furlongs as just more lovely turf upon which to stamp his imperious class. I think he will laugh at the O’Brien tactics. I think St Nicholas Abbey, a horse I also love, will be confounded by Frankel’s mid-race speed. I think there may be more glory than we have seen, even this far. That’s just my gut. I have no science for this.
And now I run to the car. I have on my special Frankel frock; also a nice Frankel jewel. One must be well-turned out, in the presence of greatness. No hat unfortunately, since I dyed my hair last night out of a box and it appears to have gone purple. Never mind. Who cares about aubergine hair when one has the chance to see the greatest horse in a generation?
I’ve written of Frankel so many times; I love him and admire him so keenly that I run out of good words for him. He is, without doubt, the most thrilling horse I ever saw; the most visceral, the most titanic, the most out of the ordinary. He is the one that makes you gasp and shout. Whatever happens today, all that will still be true. He owes none of us one thing; every person who ever saw him has already a cup running over with luck. If he can thrill us again today, then it’s all bonus. It will be like the loveliest racing present anyone could ever give.
In my head, I see all the caveats and pitfalls. In my heart, I imagine a marvellous, romping procession, as Frankel stretches out his great stride, and eats up the Knavesmire, leaving everything else floundering in his wake. It could happen. I eye, gingerly, the William Hill offer of 4-1 to win by ten lengths. My finger hovers over the Place Your Bet button. That would be a punt for pure love, nothing forensic about it. I hear the sweet, ghostly laughter of my dad, from his betting shop in the sky. I think: bugger it. It’s worth a tenner. I think: it’s racing, anything could happen. I think: I love that horse more than I can express.
I think: it’s all very well writing a blog like this on the hoof, but almost certainly none of it makes any sense. I have no time to proof-read. I think: the Dear Readers will understand.