Would love to tell you the whole story of the day, but I’ve never been so tired in my life. However, just have enough life in my fingers to type the love and delight I felt when my two best beloveds, Hurricane Fly and Quevega, stormed up the hill, defying all statistics.
On paper, in particular, the darling old Hurricane should not have won. No horse has regained the Champion Hurdle for forty years, and, aside from that dark stat, he is really considered too old, at nine, to do the business. But the lucky thing is that no one told that brave fella that everything was against him. He stuck his neck out and lengthened his stride and left brilliant horses in his wake. I backed him in cash, on the course, and I had him in a huge all for love double with the mighty mare, Quevega, and the brilliant Ruby Walsh guided them both home.
I am not ashamed to say that I burst into wild tears of joy. After Quevega, I actually HUGGED a completely strange young man in the Jockey Club stand.
The whole course erupted with joy both times. That’s the difference between being there and watching it on the television. As you stand, in the wonderful roiling cauldron that is Prestbury Park, you hear thousands of people calling RUBY RUBY RUBY, with one joyful voice. You also see the glorious wide smile of that wonderful jockey, and see the pricked ears and gentle preening of the beautiful, clever, good thoroughbreds that he rides.
I’m glad I won money, of course I am. But much more than that, I shall never forget the day I saw two mighty Irish champions smash records and make history. It really was a thing of utmost beauty. Even thinking of it now brings tears to my eyes.
And now, I’m going to have a restorative pint of Guinness and switch on the recording, so I can see on the screen those wonderful horses refuse to be denied.
Cheltenham. There really is nothing like it, in the whole wide world. Best five hundred and fifty miles I ever drove.