Detecting a winner at the Cheltenham Festival is as difficult as it comes. It’s just once you’ve got a winner throughout the magical four days that you realise you have to savour that special moment for as long as possible. This past year, I had been convinced I was going to do just that.
I am not a lot of Cheltenham Festival ante-post betting fan but I could not keep my hands off a decent price for an interesting runner in the Grade 3 Coral Cup over 2m 4f, which happened on the next day of the Festival.
The horse in question was appropriately appointed and also had the form from the book – Wishfull Thinking.
He first caught my eye with how he battled into a modest triumph at Taunton in January, his third win from four starts. He was certainly progressive and the way he jumped, remained and travelled marked him down as you to keep an eye on. All right, we have gone over the first couple of points concerning look at this, of course you realize they play an important role. Of course we strongly recommend you discover more about them.
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He could not have been more striking on his next excursion, when he absolutely hacked up by 19 lengths at Exeter in February, defying a dual penalty to notch his third victory over hurdles.
Once the entries came out for Cheltenham, I discovered that trainer Philip Hobbs had him entered in the Grade 1 Neptune Investments Management Novices’ Hurdle (2m 5f), as well as the Coral Cup on the same day. The Neptune is a much better quality race compared to the Coral Cup along with the fact that Wishfull Thinking was entered in it revealed the regard where Hobbs held him .
His easy win at Exeter didn’t go unnoticed by the handicapper and he was upped 18lbs in the weights, leaving him with a mark of 144 and a wonderful weight of 11st 2lb at the Coral Cup.
Hobbs chose to take his novice down the handicap course, going for the Coral Cup rather than the Neptune and had booked promising conditional Giles Hawkins to take the ride. Everything was set up for a significant run from Wishfull Thinking.
Having snapped up some each-way costs at 16-1 and 12-1, I was convinced of obtaining a return, even though he had to conquer a 28-strong field. I told each man and his dog that this was my banker of the assembly. Dunguib who?
Hawkins had Wishfull Thinking settled in mid-division before making stealthy headway on the last circuit. He was urged along for a few strides coming down the mountain but he was soon back on the bridle and travelling against the leading pack with only two hurdles left to jump.
I was getting more and more animated as I saw from afar in the crowded stands, and, as he cruised into third place, I could not help but think he seemed the likely winner. Festivals like these do add colors to any person life.
Subsequently it went horribly wrong. As Wishfull Thinking popped on the second-last, he stumbled on landing and took a crashing fall, sending Giles Hawkins into the ground. I was gutted.