We’ve all experienced the highs and lows that the Cheltenham Festival provides and with the greatest show on turf just around corner, Lewis Jones bares all to reveal his best and worst betting stories over the years…
The Cheltenham Festival has a special place in so many people’s hearts because of the memories. Scenes of unrivalled joy are always captured on camera or in print regarding an owner, trainer or jockey’s moment in the sunshine.
But, what about us? The punters.
Although we aren’t involved directly with the goings on track, the Cheltenham Festival, as a betting medium, can produce amazing moments that we’ll never forget as we do battle with the bookmakers over four days of action. We’ve all had great and disastrous days at Cheltenham.
Here’s my best and worst betting stories.
Tuesday at the Cheltenham Festival is one of THE scorching days in the sporting calendar. Hope springs eternal throughout the land that this will be the year where everything comes together betting-wise. Usually, the dream of cleaning out the bookmakers of house and home is dead by the end of Tuesday, but in 2012 my lucky numbers came up and I landed my biggest ever right hander onto the jaw of the enemy.
Not only did it provide me with a guaranteed huge profit for the entire Cheltenham week, it also ended up paying for a new car, holiday and some vintage Champagne. What a day.
First up was Cinders And Ashes in the Supreme Novices Hurdle at 8/1. Despite absolutely clattering the final flight, he scampered clear. We then moved onto Alfie Sherrin in the big three mile chase handicap. Boom – he justifies my faith with powerful display to win at 14/1. By now, I was getting a little giddy as having backed both in single bets, I also had a juicy each-way Trixie rolling onto Rock On Ruby in the Champion Hurdle.
The noise that emanated from my lungs as Noel Fehily jumped the last in front was one that only a punter that has a winning 8/1, 16/1 and 11/1 Trixie would ever understand. I completely lost my shit in the Cheltenham betting ring, high fiving strangers, repeatly shouting ‘who da man’ and nearly getting a fat lip from a Hurricane Fly backer. It was a betting coup, every punter craves and what keeps us all going through the hard times.
I haven’t got married or had children as yet, but if that feeling if half as good as the rush that was conjured up inside my veins that day then I’m in for a treat.
After a 2012 to remember, I’m still yet to locate my bollocks from the 2013 Festival, if someone finds them please do return them. The Tuesday of that year’s Festival set the tone. I had just started to really get involved with laying horses on the exchanges and had set my stall out to take on all the short priced favourites on the opening day. Oh dear, oh dear. Simonsig (8/15), Hurricane Fly (13/8) and Quevega (8/11) all did the business leaving me flat as a pancake.
What followed for the remainder of that week was a word that none of us want to hear when in the heat of a Cheltenham battle: chase. It ended as all chasing does: very badly. I was playing catch-up for the remainder of the four days and everything that could have gone wrong went wrong betting-wise. Horses that I backed each-way finished fifth, horses I backed to win got done on the line.
We’ve all been there. When Friday was over, I went to sit in a darkened room.
However, we need the bad days to appreciate the good ones. They make us better punters, that’s the theory anyway.
Let’s hope we’re all celebrating come the end of the Grand Annual on the Friday.
Good luck, comrades.