That was the Festival, that was…

Looking back on the Cheltenham Festival last week is a bittersweet affair.

Obviously, the racing is hard to beat anywhere in the world for its colour, competitiveness, and depth of quality. And it’s that heady cocktail of pageantry and punting that makes the Cheltenham Festival a meeting where I really want to have a crack at unraveling some of the toughest betting puzzles in the calendar.

And historically I have at least held my own in the four day skirmish with the bookies. But not this time. This year was a recurring case of so near yet so far, as horse after horse, bet after bet, came second if I’d bet to win or finished fourth or fifth if I’d bet it to place.

It is at times like these when one has to be philosophical about the nature of betting. Fixed odds wagers pay off only when the exact criteria of the bet are matched. If you miss by an inch, you are rewarded no better than if your horse was tailed off last.

I normally satisfy myself in the knowledge that I was at least pretty much right about the outcome, give or take. Of course, it’s that ‘give or take’ involves me giving my stake money up and the bookmaker taking it into his satchel.

My poor run of luck continued into Saturday when I backed the Geegeez-owned race horse, Khajaaly, to win and more significantly to place in a seven furlong handicap at Wolverhampton, a course and distance at which he had performed very well in winning two previous starts. This time, he could manage no better than… you guessed it… fourth.

In fairness, it was a very solid run and, from the perspective of giving the club members something to cheer, it was great. Alas, they, like me, had backed him each way in many cases.

Today sees a drop in class for another horse in which I hold an interest, Night Orbit, as he moves into claiming company having been contesting Class 2 and 3 hurdle races. There are some other significant class droppers in the field so he’s far from sure to make the frame but at 9/1 or thereabouts, I’ll be having a win bet and expecting a second place finish!

Looking forward to the next Festival, Aintree is only just around the corner with the Grand National to be run on April 9th. Before that, however, I have an engagement in Ireland at the Curragh for my first ever race sponsorship deal, the Alleged Stakes, a Listed contest run over a mile and a quarter.

I will be taking some of Mrs Matt’s family (from Cork), some business colleagues, and some lucky prize winners from a competition on my Irish site, to a box there for the day, and am very much looking forward to seeing which horses are declared for the race.

Last year, no less than Irish Derby winner Fame And Glory was sent off the 2/5 favourite, but could only finish third. It would be truly fantastic if such a high class animal was to grace the race with its presence this time around. We’ll see when the declarations are made…


5 thoughts on “That was the Festival, that was…”

  1. Hi Matt

    This looks interesting….the sort of thing I’d like to set up, without being too business orientated.
    Sorry I couldn’t make Aldgate, but, as you know, I had to get to the airport hotel Friday night!!
    The week was ok for me, acutually, Al Ferof, Bensalem, Sizing Europe and that contentious “bird of the night” being highlights. Hope your place/win difficulties didn’t detract from a fab weeks racing

    All the best

  2. Hi Matt,

    Great new site, very easy to read and navigate. Just so you know you are not alone, I caught the second/fourthitus virus over Cheltenham too. Lumpy wins bets on big zeb and peddlers cross were combined with place bets on thousands stars and what a friend. Any of these being successful would have drastically improved my profit /loss spreadsheet. Then Khajaaly followed and a big win bet on hugely exciting went west. Took it easy during last week but the symptoms flared up again this weekend, had William Hogarth to place, Cape Blano ew and of course win bet was Rasam Aldaar. Followed them up today with a win bet on Apache and place bet on capital venture. If you dont know the results guess. Surely this ilness cant last for too long!!! Its soul destroying.


    1. It’ll pass Jim, but the best medicine is normally wallet rest… 😉 Keep your powder dry until your luck is better aligned with your judgment.

  3. Wish I’d seen this earlier, would have had a small fortune on Night Orbit the place……. lol. Sorry Matt if it’s any consolation I’ve been betting NBA lines this year and if I go -6.5 they win by 6 and if I go +10.5 they lose by 11. So I can empathise with your pain brother.

    1. Ouch! That’s nasty Steve. It’s not getting any better. I was sitting in the pub watching England on Saturday, and I couldn’t get a mobile phone signal to back Victoire Pisa in the Dubai World Cup. 12/1… 🙁

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