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Something to Live For

Nothing induces greater depths of self-pity in me than succumbing to a vomiting bug. So when I found myself on the bathroom floor at 1.00am with my head down the toilet bowl, you’ll appreciate that I’d reached the low point in my week. Probably the lowest point in quite a few weeks.

The World might be in chaos: Australia is on fire (again), the European project is falling apart, the American’s are impeaching their President and the Chinese have invented a deadly new virus – but none of that mattered to me in the early hours of the morning. I distinctly heard myself moaning “I want to die, I want to die, I want to die… Eoughhh…”

I haven’t caught Coronavirus by the way – I didn’t even drink too much Corona, before any of you write in to suggest that this condition was self-inflicted. Although apparently Google searches for the beer have increased more than a thousand percent since news of the Chinese viral outbreak went viral. The Times noted that an Australian soft drink called SARS enjoyed a similar boost to its profile and sales during the 2003 global health scare too.

The evening before I had enjoyed a particularly delicious meal – duck liver, followed by a joyously juicy slightly-pink steak and Tarte Tatin. But I’m not going to tell you any more about that because I don’t want you to lose sympathy for me. I’m just saying that all of these dishes gave considerable pleasure the first time round – and less than none on their second appearance.

So anyway, there I was wishing that I was dead and feeling sorry for myself; hoping to be scooped up by a pair of beautiful angels and lifted towards heaven – which might have been a shade optimistic given my life’s work in racing. But even being cast into a fiery hell for eternity seemed quite appealing at that point – anything really…

And then gradually I began to feel a little bit better. I thought about my ante-post wager on Not So Sleepy in the Champion Hurdle and wondered whether I should have a small saver on Pentland Hills, who looked hard-done by at Haydock the other day.

No matter what else is going on in the World, the Cheltenham Festival has always cut through – annually reinforcing the point that it is the most exciting thing that ever happens on our planet.

Then I remembered that this Saturday and Sunday is Cheltenham Trials Weekend at Musselburgh Racecourse. And I began to think that maybe there was something to live for after all. Because there are some great races and a sprinkling of Cheltenham clues to be found. It’d be a shame to depart before I’ve collected the winnings from this week’s selection: Dear Sire in the Bet365 Scottish Champion Chase at 2.40pm on Saturday.

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