Friday, March 18, 2011

Cheltenham's the Place to Be Today

Last year at Cheltenham, the celebrity riders, trainers and familiar faces got together and recorded a song about the race meet that they all love so much for a charity fundraiser.

In Gloucestershire, England they run a four-day National Hunt race meeting that is like no other in the world. It's like Saratoga on steroids: the best horses, the (hopefully) best weather, and a few hundred thousand of your very best friends all make sure that you have an unforgettable time.

Today, Friday, is the last day and it all culminates in the Gold Cup. Old rivals--and stablemates--Demman and Kauto Star may be eleven now, but they're heading out again. Kauto Star has won it twice. Denman won it once and was second twice. Oh, and there are some other horses in the race, too, like Imperial Commander, who beat both of them last year. (Denman was second, Kauto Star fell.) That these three Gold Cup winners could be back to challenge each other again is the flip side of the chronic unsoundness we take for granted in racehorses. These jumping horses, at their age, must have tendons of steel. The Gold Cup is three miles, two furlongs...with hills.

The sad thing is, this will probably be their last meeting. Safe run, you old boys!

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