It's time for the latest in our regular 'Road to Cheltenham' series. I'm delighted to bring you Episode Three.
The Festival like no other, lest we forget, takes place from Tuesday March 12th - Friday March 15th inclusive.
As soon as we get Chrimbo gloriously done and dusted it will hurtle towards us at the speed of sound. Like Sprinter Sacre in his pomp approaching the last.
Matt, Frankie and Joel were deep in entertaining conversation once again. Loads of insightful chat, a few laughs, and bags of passionate debate.
Quite apart from the racing, the chaps were on fine form – we learned for example that Joel’s left his specs in the pub (been there), had a bit of a ‘mare results-wise at weekend (ditto), and then to pull himself out of the mire relied on a successful Willie Mullins' conveyance in the closing bumper that wasn’t even favourite (yep, been there too, far more agreeably).
Frankie watched Paisley Park’s ultra-brave effort in agonising defeat alongside Emma Lavelle at Newbury, and her pride at the old champ’s brilliant run was there for all to see.
As for the horses, discourse aplenty of course regarding Cheltenham on many fronts, not least the current status of Nicky Henderson’s dynamic duo Shishkin and Constitution Hill.
The rescheduled Fighting Fifth is an obvious route for his Champion Hurdler, due to contest it anyway before Newcastle was abandoned - but Nicky is now looking to run Shishkin in this too. Wow. He needs a spin before a tilt at the King George on Boxing Day, and Sandown could just be it.
Frankie was especially complimentary about Constitution - and I got the distinct feeling he reckoned the others would have to start now to get anywhere near him on the opening Tuesday.
Lots of chat about a horse I like in Corbetts Cross, winner of beginners’ chase in Fairyhouse for JP McManus, a gentleman who knows a thing or three about owning Festival winners.
He’s got a couple of possible March assignments, and Grade 1 entries over Xmas. An exciting chasing prospect who you may recall ran out late in the piece when favourite for last season’s Albert Bartlett.
Anyway, enough of the snippets, and my waffle. Tune in, please. Racing chat between fans, enthusiasts, punters – just like us. Four special days in the Cotswolds. Epic doesn’t even touch the sides...
Check out the full episode below - and don't forget to tune in every Monday for a new episode of The Road To Cheltenham.
Stay tuned to Betfred Insights for more Cheltenham Tips as we build-up to the 2024 Festival