Stepping inside the ropes again
I am even more intense than usual, today, Blog. Even more preoccupied. And absolutely unapproachable. The run-up to Cheltenham and Royal Ascot always takes it’s toll on not just me, but also all of those around me.
I try to lighten up a bit. I try to distract myself, but it just doesn’t work. I know that the hiding places are fewer and fewer each day we move closer to the festival. This is an uncomfortable feeling, like when you’re about to have an operation, but there’s nowhere else I should be. I NEED to be at Cheltenham; like a bird that flies around the world, I don’t know why I keep going back, but I do. I can taste blood; congealed and thick in my mouth. It’s time to play.
One of our biggest racing punters; ‘The Dark Knight’, is always very active at the festival meetings. Two words that have been used again and again to describe him, during his lifetime in the game, have been; ‘granite’, and ‘hard’. Well, in the last year, I can tell you that he’s been a VERY hard man to beat, and has certainly been putting me to the sword at times. Even at his advanced years, he lives up to his reputation. He rarely ‘gets going’, he so rarely loses his cool. BUT, that doesn’t mean he NEVER finds himself off kilter. Just once in a while I can get him ‘off the bridle’. And one of those few occasions, before, has been at Cheltenham. He moves around the World from palace to mansion, from mansion to hotel suite, and interludes on his yacht for the odd break. Although his vast selection of lairs and snug abodes differ in their position and style, they all have one thing in common; they are his power-bases, and they ALL have the racing and football available for him to watch. Wherever he is on Tuesday, whatever meetings and commitments he will have later that day, they will all go on hold for three hours. Cheltenham and RA are meetings when he really comes out to play. He bosses the market and although he doesn’t like to admit it; he likes to. It gives him a kick to still be in charge of the ring he has now risen so far above. I’m going to challenge him again, though. I’m going to invite him inside the ropes for another sparring session. I’m going to see if I can wobble him on the first day and see if, just for a few days, I can be the tamer. I know he can’t wait for the short-ones on Tuesday – it’s his kind of card. Guess what, Blog? It’s my kind of card too…so let’s get it on…!
In other news:
Como Lario, one of both Bill Esdaile and Harry Macadam’s favourite restaurants, has been upgraded from a ‘quite good’ to a ‘very good’. I’ve been there before, a number of years ago, with Harry, and I have to say I found it a bit bland. Today, however, it was superb. We plumped for the Sunday set-menu, and for £17.95 in Central London, you’re not going to do much better for a three-course Italian. I kicked off with a bruschetta, then had a bit of sea-bream, and finished up with a slice of cheesecake. Faultless from start to finish. Is it as good as Scalini? No. But it’s not nearly as expensive or pretentious either.
Going off to do some more brooding. Unbridled and almost blind ambition, isn’t always easy to live with.