Coningsby is fine after his trip to Market Rasen yesterday. We will wait for some better ground in the hope he shows us a little more.
Nothing too serious for the horses this morning, most are race fit and just need ticking over and freshening up between races. I’m not one for continually galloping horses. Sir Egbert, Dorking Cock and a heap of unnamed four year olds schooled over fences. Glory and Fortune and Le Grand Fromage jumped over a line of hurdles. Le Grand Fromage, Dorking Cock and Outlaw Jessie James all head to Newbury tomorrow. To read my thoughts click here.
We seem to have escaped the snow and basked in glorious sunshine most of the day. The birds are singing in the mornings which is something I always enjoy.
Much has been written and said about the Corona virus and the impact it may or may not have on Cheltenham. I believe the media are guilty of blowing it out of proportion.
Below is what Doc Martin thinks of it all:
The Cheltenham festival gained airtime on the National news last night. Only briefly in a list of imminent major sporting gatherings that may be under threat from corona virus.
The scheduled Irish Italy rugby in Dublin has now been called off -possibly to be rescheduled. There is some logic to that. For all that the virus seems most threatening to the elderly or infirm, it was carried from Singapore to the French ski resorts and thence Brighton by young people. Eight young hot snorting Italian forwards engaging in repeated scrums with their Irish counterparts and not a tissue or hand sanitizer between them would raise an eyebrow in Public Health Ireland. And they come with thousands of Italian supporters keen to take in the Dublin craic which has never been described as restrained and respecting personal space. So abandonment makes sense, except that these games go through every year with many and varied winter viruses accepted as inevitably present and touring with their national squads. Perhaps there are features of the corona virus that are causing a much greater level of concern at this early stage than we are being told say the conspiracy theorists. Others feel it is simply easier to abandon than risk criticism. Especially if your decision doesn’t diminish yourmonthly pay packet or till receipts. Wherever you sit on that, the result is a huge loss to the local economy, to the wider economy (advertising franchises etc.), to the sport itself and to those fans travelling to a special city for the first time in many cases. And to those of us that simply love sport of all types and what it brings to our weekends.
Next on the list was The Cheltenham Festival. There are many similarities with the Dublin rugby – a huge influx of people to the area and who knows how many businesses dependent on it for their annual profit. They must be nervous and I sympathize.
But Cheltenham is about the horses and jockeys first and foremost. With sensible precautions (lock the saunas for the week and keep a stiff breeze moving through the weighing room) I cannot imagine the jockeys will be at risk of getting or giving the virus. Which by then is highly likely to be more established in the UK than today. We know the horses to be safe. So for me it means racing can go ahead. TV coverage can be maintained. Online betting can keep the bookies solvent.
We may have to accept no handshaking in the paddock – perhaps even no people other than jockeys trainers and lead up staff in the paddock. The terraces stands bars boxes toilets? Not sure. The local hotels B+Bs? Not sure. It depends a little on how it all unfolds over the next week. But my concern is that some people in authority will take the easy option of an abandonment. And by the way the conspiracy theorists will say that some of those people might have agendas other than purely Public Health including the demise of jump racing. We need to be alert to that.