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At this time of the year I am usually super stressed finalising the Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide which always went to print the Wednesday after Betfair Hurdle day but, now I have taken that weight off my shoulders, I can enjoy myself in the lead up to Cheltenham for a change. Therefore it’s off to Newbury for the racing this afternoon followed by The Who at Wembley tonight, which will probably be the last time I see them after giving me so much pleasure down the years.
I’ll also be hanging around in London for a few days as, in my capacity as a feature writer for the Grand National Meeting in their racecard, I am attending the Grand National Weights Lunch on Tuesday at The Sky Garden. I’ll highlight anything of interest to crop up from that in a later blog. I’m pretty sure last year when Oliver Sherwood was interviewed that he stated that it was highly unlikely that Many Clouds would run! Mr Grand National, Trevor Hemmings, had other ideas. Still, it’s a bloody good lunch. The present Mrs Jones is going to have to amuse herself on Valentines Day.
Good news for cricket fans, you won’t have me providing the T20 World Cup analysis which starts next month and will be covered in the Sport section. As much as I enjoy the event, I have put my ego to one side and delighted to say that Paul Smith, who is much more of an expert in all matters leather and willow, will be covering the event for us and the England test matches this summer. If you recognise the name but can’t place him, Paul is a member of The Racing Post spotlight team and is especially good at sniffing out who is up to what in very bad races on the all-weather. I also worked alongside Paul for two years at gg.com after we were both at Weatherbys. Anyway, he knows his cricket far better than me so will be providing a pre-tournament preview as part of the All-Inclusive Service a week before the event plus previews of all matches once the big eight teams enter the event.
Phil Mickelson is going well at Pebble Beach as I hoped being just one shot off the lead at the half-way stage so hopefully he can keep that going. Any odds-against quotes for a Top Ten at The Masters should be snapped up immediately. It’s an annual standing order bet for me, that, usually one of my biggest bets of the year, and he was second last year but I’d be even more confident this year that he’ll be in the Top Ten again at Augusta given how close he looks to be being firing on all cylinders.