Back last October, which seems an awful long time ago now, I was looking forward to a new jump season with relish.
Now the season is over and it is time to look back.
Back then I asked the following questions:-
Will Kauto Star carry on from where he left off last season and will he ever jump a last fence without inducing a coronary on those watching? Which Black Jack Ketchum will turn up this year? Is Denman the next super horse? Will Voy Por Ustedes end up being my Cheltenham banker for the third year running?
Well the season is over and we have some answers – are they decisive answers, well that is a matter of opinion.
Well Kauto Star did carry on from where he left off, after an expected defeat in his first outing but then went on to show he was also fallible and beatable – most notably in the Gold Cup where he only just managed to scrape second place between two of his stable mates.
His last fence jumping was OK – he seemed to transfer his trickery to the second last!!
Sadly it was the inconsistent Black Jack who turned up for most of the season. However Inglis Drever was the real star in the long distance hurdles, taking an unprecedented third World Hurdle – he is never flash, only just does enough and as a result tends not to get the acclamation he deserves.
As for Denman well he has done nothing wrong this season with devastating victories in the Hennessey and Cheltenham Gold Cup and quite frankly the world looks to be his oyster next season.
Voy Por Ustedes has been a killer for me – doing nothing for most of the season, failing at Cheltenham – but over 2½ miles at Aintree he was devastating and next season will be another good one for him.
Other memories from the season well anyone who was at Cheltenham will never forget the awesome display from Master Minded in the Queen Mother – the most convincing annihilation of a high class field that has been seen in many a long while.
Talking of Cheltenham, there are many who want to see the return to a three day festival – this year they had their wish but not in the way they expected, when day to had to be Cancelled.
As a result the two remaining days had ten and nine races respectively – a great feast of racing but absolutely exhausting for those of us working and having to cover the racing.
Of course there were the black days as well – especially at the early Cheltenham meetings where the second last claimed too many victims.
Two of our top riders suffered potential career ending injuries. Tony McCoy was very lucky to escape with only a chipped vertebra following a terrible fall at Warwick.
Mick Fitzgerald is still on the long road to recovery following a crashing fall from L’Ami in the Grand National.
There is a very fine line between glory and disaster in the wonderful sport that is National Hunt racing.
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