One day never comes…?

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“Just landed.”

“Just confirming that we have declared Valdez for tomorrow at Cheltenham, 2:05 p.m. and Choc is booked to ride. Best of luck. Everything is crossed!”

“Focus on your enjoyment and remember it is only a horse race, nothing compared to friends and family…”

The first text is from my sister Sheila, traveling with my 79-yeard-old father. Once they’re delivered to their hotel, the people will be in place.

The second email is from Charlotte Burke of Alan King racing. Whew.

The third email is from my great friend, Richard Hutchinson. He is right, but please remind me of that about 2:05 p.m.

Badges and passes, some at will call, some hand-delivered, some last-minute, will be in place by the first race Tuesday. The horse, out of my hands, is in place. The ground, certainly out of my hands, is drying out with each ray of sunshine. Stunning day yesterday, the long, wet winter is over.

Taunton today. Cheltenham tomorrow, there is talk of watering the course by the end of the week. Hard to believe. We’ll take it.

We’ve watched all the videos, downloaded all the betting guides, talked about all the scenarios. We’ve analyzed the race. We’ve researched the hotels. We’ve diagrammed hidden routes over Cleeve Hill and through the back way of Cheltenham.

Tomorrow. 2:05. The Racing Post Arkle. Valdez.

Before you say it, I understand there is some solace, some achievement, in getting here…to have a runner at Cheltenham. From the first day, back in 2002, I’ve said it over and over to anybody who listened – and plenty that didn’t, “I’ll have a runner at Cheltenham one day.”

All going well, that will happen tomorrow.

It’s an accomplishment, an achievement, one I don’t take lightly. But, it’s a competitive game whether you’re a jockey, trainer, punter or owner.

“I’ll have a runner at Cheltenham one day” will change to “I’ll have a winner at Cheltenham one day.”

When is the question.