I’m not going to Cheltenham this year. There I said it.
I’m taking a hiatus from my favorite trip this year. This will be the third Festival I’ve missed since 2002. Herniated discs in my neck in 2016. Covid last year. And now this year, for a variety of reasons. I’m OK with it this year. Just.
And, believe me when someone says it’s better on TV, that’s simply a justification on why they’re not there. I watched, heard, felt Sprinter Sacre roll past Sizing Europe at the third-to-last in the 2013 Queen Mother, snapping photos, ricocheting chills off my arms as the big bay lowered into another gear and Barry Geraghty took a pull. I watched from the couch three years later when the chasing icon rejoined the elite, it felt a world away. Which it was. Reading George Baker’s blog the next day reaffirmed the distance.
But, again, that’s OK. It’s been a hard two years for everyone and it’s not time to go on a lark to Cheltenham. Miles and I are going to the beach to watch it with my dad. Dad is 87. Miles is 13.
Also, with a full roster of horses, with weekend trips from Keeneland to Queen’s Cup, I’ll be traveling plenty as winter turns to spring and spring turns to summer. And, of course, Saratoga and its eight weeks of manic and mayhem. So, alas, Cheltenham will go on without me this year. Tell her I said hello and I’ll see her soon.