We are well and truly in the calm and the storm of the jump racing season is about to hit. This weekend of March 24th, Aiken SC begins the 2018 jump season. There are plenty of sets of itchy feet, both 2 legged and four. This of course, brings the 23rd Queen’s Cup that little bit closer too. Once the flag drops on the first race of the season, it is only a matter of weeks before the unofficial start to summer in Charlotte rolls in.
All that said, at the headquarters of jump racing in Prestbury Park, deep in the Cotswolds of England the Cheltenham Festival ran its 4 days of racing last week. For those of you that don’t know, the Cheltenham Festival is the panicle of the sport. In 4 days, there are over 10 grade 1 races and over $6 million in purse money. The best horse and riders descend on the famous course and over 250,000 people pay homage to the Olympics of jump racing.
I have been lucky enough to ride there on a few occasions and I can tell you first hand that it is an experience not to be missed. The crowd are some of the most knowledgeable anywhere in the world. For the horses and riders, there is no tomorrow so that means that every piece of prep work is going in for just one day. Nothing left to improve on and no day as important. When you add all those things up, it has the potential to brew up a storm of epic proportion.
Now, while the Queen’s Cup isn’t the Cheltenham Festival, it is a leader in its field here in the USA. Probably the most picturesque course in the whole country and the standard of racing leaves very little to be desired. We also don’t have 4 days of sport or 250,000 people but maybe that’s why it’s so special.
See you at the races.