Tuesday 24 April 2018

And I'm off -- a day at the races is still the highlight of my holidays

Ruby Walsh on Hurricane Fly at last year's Leopardstown Christmas Racing Festival. Photo: Sportsfile
Ruby Walsh on Hurricane Fly at last year's Leopardstown Christmas Racing Festival. Photo: Sportsfile
Ivan Yates

Ivan Yates

Some people just don't get it. Amongst aficionados it's called the 'bug' -- thrills of a day at the races. Today is one of the busiest days of the year for racing, with Leopardstown and Limerick Christmas festivals both starting.

I, along with 55,000 others, hope to attend all four days at the Foxrock venue. The sights and sounds of horse and jockey stretching every sinew to be first past the post can get your heart thumping out of your chest when your money is down. Each race has its own unique drama and build-up. Every horse has its own back story of breeding, rearing, success, setbacks and disappointments.

This is the moment of decision. There's no hiding place. Expectation of victory confronts reality of performance. It's a game of mostly disappointments in the search of a superstar to storm up the hill at Cheltenham.

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