Tell us your first Cheltenham Festival memory?

The 2002 Royal & SunAlliance Novices’ Hurdle. I remember being a fan of a horse called Keen Leader (trained by Jonjo O’Neill) and thought he’d win. He was travelling strongly in the hands of Liam Cooper heading to the second last, but came down. I was devastated, given I was full sure I would have been collecting the tiny bet my grandfather had put on him for me. In the end, a Polish-bred horse called Galileo won for Tom George and Jason Maguire, a year after the other Galileo won the Derby at Epsom.

What was your best day’s racing or betting at the Festival?

Sorry to the after-timer police in advance! My best day’s racing at the Festival was the March 17th, 2017. Sizing John won the Gold Cup. It was my maiden trip to Prestbury Park. Between not being able to afford going in my teenage years, “studying” at university later on and then my own job being within the industry (someone had to man the office!), I had never actually attended a Cheltenham Festival. I got there this day though, St Patrick’s Day too, and had a 50/1 ante-post bet running on Sizing John.

Everyone thought he was going to run in the Ryanair that year, myself included in truth, but I took a chance and got lucky. I watched it all unfold down by the second last, and to be honest, I lost my mind shouting him home. A couple of friends said I was slapping the rail where we were standing so hard, the place was shaking!

Any bad experiences you’d like to tell us about?

Apart from getting on the wrong night train at London Paddington, supposedly travelling to Cheltenham Spa, and ending up somewhere near Taunton, no bad experiences to report at all.

Is there any particular race at the meeting you’ve always been lucky in?

It’s generally swings and roundabouts each year, but having looked back at some past results, the race now called the Paddy Power Plate, on Thursday, has been kind to me more than most.

What’s your least favourite race of the Festival and why?

Probably the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle for the simple reason, I don’t think I’ve ever backed the winner of the race.

What horse gave you your biggest win at Cheltenham?

Sizing John, but I’ve got to give a special mention to 2010 Coral Cup winner Spirit River. I love that horse.

What horse was your biggest heartbreak loser at Cheltenham?

Like most people, there have been a few! I’m just going to assume Champagne Fever’s Arkle is on everyone’s list, but top of my long list is probably Lil Rockerfeller in the 2017 Stayers’ Hurdle. It was one of Ruby Walsh’s great rides on the winner Nichols Canyon. I remember falling to my knees in disgust after. What a game

Describe your standard Cheltenham Festival week?

It starts on Sunday when Tuesday’s decs come out. See the final fields, do the race pace maps and get an update on prices. Work on Monday. Travel to Cheltenham Tuesday morning. Attend Tuesday and Wednesday’s racing before getting back to the office for Thursday and Friday’s action.

And what’s your best tip for the 2022 Festival?

Saint Sam in the Turners Novices’ Chase. I’m a huge fan of this horse, still only five, and I love his attitude, early pace and bold jumping. I can see him loving the New Course at Cheltenham and the step out in trip, having been outpaced after two out in the Irish Arkle. I’ve backed him NRNB for the race and will look to get him on side in the ‘Without’ markets on the day. ?