This was my submission to BBC Radio 4 Extra's Newsjack this week. I was fortunate to have tickets. And they didn't use it!! So for my loyal reader, Arthur in Cheltenham, I hope the scarring heals by the weekend.
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Clare Balding: (or at least a sound-alike) Welcome to Cheltenham for the 12:50 Race: the School Dinner Stakes. A highly anticipated and controversial race after the hullabaloo of recent weeks. What are the latest odds? Over to Tarquin Pompous-Overdresser!
Tarquin P-O: Thank you Clare; a woman with a body to die for.
Clare: And I’m driving the hearse! Get on with it!
Tarquin P-O: A lively filly no doubt! We have Lamb Kofta widely fancied at eight to one. A lively little number: closely followed by Sausage Casserole at tens and Turkey Twizzler at twelve to one. A couple of tasty options there but for those with a fancy for the unknown we have Unspecified Moulding at a most generous two hundred and fifty to one. Punters with long memories will recall if they had a shilling or two on Foinavon. Popularly known as Scragg End in his stables! The hardened hacks however are piling their pennies on Shepherd’s Pie, best turned out horse in the paddock today with a £100 bonus for his stable lad, young Oliver James.
Clare: Thanks Tarquin! The runners and riders are at the tape. Peter O’Toolivan will run down the start for us.
Peter: (well spoken, slightly strained voice) Yes Clare, Shepherd’s Pie looking splendid here at the start. Looking quite imperious. Turkey Twizzler looking a little unsettled there, Lamb Kofta alongside. The starter Major James Tightly-Belted-Raincoat is there on his rostrum, the flag is raised and THEY’RE OFF!! Tucked in early on the rails is Sausage Casserole. Just behind is Turkey Twizzler and one of the outsiders Beef Lasagne. Beef Lasagne still holding his ground there, Lamb Kofta tucked in behind as they approach the first fence. And they are all over. No! No! I was mistaken there. A refusal! A refusal for Greasy Cheeseburger! No surprise there he’s had few takers this season. The field keeping well tucked together here as we cross the Melling Road for the first time as I hand over to Michael O’Herliherliherlihy.
Michael: (In excitable and highly stereotypical, slightly high-pitched Irish accent) Beef Lasagne taking over at the front there, Shepherd’s Pie still looking comfortable, keeping out of trouble. Trailing a long way behind is Non-Meat Option, looking very lonely over there on the far side. Coming up fast on the inside there is Chilli Meatballs as we approach Becher’s for the first time. Chilli Meatballs up, over, and stumbles on the other side and Chilli Meatballs all over the place. Cottage Pie brought down with her there. Stable mate of Shepherd’s Pie. Very difficult to tell them apart unless you’re a regular punter. A couple more fallers there too. Lamb Kofta looking very heavy a few lengths behind the field, dragging and sticking in the heavy ground. It’s over the Melling Road again and back over to Peter O’Toolivan.
Peter: Non-Meat Option has been withdrawn and we have four horses still in with a shout of becoming steaks. Sorry, I meant wining the Stakes. Shepherd’s Pie still looking very comfortable on the shoulder of Sausage Casserole. Turkey Twizzler and Beef Lasagne in the centre of the course there running stride for stride as we approach The Chair. Two loose horses running ahead of the field. Looks like Glue Pot and Dog’s Breakfast who unseated their riders at Becher’s. Disaster for Shepherd’s Pie. Dog’s Breakfast has pulled up in front and Shepherd’s Pie is gone. Sausage Casserole goes with him, its chaos at the Chair! Beef Lasagne and Turkey Twizzler are gone too and through the mayhem comes Unspecified Moulding. There are no other horses running. Unspecified Moulding is the only choice left, the two hundred and fifty to one outside. All he needs to do is to keep upright over the last and the run in. His trainer had no real hope thinking he was a little undercooked for this race, but what a story, an incredible fairytale. It’s Foinavon all over again. The crowd are on their feet. It’s unspecified Moulding who is going to win the School Dinner Stakes. Just the last to go. He’s gone! He’s gone! Unspecified Moulding is a faller at the last! He’s gone down! (SFX Profuse and Violent Vomiting) No! He’s back up again! Unspecified Moulding is up and all over the place but still going, staggering now but he’s over the line. The Winner of the School Dinner Stakes! What a story!