Echo racing editor Jonathan Herbert celebrates 18th Cheltenham Open
Gloucestershire Echo racing editor Jonathan Herbert is celebrating his 18th Cheltenham Open meeting. Here he looks back on some of the highs:
As the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun.
Amazingly, this is the 18th time I’ve covered the Open meeting for the Gloucestershire Echo and yet it doesn’t seem a minute since the first one. I look exactly the same, honest!
It gets bigger every year in terms of crowds and there are no signs of its popularity waning.
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It’s my favourite meeting of the year and I still get the same buzz of excitement walking up to the course as I did back when, little did I know, I would enjoy one of the best seats in the house to watch the likes of McGregor The Third and
Spot Thedifference dominate the cross-country chase, future Gold Cup hero Denman win over hurdles and Rhinestone Cowboy serve up notice of the talent to come with victory in a bumper.
Looking through the list of past winners at the Open, I don’t mind admitting there are plenty of others I can’t remember anything about, but I’m sure that at the time they were the focus of my world as I filed copy back to the lads on the sports desk.
Naturally, the Paddy Power Gold Cup in its various guises (the name seems to change every year) has dominated the coverage, starting with the unforgettable Dublin Flyer in 1995.
As racing editor of the Echo I always take extra enjoyment when horses trained in the county win big races, so it was great to see Senor El Betrutti lift the big prize for Sue Nock, Imperial Commander and Little Josh strike gold for Nigel Twiston-Davies and Exotic Dancer do the business for Jonjo O’Neill.
Who knows what the next 18 years will bring, but if they’re anything like that the last 18, bring it on!