Cheltenham Gold Cup 1987 It’s strange to think back to the 80s really, in that there are so many stark difference to today’s world. Where now I wind down in the evening with casinos online, or a streaming service, back then I’d probably have been on my way home from Blockbuster video. Of course though, despite that, some things are timeless and the Cheltenham Gold Cup certainly ticks that box.

The 1987 Cheltenham Gold Cup proved to be a dramatic renewal of the three-and-a-quarter-mile contest, not least because Prestbury Park was engulfed by a blizzard as the runners were being saddled, causing the start to be delayed by an hour and 20 minutes. Racecourse officials attempted to start the race at its advertised off-time, 3.30pm, but with the safety of paramount concern, the horses were recalled from the start and returned to the stables. An anxious wait ensued but, finally, at 4.51pm, the twelve runners set off around what commentator Sir Peter O’Sullevan described as the “snow-sprinkled arena”.

When they did, Cybrandian, trained by Peter Easterby and ridden by Chris Grant, took the field along, jumping well at the head of affairs. An impressive start, much like my experience on the best online casino sites. Future winner Charter Party was an early casualty, parting company with jockey Richard Dunwoody at the first open ditch, but the remaining eleven runners were all still standing heading out on the final circuit. The eventual winner, The Thinker, trained by Arthur Stephenson and Ridley Lamb, was last jumping the water for the second time, but made steady progress from the rear and moved into a close third at the fourth-last fence. A mistake at the third-last halted his progress and he still trailed Cybrandian and the ‘old man’, Wayward Lad, by now a 12-year-old, turning for home.

However, not for the first time in his career, Wayward Lad failed to sustain his effort up the infamous Cheltenham hill and Cybrandian hung badly right in the closing stages, although, to his credit, he battled on to finish second. In a driving finish, The Thinker – a well-backed 13/2 second favourite – edged ahead close home to win by 1 ½ lengths, with Door Latch snatching a highly creditable third place, in a photograph, from West Tip.

Lockdown Birthday Blues! Not one to typically make a big deal of birthday’s , this year my inclination to keep it quite was in fact taken out of my hands anyway. This never-ending lockdown we’ve found ourselves in made the decision for me, which is quite amusing in a strange kind of way. It led to me actually thinking that I should have made a bigger deal about it all of those years I had the opportunity to. Still, rather than celebrate now I’ve mentally logged the occasion, and in a kind of ‘In the Future when all’s well’ way have put together a plan to go to the races with family and friends when the world isn’t quite so out of sorts!

It’s funny how lockdown and a world on pause has altered our behaviour. Now instead of bricks and mortar establishments we’re all heading to the safety and convenience of the best online casinos and the like. And who can forget the madness of the Grand National being cancelled last year and replaced with a virtual version! Whereas this works perfectly with a casino, the idea of cheering on a virtual horse compared to rooting for one you’ve followed for its entire career just doesn’t really cut it! I would have preferred to watch the event without a crowd. I expect Tiger Roll’s owners – eyeing up a record three Grand Nations in a row will have shared that sentiment.

I was chatting to a friend who moved to Canada recently, ironically as we played best online slots canada, and he informed me that restrictions aren’t quite so bad there right now, so it’s an unusual and worrying time where we’re all living in parallel worlds. I’d like to think / hope that a few months down the road we’ll have crowds back on race courses (unfortunately I suspect too late for this years Cheltenham Festival and Grand National) and a little more of a sense of normality. Lord knows that’s what we will need sometime soon. So as I blow out my birthday cake candle (that’s not to suggest that this is my first birthday!), my wish is that the year eventually heads towards a welcome sense of normality for all! Fingers crossed!