Sport is all about stories. Sport needs great stories, and on Wednesday we had two. Altior, the best horse in training, won with a performance that showed all his class, but also a lot of heart as he put a not-entirely-convincing jumping effort aside to win with guts.
There were a lot of hearts in mouths as he went over the last, but Nico de Boinville kept his nerve, and Nicky Henderson’s stable star produced a win that might not have been his most emphatic, but was in some ways his most impressive. This horse is a relentless winning machine.
Then my beloved Tiger Roll, well on his way to being the most popular horse in training, produced a commanding, joyful run in the Cross Country to romp home by 22 lengths, as I knew he would when I tipped him here – and when I was backing him all winter.
I joked with Gordon Elliott afterwards that he had run him in the wrong race, and that he should have gone for the Gold Cup. An all-too-rare pair of reverses for the bookmakers this week, but it would not be Cheltenham if it were not a roller coaster from first moment to last.
Altior and Tiger Roll made for remarkable sport, but the best story of the Festival would be Paisley Park winning the Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle.