Cheltenham Et Al: The Best of Alastair Down

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Cheltenham Et Al: The Best of Alastair Down

Cheltenham Et Al: The Best of Alastair Down

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Upon the creation of British Petroleum in 1954, he was sent to Canada to set up the company's subsidiary, BP Canada, in part because of his experience on the general staff in the Canadian Army. In Double Trigger they meet in a chemistry that the old alchemists sought unavailingly for generations,” wrote Down. On his favourite racehorse: 'I'll still thump anyone who doesn ' t appreciate that Rondetto was the greatest chaser of all time.

Nicky Henderson, God bless him, used to be unspeakable to almost in late February; he’s got much calmer now but the pressure of handling a big team for important people in our game, going into the meeting, these pressures are intense and you are looking for the slightest thing to go wrong which it inevitably does. There’s a very good reason that that cheer goes up when the tapes go up; because people have been waiting for the start of the meeting or a particular race or the Gold Cup and they love it. The ruddy-faced Down, who would use Channel Four’s ad breaks to smoke a cigarette to calm his nerves, does not miss his television role. I mean, it ran, but it ran about as quick as I could – I nearly became a Republican that day I was so cross! There is some cruelty in its beauty, it’s a very hard place and I have seen desperate tragedies to horse and human there and you know that those risks are being run on your behalf.His son Peter was a champion jockey – and now runs a successful stable in Scotland with his partner Lucida Russell. I have a great memory of Jim Old at Cheltenham and I still can't believe how the day panned out on the Friday of the 1999 Festival. Down left British Petroleum in 1975 and was appointed chairman of Burmah Oil, which he rescued from the verge of bankruptcy.

Most notably for me was the loss of Kauto Star, and his eulogy of my favourite ever racehorse encapsulated all I felt on the day I heard he had died. His knowledge of racing comes from a deep love of the sport, both the equine and human counterparts.Alastair Down on the Cheltenham Festival: 'To go there and stand witness to extraordinary events is a rare and wonderful act of being at one with your fellow clutterers of the planet . One of them said I had fulfilled their lifetime ambition as he went into his local pub in Shipston on Stour that night which was full of people from Cheltenham and he bought everyone in the pub a drink because he had backed it at 250/1! Then I thought betting was very easy; ‘You just back the white one - it’s so very simple, I don’t know why everybody else doesn’t do that! Cheltenham et Al offers a generous collection of his very best columns, providing the Down angle on the great horses, jockeys and trainers; the famous races which remain indelibly in the sport's collective memory; the controversies; the laughs - in short, the highs and the lows of racing.

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