Chapman's Monday Yeeehaaa – Matt's say on Cheltenham Festival dilution, Milton Bradley and racing's big talking points

I’VE been dreaming lately. Most of my dreams are pretty saucy. But the latest was horsey. Never mind!

There’s been much talked about the unlikely clash at Cheltenham between any of the outstanding novices in Shishkin, Envoi Allen and Monkfish.

Whatever anyone says, this is simply because of the constant dilution of the meeting.

Cheltenham is no longer what it once was, which was the culmination of a top class jumper’s season in the ultimate showdown.

Now Cheltenham is about more chances to win, and of course trainers, owners and jockeys have mostly said it’s wonderful. They would, wouldn’t they?

Real people, though, understand that the more races you add the less class you need. So we are where we are.


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Now don’t get me wrong here, Cheltenham is still amazing. But it’s no longer all about class or finding out who is the best of the best. Quite simply, there are far too many options.

So we have these three novices. We all want them to meet. But we know it won’t happen at Cheltenham.

And then it came to me. The dream of dreams. The 2023 King George at Kempton.

There’s no reason then why Shishkin, who will have hacked up in the 2022 Queen Mother Champion Chase, Envoi Allen, who will have landed the Ryanair although everyone will have forgotten about it, and Monkfish, who stormed up the hill in that year’s Gold Cup,wouldn’t all meet at Kempton.

This dream can become reality.

Former scribe Paul Haigh died the other day. I worked with Paul for a little while and most recently went on a trip to China with him.

I loved reading his work when I was growing up, and he could certainly keep one’s attention.

I last saw him on a trip to China that he got me involved in, and I have to say he was entertaining throughout.

He also recently tweeted support for me for something I said on TV that he thought I was risking my job by saying.

Paul appreciated honesty and the bravery of writing or saying things publicly.

I'm afraid as the world changes there will be less and less of that in print in the future. Which is a bit sad.

Milton Bradley has retired. I’ve spoken to Milton much over the years, and he’s always been a character and done so well with cheap horses.

My main conversation with him recently came over The Tatling, who I booked Darryll Holland to ride and the pair took the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot.

I know that meant so much to Milton and having claimed the horse for £15,000 it was a tremendous piece of training. Have a great retirement Milton. Indeed, have a Yeeehaaa!

It’s a quiet week for me on the racing front, but I’m off to Lingfield Saturday and Southwell Sunday for Sky Sports Racing. I’m already buzzing for those trips.

That’s lockdown for you!


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