The three-day glacial freeze/thaw and epic scouring wind in the Prestbury Park bowl has turned me into a fair approximation of the The Old Man of Hoy. My face has been chiselled into features craggy enough that outdoor types want to embed climbing nuts in my permanently furrowed brow.

I had a hangover yesterday morning so piercing that I thought the cast from Stomp were rehearsing in my brain. I couldn't manage a fry up until dangerously near the off-time of the first race.

I didn't find a single winner at all on World Hurdle Day. My pockets, on-line accounts and children's piggy banks are empty. Cleaned out. Mother Hubbard is empathising.

And yet, what a fantastic festival it is. I can't imagine one single place I would rather have been this week.

Today presents an opportunity for some juvenile relaxation over a Doom Bar or two in the pub with a dozen or so lairy, fired up mates who think they can still fleece both the bookies and each other in the final of the Fantasy Festival.

Is there anything left to go to war with today? A last rousing effort smacking of doomed bravado last seen at a well known cavalry charge near Balaclava (a useful piece of clothing this week) identifies the following:

1.30 - Triumph Hurdle
Kashmir Peak (16-1 ante-post)

2.05 - County Hurdle
Cotton Mill (8-1 ante post)
Ifandbutwhynot (9-1)

2.40 - Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle
Our Vinnie (16-1 e-w ante-post)

3.20 - Cheltenham Gold Cup
Silviniaco Conti (15-2 and 9-2 ante-post)
With the Nicholls' yard yet to find a winner at the festival, I am much less bullish about this bet than I was last week.

4.00 - Foxhunters
Cottage Oak (9-1 - minimum stakes)

4.40 - Martin Pipe Hurdle
Bourne (25-1 e-w)

5.15 - Grand Annual
Tetlami (18-1 e-w)

And nap of the day? This little beauty, spotted in a loose gallop on the way up to the track yesterday:



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