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Cheltenham 2013 | Sport

Sprinter Sacre: The Sensation of Cheltenham


THEY climbed and clambered on the flower beds, stood wobbly on wheelie bins, shoved their way in toward the barrier of the parade ring to await the arrival of  Sprinter Sacre and Barry Geraghty. 

The tone was hushed, a relaxed atmosphere that matched the style of victory, then the cheer stared to bubble before splashing over the victors as they arrived in the Enclosure.

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“THREE CHEERS,” someone shouted and the gallery obliged – naked hands defying the bitter cold and recording the arrival on video phones.

Sprinter Sacre…the nature of his victory was so casual that Barry Geraghty had time to look through his legs to see where danger might lurk.

It was almost a slight on the athleticism of this horse, this performance again proving that nothing lurks anywhere which might pose a threat.

“You are not supposed to do that in the Queen Mother” (Chase) said a journalist in the press ring. Geraghty smiled and spoke easy, slowly buttoning his colours like someone getting togged for a training session. He remained unhurried, unflappable in the extreme.

“You will have to get a new word for the dictionary,” he said. “Because we are running out of superlatives…it’s like driving a Ferrari… with 15 gears.”

“Well, keep driving it,” said the hack and smiles broke on a celebration that was always coming, yet that didn’t lessen the victory embrace.

The MC called trainer Nicky Henderson to collect the trophy, then Geraghty followed and a throng of photographers glittered the Enclosure with flash bulbs.

Sprinter Sacre, not many bankers curry favour with the people. Not many horses like this one either though.


Robert Mulhern

Robert is a freelance news and sports journalist. He is also the author of A Very Different County and creator/producer of Sex, Flights and Videotapes for RTE's Doc on One. Follow him @MulhernRobert on Twitter

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