Dave's Diary: Born to eat
Bruce Springsteen was born to run. Dave Ord was born to lunch. Well eat anyway. It's been quite a 48 hours.
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To protect the innocent some of the names involved are withheld but on Monday evening I enjoyed a magnificent dinner party at a leading trainer's house.
Food was prepared by a Michelin-starred chef, the group of diners were in a marquee and we purred with pleasure at the canapés which included a sausage and apple roll that is now my favourite pastry product. The flag is flying at half mast in Melton Mowbray.
There was gentle applause for the starter, pigeon breast with a beetroot puree. That had evolved into a standing ovation by the time we'd tucked into crusted monkfish with seasonal veg and for the sticky toffee pudding, well Alex Hammond, Rachel Wyse, Ben Linfoot, Michael Shinners and myself performed a full Poznan.
But then strange things started to happen. As the port was passed around (always to the left) a pony was led into the house. No, honestly it was. Rachel and Alex sat on her, I was given the reins to hold (one handed as I polished off the sticky toffee pudding) and that I thought was that.
Well it was bar a limousine ride home in which I was one of only three in a party of six to stay awake throughout, one of only five not to be sick and one of one to discuss the perils of reverse parking at Ascot with the driver.
Home for 0215 and up at 0630 for the train to the John Smith's Grand National lunch - I wouldn't have scoped clean and it showed.
The problem arose from social media, Twitter to be exact. One of the fellow diners, let's call him Michael, tweeted at 0803 GMT on Tuesday a picture of the pony in the house. He called it a "scene from The Hangover."
I could do better than that I thought. Seeing Ben Linfoot in the middle of the frame I retweeted: "More like Lord Of The Rings with Gollum holding the horse."
How I chuckled all the way down to London at "punking" the Value Bet maestro.
Then, at Stevenage - I received a text. It wasn't Linfoot who was centre stage, but the unnamed leading trainer.
He laughed it off on Twitter - mainly because he was unaware of who Gollum was. A visit to Google Images later and the laughter stopped.
As I said I'm not prepared to reveal the identity of all involved...but if anyone has any ideas for a new Flat columnist on sportinglife.com I'm all ears.
Because of the above incident I was slightly distracted and drinking orange juice at the National lunch but once again the chicken was spatchcocked and the company great. I was sat next to Carol Pipe who was a delight. It's a good job as the man due to be seated on my right was a no show.
How proud my parents would have been when the waiter - who had placed a fully spatchcocked chicken at the empty placing - quipped "well you look like you could eat two" when I pointed out it would go to waste.
I spent most of the afternoon looking for the Maître D.
The rest of it was a prolonged attempt to garner Grand National clues. Willie Mullins was uncharacteristically bullish over Prince De Beauchene and On My Own. Tidal Bay and Wyck Hill were the handicap snips and Venetia Williams visibly winced when Paul Nicholls explained TB won't run in the Gold Cup before the National as "you can't win a National after a hard race in the Gold Cup".
Guess where Katenko's heading this spring....
So am I - and next week it's the start of the stable tours. I have overnight trips booked to Wellington and Shepton Mallet as Will Hayler, a camera crew and my good self hit the Festival trail. Linfoot isn't there which is probably for the best.
He wets the bed, dreams of frogs and looks awfully like Gollum.
And one or two others it seems.