TDN Weekend

February 2017

TDN Weekend December 2016 Issue 9

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Page 55 of 75

T he whole crazy jamboree starts with a roar that seems to turn upon itself all the fury of the vanquished win- ter, chasing away months of darkness and wind and sleet in a single moment of exhilaration. At last! The start- ing tape flies, the restless horses hurtle to- wards the first hurdle, and 60,000 throats share a visceral release. In the grandstand, you can sense the great shout leaping across the track and bouncing off the distant crags of Cleeve Hill, and nearly expect layer upon layer of bare trees to turn instantly into leaf as the echo spreads back down into the val- ley. For this carnival, once largely confined to aficionados, has in recent years become the English sporting calendar's premier rite of spring. Yes, despite strong roots in Ireland, a loy- By CHRIS MCGRATH 56

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