Typically, I'd have ante post vouchers for most of the main races, easily 1k-2k's worth. And I'd be walking the fields up here worrying about the going not suiting the horses involved, and I'd be scanning the press and online for the inevitable late non-runners - all of whom I will have already backed - and generally I'd be day dreaming about Tuesday's life-changing trebles, all of which I would later give up in sacrifice to the Gods of Cleeve Hill after the Champion Hurdle has run its course midway through the first day.
This year, by way of a change, I do not have a single ante post voucher. Not a sausage. Nor do I have any opinions at all about what will win anything. Usually, I have watched every single novice chase in the UK and Ireland and am fully loaded on the Arkle and RSA. Usually, I already know all six certain winners of the Coral Cup, and whether Ireland or England will win the Triumph. Usually, I have mapped my way to potential greatness through having built huge perms centred around the winners of the Ryanair, World Hurdle and Gold Cup (and some years have even collected).
This year, nada, nothing, zilch. I'm not sure I've even seen one novice chase. The Coral cup will pass me by, I have a friend who has a friend who has a friend who owns a leg of a horse they are CERTAIN will win the Triumph but I can't for the life of me remember its name, and I'm sure my three big races will solve themselves with ease once I get around to seeing who is running in what exactly.
This is certainly going to make for different week for me next week. A much duller one. But a less stressful one this.