Neil Warnock: Three winners out of six... you can put me down as a red-hot tipster the next time the Cheltenham Festival comes around

It’s always interesting seeing a different sport close up. The build-up was exciting

I never thought for one minute I’d be reading the Racing Post while eating breakfast, but that’s what I was doing on Thursday morning.

I know a lot of football people are into horseracing, but even though I came up trumps with my first big gamble at the age of 12 it’s fair to say I never really got the bug. That was in 1961 when I put two-and-six on Nicolaus Silver for the Grand National. I only chose him as he was a grey so I could pick him out on telly – it was black-and-white TV then.

But this week I was invited to Cheltenham by Talksport’s sponsors Coral Racing, so I sat down to study the form. As I don’t really understand form I picked out some nice names, allocated myself £20 a race, and set off for the course.

It is always interesting seeing a different sport close up. The build-up was exciting with everyone swarming in, although the fog was thick. To me that added to the atmosphere and it cleared in time for the racing. I heard there had been quite a few football people around the place, that some had enjoyed themselves and that by all accounts not all would remember doing so.

There were not so many on Thursday as that is a difficult day for football people being so close to the weekend, but I did an interview with Brighton’s Keith Andrews for the radio show and Michael Dawson dropped by before heading off to Tottenham’s match against Benfica (he’s injured, so was not playing).

We had a great spot, a box right over the finishing line. All the better to cheer my winners home, I thought. Lo and behold I won three races, including the big one. Most of the box backed Annie Power or Big Buck’s but it was me jumping up and down as More Of That came in.

That was the fourth race. With Fingal Bay and Dynaste coming in for me in the second and third races they were all looking over my shoulder to see who I’d backed in the fifth, but I picked a donkey just to confuse them. Even so, three winners from six is pretty good. The next time The Independent ring me up for a Grand National or Cheltenham tip to put in the paper maybe I’ll provide one.

Read more: Late run for Lord ends with Gold for Russell
Tiger rolls with ease as Nicholls curses his luck
Culloty puckers up to his new best mate
Diary: Will Scu be the Dude at Aintree?

We were back again yesterday morning, arriving through the fog again, to do Alan Brazil’s Breakfast Show from the course. It was a great setting for it and as you can see we celebrated with a bottle of champagne at the end. Fortunately I was driving home so I had a good excuse to abstain: at the end of a hard week’s broadcasting Alan deserved a celebratory tipple – even if it was 10am.

Blades and Wigan showed there’s still magic in the Cup

The idea that the FA Cup no longer has any meaning was put to bed last weekend. I was at Bramall Lane, where a fabulous 30,000-plus crowd were ecstatic at Sheffield United reaching the semi-finals. The only downside was that Charlton’s defeat gave their new owner an opportunity to sack Chris Powell, who I was sad to see leave The Valley. He’s got a lot to offer and I’m sure he’ll be back in the game soon.

Then we sat down to watch a cracker from the Etihad. Uwe Rösler has done a terrific job at Wigan but it wasn’t just the way his team played against Manchester City that impressed me. I thought he was really humble after the victory to say he owed a lot to Roberto Martinez. He could have taken the plaudits but he said Roberto had got it right last May – when William and I had a great day out at the FA Cup final – and did not see any reason to change tactics. Everyone will expect Arsenal to win the semi, but who’s to say we won’t get a Wigan-Sheffield United final?

Sherwood’s blast at Spurs stars could yet pay off

Tim Sherwood made it very clear what he thought of his players at Chelsea last week and you have to admire him for that. A lot of people said he was wrong to do it but sometimes you have to tell players the truth and hope they respond in the right way.

I’ve done it on occasion. Players have to look in the mirror when they play like that and accept it’s not all down to the manager. But I admit that I have usually done it behind closed doors because you know the same players you are giving a rollocking to will want to go through a brick wall for you in the next game.

However, sometimes you feel like you have nothing to lose in going public and Tim obviously felt that way. It didn’t really pay off against Benfica in midweek, but for Tottenham there is no better way to turn things around than by beating Arsenal. If Spurs win that game, you could argue Tim was right.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee