Rough going

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The organisers of the Cheltenham Festival should have known better than to tamper with this sacred fixture of the racing calendar. They insisted on adding an extra day to the event and shifting its showpiece race, the Gold Cup. Why? All in the name of squeezing more money out of punters and racegoers.

The organisers of the Cheltenham Festival should have known better than to tamper with this sacred fixture of the racing calendar. They insisted on adding an extra day to the event and shifting its showpiece race, the Gold Cup. Why? All in the name of squeezing more money out of punters and racegoers.

But now it all seems to be going wrong. Crowds are down. The three-time champion, Best Mate, withdrew from the Gold Cup last week. Kingscliff followed soon after. Another contender, Farmer Jack, died mysteriously in training yesterday. The Gods of Racing are clearly unhappy - and is it really any wonder?

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