Sunday 1 March 2020

Cheltenham Festival 2020: The Luck of the Irish & Filthy Hooligans

Smoking is in decline. 

Even Sir Mark Prescott gave up cigars a couple of years back. 

What's the world coming to? 

Now, I'm not suggesting you start smoking. However, even I have a couple of cigars in a cupboard waiting to be smoked. They have been there a year or two. Waiting for the moment something good happens!

Just for the day, I want to celebrate in style. 

To be fair, I bought those two cigars in memory of my late father, Colin. Dad was a pint and Castella kind of man. In fact, he used to smoke cigars each and every day. If he was flush, he'd buy a King Edward. Sadly, they may have been one reason why he died at the age of 62. 

You know, the funny thing about my father smoking is that for all those years I couldn't even smell the distinctive plumes of smoldering tobacco leaf. It must have been through habituation. As the advert on TV says ''I'd become nose-blind''. 

Upon his passing in 1998, whenever I walked down a street and someone, somewhere, was smoking a cigar, the smell took me back to my father. It brought back the fondest memories of days at Great Yarmouth races. How I wish I could go back to those days just for a moment to say thank you for everything he did for us. Never could you find a more honest, hard-working, caring, loving and beautiful man. 

Crazy as it sounds, I purchased two cigars in memory of a good man who loved a smoke.

I joined Robert Graham's mailing list who specialise in cigars and whiskey. It's funny as I am not much of a drinker, either. I certainly don't like the taste of firewater although I'm sure this quality liquor is of a superior breed. I have a strange fetish for a select product range of pure addiction like a teenager eyeing-up the top shelf at the local newsagents! 

My purchase of two cigars in a similar number of years isn't going to make them rich. 

I wonder what percentage of the racegoers will be chomping at the bit at Cheltenham? I mean smoking a big cigar. 

I know John McCrirrick used to like a good stick. I have a vision of him playing cards at Las Vegas, looking at a full house through a thick, smokey cloud.  

Anyway, I received a mailing from the said Robert Graham. They invited me to a Cambridge Cigar Sampling at 9 Sussex Street, in the Cambridge Sampling Lounge. I'm almost tempted to go just to see who turns up. It could be an ideal way to network. However, I wouldn't make the best impression coughing and spluttering as I tackle my first cigar. I guess, for now, I'll give it a miss. 

I noticed a cigar ideal for Cheltenham horse racing and specific to St Patrick's Day (17th March). 

I'm sure any gambler with a penchant for cigars will have an inkling what I am talking about. While others will simply consider I've lost my marbles. 

How about the limited-edition Alec Bradley Black Market Filthy Hooligan 'Shamrock' Cigar? 

Does it ring a bell?

Well, this truly distinctive cigar would definitely get you a few comments if wandering around Cheltenham where you would be one of the crowd. 

At times we all need a little bit of the luck of the Irish. 

I wonder if Sir Mark Prescott would join me in smoking a cigar that literally turns heads?

It's odds on, you filthy hooligan.    

Author: Jason Coote  

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