As Britain seems to be on the verge of panic over the possibility of a bit of winter weather, I am reminded of a day when the snow was simply not allowed to interfere with the blue riband of jumping, namely the Cheltenham Gold Cup. On March 19th 1987 the heavily laden clouds over Prestbury Park deposited a fairly large amount of cold white powder onto the home of jumping just as the fourteen runners were preparing to contest the big race – with a nice sum of £55,500 to the winner. The sun eventually shone through the murk and melted the offending snow and, after a delay of 83 minutes the field eventually got away, with victory going to the Arthur Stephenson trained gelding, The Thinker, providing 32-year-old jockey Ridley Lamb with the biggest win of his career. Sadly, Ridley was to lose his life along with fellow jockey and friend, Alan Merrigan, in a tragic car accident in July 1994.
The Thinker went on to finish third behind Little Polveir in the 1989 Grand National, proving what a classy chaser he was. Sadly, he broke a leg two days before the 1991 renewal while preparing at Aintree for one last crack at the National aged 13.