I’m not really one to write these kind of personal blogs, but in a week that is highlighting mental health, if just one person reading this piece can take some degree of comfort from it then my job here is done.
Those of you that know me know that I’m quite a private and quietly spoken kind of guy, some would say perhaps introverted? A little socially awkward? Well, that wasn’t always the case.
In my teens and my early twenties I was an extrovert, had more friends (or were they?) than I could shake a shitty stick at and I didn’t have a care in the world.
I used to drive then -you’re always popular when you have a car and spare cash to lend out to people I find.
Anyway, a series of life events happened to me at the end of my University days and a dark mist swiftly began to consume my whole body. I couldn’t function- the panic attacks were overwhelming and so very debilitating, and fear began to dictate my life. I couldn’t even leave my digs in the hours of daylight such was my fear of crowds etc.
I was prescribed a new so-called wonder drug in 1996 known as “Seroxat” (anti-depressant) but it didn’t suit me one bit and turned me into a complete zonked out zombie like person. I could feel the “real me” trapped inside a body that wasn’t mine and I was having some really negative thoughts that scared me. I can barely remember any of that year.
To cut a long story short I knew exactly where my life was heading under the influence of those tablets so I managed to ween myself off them, independently of my doctor.
My panic attacks never returned, but my personality completely changed. I was now somewhat of an introvert and very much dependent on the reassurances of others to go about my day to day life.
So bringing this anecdote forward and bringing it into recent context, I’ve been attending the Arc meeting in the last few years as part of a group or with a traveling partner, but found myself this year in a solo position for the visit. Something I was desperate to avoid.
For months I thought it would be a situation I could manage, but for the entirety of the week before I was due to fly out, I was stupidly gripped by the fear of the unknown. The panic-attacks I hadn’t experienced for almost 25 years were back. I felt so incredibly jittery last Thursday that cancelling the trip all together became a real option in my head.
So what drove me on? Well, it was the simple fact I was determined not to miss out on witnessing history if Enable won her third Arc. By hook or by crook I was going to get my silly scrambled head, full of all those nonsense worries, over to France.
Disappointingly I bumped into a few people at Longchamp who earlier in the year had indicated that they weren’t going to be there, and spending my evenings eating solo in Paris wasn’t the best feeling in the world either- but hey, from a personal point of view, I had conquered my own mental health struggles and got my sorry arse over there to witness and report on a sport I love.
Ironically as I flew home on Monday, I wondered to myself what all the fuss was about and why I had worked myself up into a bag of nerves in the first place?
If fear and worry is something that also holds you back, just remember that it can be overcome with positive thinking. If I can do it then so can you.
Today’s Longchamp fancies:
1.15 Long- Albigna (e/w).
1.50 Long- Armory (win).
2.25 Long- Tayf (win).
3.05 Long- Enable & Sottsass (r/fc).
3.55 Long- With You (e/w).
4.30 Long- Soldiers’ Call (e/w).
5.05 Long- Safe Voyage (e/w).
5.40 Long- Salt Lake City & Mon Paris (e/w).
Carroll House win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe 30 years ago.
Today’s Longchamp fancies:
1.00 Long- Akoya (win).
1.35 Long- Way To Paris (win).
2.15 Long- Ziveri & Carlton Choice (e/w).
2.50 Long- Star Catcher (win).
3.25 Long- Sottsass (win).
4.00 Long- Stake Acclaim (e/w).
4.35 Long- Tour To Paris (e/w).
5.10 Long- Jarnac (e/w).
“Handicapper Steve” marks your Longchamp card.
The Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe 2019 entries
# Horse (Sex/Age) Owner Trainer
1 Amur (C4) Adelresort M. Snackers
2 Matchwinner (H8) Adelresort M. Snackers
3 Elwazir (C4) Hamdan Al Maktoum O. Burrows
4 French King (C4) Sheikh A. Bin Khalifa Al Thani Ha. Pantall
5 Salouen (H5) Hiran Balasuriya S. Kirk
6 Capri (H5) D.Smith/Mrs J.Magnier/M.Tabor A. O’Brien
7 Kew Gardens (C4) D.Smith/Mrs J.Magnier/M.Tabor A. O’Brien
8 Study Of Man (C4) Flaxman Stables Ireland L.T.D P. Bary (S)
9 Waldgeist (H5) Gestut Ammerland/Newsells Park A. Fabre (S)
10 Benbatl (H5) Godolphin S. Bin Suroor
11 Best Solution (H5) Godolphin S. Bin Suroor
12 Ghaiyyath (C4) Godolphin C. Appleby
13 Masar (C4) Godolphin C. Appleby
14 Old Persian (C4) Godolphin C. Appleby
15 Kiseki (H5) Mme Tatsue Ishikawa K. Sumii
16 Silverwave (H7) Martin S. Schwartz Racing F. Vermeulen (S)
17 Flag of Honour (C4) Mme Magnier/M.Tabor/D.Smith A. O’Brien
18 Stradivarius (H5) Bjorn E. Nielsen J. Gosden
19 Crystal Ocean (H5) Sir Evelyn de Rothschild Sir M. Stoute
20 Blast Onepiece (C4) Silk Racing Co. Ltd M. Otake
21 Fierement (C4) Sunday Racing Co. Ltd T. Tezuka
22 Nagano Gold (H5) Syndikat V3j V. Luka
23 Folamour (C4) Wertheimer & Frère A. Fabre (S)
24 Latrobe (C4) Lloyd J. Williams J. O’Brien
25 Enable (M5) Khalid Abdullah J. Gosden
26 Ligne d’Or (F4) Ballymore Thoroughbred Ltd A. Fabre (S)
27 Magical (F4) D.Smith/Mrs J.Magnier/M.Tabor A. O’Brien
28 Coronet (M5) Denford Stud J. Gosden
29 Morgan Le Faye (M5) Godolphin Snc A. Fabre (S)
30 Musis Amica (F4) Godolphin Snc A. Fabre (S)
31 Lah Ti Dar (F4) Lord Lloyd Webber J. Gosden
32 Magic Wand (F4) M.Tabor/D.Smith/Mrs J.Magnier A. O’brien
33 Sea Of Class (F4) Sunderland Holding Inc. W. Haggas
34 Kasaman (C3) S.A. Aga Khan M. Delzangles
35 Zarkallani (C3) S.A. Aga Khan A. de Royer Dupré
36 Dubai Warrior (C3) Sheikh M. Bin Khalifa Al Maltoum J. Gosden
37 Motamarris (C3) Hamdan Al Maktoum F. Head (S)
38 Technician (C3) David Caddy M. Meade
39 Saturnalia (C3) U. Carrot Farm K. Sumii
40 Japan (C3) D.Smith/Mrs J.Magnier/M.Tabor A. O’Brien
41 Mohawk (C3) D.Smith/Mrs J.Magnier/M.Tabor A. O’Brien
42 Norway (C3) D.Smith/Mrs J.Magnier/M.Tabor A. O’Brien
43 Circus Maximus (C3) Flaxman/Magnier/Tabor/Smith A. O’Brien
44 Mount Everest (C3) Flaxman/Magnier/Tabor/Smith A. O’Brien
45 So Chivalry (C3) Gestüt Schlenderhan J.-P. Carvalho
46 Line Of Duty (C3) Godolphin C. Appleby
47 Royal Marine (C3) Godolphin S. Bin Suroor
48 Royal Meeting (C3) Godolphin S. Bin Suroor
49 Khagan (C3) Godolphin Snc A. Fabre (S)
50 Roman Candle (C3) Godolphin Snc A. Fabre (S)
51 Persian King (C3) Godolphin Snc/Ballymore Tb Ltd A. Fabre (S)
52 Roger Barows (C3) Hirotsugu Inokuma K. Sumii
53 Too Darn Hot (C3) Lord Lloyd Webber J. Gosden
54 Ballet Russe (C3) M. Tabor/D. Smith/Mrs J. Magnier A. Fabre (S)
55 Broome (C3) M.Tabor/D.Smith/Mrs J.Magnier A. O’Brien
56 Anthony Van Dyck (C3) Mrs Magnier/M.Tabor/D.Smith A. O’Brien
57 Cape Of Good Hope (C3) Mrs Magnier/M.Tabor/D.Smith A. O’Brien
58 Sir Dragonet (C3) Mrs Magnier/M.Tabor/D.Smith A. O’Brien
59 Dschingis First (C3) Horst Pudwill M. Klug
60 Magna Grecia (C3) Smith/Magnier/Tabor/Flaxman S. A. O’Brien
61 Lion Lion (C3) Mme Chiyono Terada M. Matsunaga
62 Flop Shot (C3) Wertheimer & Frère A. Fabre (S)
63 Slalom (C3) Wertheimer & Frère A. Fabre (S)
64 Starmaniac (C3) Wertheimer & Frère C. Laffon-Parias
65 Sottsass (C3) White Birch Farm J.-C. Rouget (S)
66 Surfman (C3) Peter L. Winkworth R. Varian
67 Dariyza (F3) S.A. Aga Khan A. de Royer Dupré
68 Shamiyla (F3) S.A. Aga Khan A. de Royer Dupré
69 Siyarafina (F3) H.H. Aga Khan A.de Royer Dupré
70 Maqsad (F3) Hamdan Al Maktoum W. Haggas
71 Pink Dogwood (F3) D.Smith/Mrs J.Magnier/M.Tabor A. O’Brien
72 Cartiem (F3) Sarl Ecurie J.L. Tepper J.-C. Rouget (S)
73 Mehdaayih (F3) Emirates Park Pty Ltd J. Gosden
74 No One (F3) Yoshinori Fujita K. Sasada
75 Phoceene (F3) Le Haras de la Gousserie F. Rossi
76 Secret Walk (F3) M. Tabor/Mrs J. Magnier/D. Smith A. Fabre (S)
77 Hermosa (F3) M.Tabor/D.Smith/Mrs J.Magnier A. O’Brien
78 Amarena (F3) Stall Lucky Owner H. Grewe
79 Sea Of Faith (F3) Sunderland Holding Inc. W. Haggas
80 Wonderment (F3) Mme Stella Thayer N. Clément (S)
81 Platane (F3) Wertheimer & Frère C. Laffon-Parias