Undeterred by the current global medical emergency thousands of Irish horse racing enthusiasts once again descended upon Cheltenham for the annual Spring meeting, and by all accounts Coronavirus did nothing to dampen their spirits.

Immaculately dressed in a three-piece checked tweed suit and with a battered bowler hat cocked on his head at a jaunty angle, scrap metal dealer from Kerry, Seamus O’Rourke a visitor to the festival every year said.

“C’mere to me here ’til I tell ye, young fella. Do you see if that feckin’ virus yoke comes annywhere within a mile of me at all? Then I’ll give it a right good thump. I’ll box the feckin’ ears offa him good and proper. Oh indeed and I will. Trust me now.”

Then moving suddenly with a remarkable turn of speed Mr O’Rourke set down his pint of Guinness and whiskey chaser on an adjacent table and asked us to “hold me jacket there” before engaging in a very impressive display of shadow boxing.

Slipping his jacket back on Seamus was all smiles, “Did you not see him there? I’d say ’twas one of them Corona bugs but he’ll not be back now in a hurry as I knocked his feckin’ ballix in. By the way, Nigel old boy, would ye like a pint of the black stuff?”