If you love horse racing then this unique event needs no introduction at all. If you have only a passing interest in horses then this is the one event that might get you involved. It is put simply the very highlight of the Jump season.
This massively popular extravaganza, a fixture on the National Hunt racing calendar, every March (in 2016 it runs from March 15-18) attracts a capacity 58,000 crowd to each of its four days, meaning over a quarter of a million people now attend every year. They come for the sheer drama of watching the horses and jockeys take on the jumps of the famous course. They come for the history too as the Cheltenham Festival has deep roots dating back as far as 1860. Four day racing only arrived in 2006 giving fans and the betting public even more time to enjoy the event.
Horses, Guinness and Sticky Toffee Pudding
The numbers involved over the four days of this world class horse racing extravaganza are simply staggering. Total prize money is now up around £4m (second only in Britain to the Grand National) and a whopping £150,000,000 is now bet on the mass of races that swirl around this world famous event. A number of companies offer betting, with Cheltenham bets available through Cheltenham betting at William Hill online – best UK bookmaker. Then there are the pints of Guinness that are drunk as people aim to turn it into a bit of a party, with over 200,000 pints of the Irish stout consumed every year! Not to mention the 8,000 sticky toffee puddings that are also scoffed.
On show are some of the finest horses and riders from all over the UK, as well as Ireland. As the event often coincides with St Patrick’s Day Irish fans make up a sizeable continent amongst the crowd with extra flights laid on to ferry them across the Irish Sea.
The Races at the Cheltenham Festival
The festival features an array of Grade I races. These include the Cheltenham Gold Cup itself, the Champion Hurdle, the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the World Hurdle. The event also sees one of the biggest Hunter Chases of the racing season. The Foxhunters’ (sometimes called the Amateurs’ Gold Cup) is an attraction on the Friday. It is run over the same course as the more illustrious Gold Cup.
If you’ve never been before you cannot fail to be impressed not just by the racing, but by the famous ‘Cheltenham Roar’ when the fans really get the festival as the tape is raised for the first time. A fair bit of noise accompanies many of the other big races at a horse racing extravaganza that has something to offer everyone from dedicated horse racing fans, through to more timid first timers.
*This blog was written in conjunction with William Hill
Category: Travel Blogs