Cheltenham Festival, England, 10th-13th March
Cheltenham festival, which takes place in March, is an annual horse racing event which comprises dozens of races across 4 days; 10th-13th March 2015. But that doesn’t begin to do justice to this magnificent event, the pinnacle of Britain’s racing world. While spectators buzz around and drink champagne; owners, trainers and jockeys convulse in various states of anxiety hoping for big results and to steer clear of injury. Bookmakers scramble to adjust their odds by the minute, and will trade frantically throughout the festival as millions of pounds change hands. To make it all possible a small army of caterers, waiters, barmen and managers have prepared for months in advance.
The festival opens with Champions Day, when the atmosphere in the grandstand becomes excitable and extremely loud! As the tape is cut for the first race the noise reaches a level known as the Cheltenham Roar&rdquo which no words can fully give justice to.
Wednesday is Ladies Day at Cheltenham which means, for one day at least, fashion takes centre stage. Although it has long been traditional to dress smartly at racecourses, and that’s still the case, some of the more elaborate dress codes have been ditched. You wouldn’t notice on Ladies Day though; when beautiful dresses and elaborate hats will be flaunted by ladies; gentlemen stick to white tie, or a nice suit!
Cheltenham Festival has long had a strong association with Ireland’s racing community; and many of the best Irish trained horses will compete. Part of the reason is that the festival coincides with St. Patrick’s Day, when a large proportion of the 80,000 spectators will be Irish. Guinness (a major sponsor) will be drunk aplenty on St. Patrick’s Day - over 200,000 pints according to some estimates. Although there will be some top quality racing to be seen, be prepared for a high spirited and raucous affair!
The closing day, Gold Cup Day, is named for the festival’s most prestigious race. The Gold Cup is sometimes referred to as the Blue Riband of jump-racing. Aside from the huge purse for winners, the cup itself is incredibly coveted by trainers and jockeys alike.
Betting is a big part of the culture at Cheltenham, and almost all spectators will place a few casual wagers during their visit. The sport of horse racing is fascinating to follow and, if you plan to attend a race, consider reading some news and tips before you start!
Cheltenham is an experience that no other race meet can match. Running each years of 4 days across St. Patrick’s Day it captures the attention of the racing world and guarantees nail biting drama year after year.