Why Cheltenham Festival is One of the Best Horse Racing Events Around
With the countdown to Cheltenham back on for this year’s exciting event in March, the excitement is building. Cheltenham Festival has become a fixture of the horse racing calendar and is one of the most prestigious events in the world. It’s a passionate four-day meeting that serves as an emotional rollercoaster for all involved, bringing us famous names like Arkle, Kauto Star, Best Mate and Golden Miller, and some of the most exciting moments in racing. But what is it that makes this event so popular, even with those who are new to the sport?
Honour and Prestige
Britain has a long history of great racing, from Royal Ascot to Newmarket dating back to Queen Anne and James I. Compared to meetings like these, Cheltenham is a newcomer that only started up in 1911. For jockeys and their horses, a victory at Cheltenham is a rite of passage where an accolade places them among the finest in racing. It’s the shining showpiece of the National Hunt season, with only the finest jumps horses of Britain and Ireland taking place. From the Champions Hurdle to the Festival Trophy, there are various intense races over the course of the festival. But the most highly sought-after prize is the Gold Cup – a race that’s run over three miles, with two and a half furlongs and 22 fences to tackle on the way.
Cheltenham is the home of jumps racing and it’s a truly unmissable event, with thousands attending every year and millions more around the world tuning in to watch it on TV. And from one year to the next, those numbers only increase. Even the Jockey Club has spent over £80 million on the facilities for this event in the last 30 years alone in order to meet the demands of the crowds. While British entrants dominate this event, Irish raiders have also played a crucial role in shaping the Festival.
An Adrenalin Rush for Visitors
Cheltenham doesn’t just offer possibilities to the riders, but also to those watching the event. Visitors to Cheltenham have more to enjoy than just racing and betting using timeform – the festival also has food and drink to appreciate, with several restaurants and bars on site, entertainment in the form of live music, and hospitality options with boxes in the main stand. In terms of a spectator sport, Cheltenham has long felt more inclusive than some other racing events, giving it a fun atmosphere.
The festival is even known for the ‘Cheltenham Roar’, referring to the immense amount of noise the crowds make as the starter raises the tape for the initial race. The real joy of Cheltenham and the reason why it’s been such a popular event for so long is that it’s a meeting where it feels possible for anyone to enjoy success. After all, back in 1990, a 100 to one outsider won the Gold Cup – even gifted amateurs can win if they have the skill and talent, as the history books can attest to.