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The Amazing Cheltenham Festival is Coming!

Published: 8th January 2020 10:27

The Cheltenham Festival is world renowned but it still needs to be seen to be believed. For four days every March, the town of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire is horse racing’s capital of the world.


Forget Royal Ascot, the Epsom Derby or far off extravaganzas like the Melbourne Cup, Kentucky Derby or Breeders Cup meeting. Cheltenham is for the horse racing purist and it is hardcore.


No Frills Horse Racing


There’s no top hats, no chauffeur driven limos, no cucumber sandwiches and no £2 each-way bets on odds-on favourites. Cheltenham Festival racegoers are best described as diehards. They wrap-up-warm, flask of brandy in the pocket bung the doorman a tenner type of set and their gambling at the Cheltenham Festival is X-rated.


It would seem all and sundry have set aside a ‘punting fund’ during the course of the year, with the simple purpose of making a fortune at the four day feast. Even the trainers have this meeting at the top of their list with the very best bloodstock having their entire campaign mapped out around the Prestbury Park racecourse, AKA ‘Cheltenham’.


Racecourse Whispers


As tradition dictates, whispers thrive at the racecourse but for those not there you can pick up 2020 Cheltenham betting tips and offers from Freebets.com whose staff are sure to be amongst those making the pilgrimage to this corner of Gloucestershire.


And pilgrimage is the right word, because to many, the giant racecourse – which only features jumps racing unlike Ascot, Epsom, Churchill Downs and Flemington – is considered a Mecca to many.


The Irish are devout followers of all things jumps racing and unsurprisingly they come to Cheltenham in their droves. In the years before the Euro came into circulation the Irish pound (commonly called the Irish Punt) would devalue as a result of Irish racegoers selling their savings and buying UK Sterling for their pre-planned betting bonanza.


Yet it has to be said Irish success was fairly limited in the 1980’s and 1990’s and much of the ‘Irish money’ stayed in the satchels of British bookmakers. Between 1987, 1988 and 1989 inclusive Ireland enjoyed just two winners at the Cheltenham Festival. These were grim times for the Emerald Isle.


The Good Luck of the Irish


However, the small country enjoyed victory in 19 races of the Festival’s 28 races in 2017 and every year since the battle to see which country wins more races is keenly contested - in fact you even bet on which of the two countries will have the most winners in what is known as ‘The Prestbury Cup’.


If the Irish pound was still in existence nowadays there’s every chance it would strengthen during the days when Irish race fans return home. Incidentally, backing the horses in the top three of the betting in all races at the Festival that were not in handicap contests would see you find the bulk of winners according to recent trends.


Such is their numbers – it is estimated Irish racegoers account for a third of the daily 65,000 average racegoers - the Irish are well catered for. Ryanair both sponsor races at the Festival and put on an extra 30 flights to Birmingham to cater for visitors from Dublin.


Guinness have a devoted ‘Guinness Village’ within the racecourse and the Thursday race day - that’s the third day of racing as the show always begins on the second Tuesday in March – is labelled ‘St Patrick’s Day Thursday’.

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