The Cheltenham Festival is an experience not to be missed, from the moment you approach Prestbury Park and have to run the gauntlet of lucky heather sellers to the huge roar when the first race gets under way, it is a ‘wow’ moment in the racing year.
There is something for everyone, with top-class hurdles racing to the blue riband Gold Cup over the larger obstacles, and the length of the queues at the various ‘refreshment’ concessions proves that it is just as much a social occasion as one for the hardened racegoers.
Ending the day with more cash in you pockets than when you arrived is the objective and will set you up nicely for an evening meal in the beautiful town of Cheltenham, but it is not easy to beat the bookies and therefore a glance at the days race cards will help you out massively.
One of the highlights of the Festival is the annual battle between British and Irish trainers and it is quite often the handlers from the Emerald Isle that come out on top.
Willie Mullins is a Cheltenham specialist and will saddle a few stars in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, with his unbeaten superstar Douvan among the likely entries.
The gelding has been downing all-comers over the past few years and will have punters craning their necks to get a glimpse of the supreme animal as he bounds up the famous Cheltenham Hill.
However, Englishman Colin Tizzard is the in-form trainer and he will likely send Fox Norton to oppose Mullins’ charge on the Wednesday of the meet, with Altior and Un De Sceaux also possibilities for that race.
There is always plenty of information for both the connoisseurs and the novice racegoer, with on-course commentary to guide spectators through the races.
However, it might pay dividends to familiarise yourself with some racing terminology before making the trip to the South West.
A pundit might debate whether a horse will ‘get the trip’ of ‘stay’, meaning does it have the stamina to run all the way to the line and compete for honours, while those that are a bit ‘green’ have not been daubed with paint but are inexperienced or immature.
A ‘favourite’ means the shortest price with the bookies while an outsider is less likely to triumph but will see your bank balance swell if it comes in.
Favourites do not always win and so it is well worth checking the ‘going’ as some horses will favour ‘heavy’ ground while others like to ‘hear their feet rattle’ and prefer drier, faster conditions.
Unowhatimeanharry is unbeaten since joining trainer Harry Fry’s yard and is likely to do well in the Stayers’ Hurdle but it is always best to do your research before parting with any well-earned cash.