The Cheltenham Festival is regarded as the pinnacle of jumps racing and is the highlight of the National Hunt calendar. It is one of the most discussed sporting events of the year and it regularly produces plenty of drama and excitement for punters. The four-day extravaganza is enjoyed by many fans on the television but nothing can compare to witnessing these top-class competitors in the flesh. We pick out three pieces of advice which could come in useful ahead of a trip to Gloucestershire.
It may seem an obvious thing to point out but it is generally advised to have your plans finalised up to twelve months in advance. With 100,000 spectators descending on the racecourse over the course of four days, everything becomes booked up extremely quickly. Early bird tickets are always available to purchase up to five months in advance but don’t forget to confirm accommodation, train tickets and dining options with plenty of time to spare as this will help avoid disappointment. It’s one of the most-visited sporting events in the UK and with only fleeting glimpses of the crowd on TV, it can be very easy to underestimate the number of punters heading to Prestbury Park each day. A new record attendance was set in 2018 and the festival continues to attract swathes of visitors who will also require somewhere to eat, drink and sleep.
Do Your Research Beforehand
Visiting the Cheltenham Festival is a hugely enjoyable experience but it could potentially be soured by heavy losses or a sequence of bad bets. Whilst it is possible to conduct some research from the Grandstand, it is always easier to arrive at the track already armed with plenty of knowledge. If you’ve carried out your research beforehand, it allows you to relax, take in the scenery and socialise without having to meticulously study the form guide every thirty minutes. Sites such as Betfair have countdown blogs for the Cheltenham Horse Racing Festival, which offer analysis of all of the major races across the four days whilst recent form and statistics are also readily available online. With a large crowd in attendance, 4G can sometimes be in short supply so it isn’t always advisable to simply hang your hopes on a quick pre-race browse on your mobile.
Take a Coat
The Cheltenham Festival is held in the middle of March and although temperatures are usually on the rise at that time of year, it can often be deceptively chilly at Prestbury Park. The track is located in a valley and as a result, there is usually a constant chilly breeze present throughout the four days. Although the crocuses and snowdrops suggest brighter temperatures are just around the corner, cold weather is not uncommon during the festival and 2013 was a particularly frosty year for the course. Don’t underestimate the British weather and ensure that you pack warm clothes for your visit to the track. The experience is always enhanced by dressing appropriately for the season and Cheltenham is generally viewed as one of the coldest in the country.
The roar of the crowd as the tape goes up ahead of the opening race is fairly unforgettable and visiting the Cheltenham Festival is a truly memorable experience. If you are hoping for a stress-free and near-perfect trip to Gloucestershire, it is important to ensure that you have every aspect of your visit booked in advance and to make sure that you don’t forget those all-important winter warmers.