Cheltenham

Hoofing It

Circuit

Cheltenham

Race Types

Flat, Hurdles, Fences

Approx no. of meetings

16

Getting There

Rail from London (2 hours 30)

Bus from (10 minutes - £5 per person return)

Railway station to Racecourse (10 minutes - £5 per person return)

Taxis plentiful, but expensive during the festival

Website

www.cheltenham.thejockeyclub.co.uk

Facilities

Dependent on the meeting. During Festival week a whole variety of bars, concessions, corporate options and multiple stands. One of the largest parade rings I have ever seen. Tote offices including stand alone, in bars and hand held in the corporate suites.

Staying over

Book early or try further down the line. We stayed just outside Stroud and it was worth it for the reduction in grief to get to and from the track.

Tickets

3 class of tickets 25, 45, 70 in 2017 and expensive booking fees during the festival when using third party agents. The place is alive with touts.

Rating

(2) Return before challenge complete

The Day

15 March 2017– UK Tracks Visited (22)

If you are to do the Festival, I suggest one of three ways, which means Madam Hoof and I have two to go. Firstly, go with a crowd on a coach and enjoy the madness of a group activity. Many examples of this on the day and whatever you see on the news, there are not wild drunken hordes ravaging the grounds. The drinking has now been so hyped by the media, people who turn up for the first time, might not even recognise it from the clichéd descriptions. I never saw a single idiot being drunk or rude, just good natured craic (sorry, one had to say that word).

 

The second way to attend is as an owner, trainer or jockey. Madam Hoof and I feel that only one of these I open to us as she was never very good at training anything other than house plants and I, Sir Hoof, am a little too large in the girth to consider the poor unfortunate pony as anything other than a victim, so owner it is. We are already starting to look and find out if anyone has a Hoof (sic) for sale.

 

So, for this festival, we decided to go all up market and corporate, (well, one has a reputation to uphold don’t you know). We ate with in the pop up of a well-known restaurateur on Ladies Day and had the most spectacular view of the track, all be it one furlong back from the finish line. Now one of the most interesting things about Cheltenham is the track itself. In a plan view, it looks rather like someone has taken the model of a human heart and used it for the basis of the track. The various lines around the atriums and ventricles form a variety of tracks which all culminate in the long run up the final hill. As the races are longer under National Hunt rules than the typical flat races, there is a serious endurance test and that last two furlongs must really burn and the horses will be struggling with the build-up of lactic acid in the legs. But what a spectacle in the final stages of a race as the best racing brains drive the beautifully conditioned horses upwards towards the line.

 

We luckily had the best of the weather for the week and when Cheltenham shines, it really is a spectacular site, set in a natural Amphitheatre. It is also amazing in terms of the permanent facilities, especially the largest parade ring with massive Coliseum style seating surrounding it, giving everyone a good view of the horses. Madam Hoof and I both look forward to many happy returns to this track in future years.

 

 

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