The fresh air, the palpable excitement, the sound of the crowds, the sight of horses by the tracks – is there anything better than horse racing? And out of all of the major races, the National Hunt Chase, or Cheltenham Festival as it is better known, is conceivably the greatest.
Cheltenham is a unique festival in many regards, and it is noted most for the special atmosphere. One particular feature that is well-loved by fans is the “Cheltenham Roar” that occurs at the start of the first race of the festival as the tape is raised.
From the festival’s early beginnings in 1860 until today, it has been considered one of the biggest and most important racing meetings in the United Kingdom. The races first took place at the Prestbury Racecourse in Cheltenham in 1902 – previously they had been held in various places throughout the UK. Over the next few years the festival changed venues a number of times, and in 1911 it returned to Cheltenham for good.
In terms of the races themselves, a lot has changed over the years as well. The Gold Cup, one of the four main races in the festival, was introduced in 1924, the first of the championship races to be recognised. It was followed by the Champion Hurdle in 1927, and then in 1959 the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Finally, the last championship race, the Stayers Hurdle, was added in 1972.
Up until recent years, the festival took place over the course of three days. In 2005 a fourth day was added to the festival, meaning that one championship race would take place on each day.
As the festival often takes place over Saint Patrick’s Day, it is very popular with Irish racing fans, with a large number of Irish spectators and competitors in attendance.
Like many races, lots of betting takes place at Cheltenham, as no one bets on a horse race like the British! Racing fans can get the best odds at Cheltenham festival with William Hill, one of the biggest bookmakers in the UK.
So enjoy the fun – make sure to catch the special excitement and history of Cheltenham Festival!
The winners’ enclosure at Cheltenham racecourse – Wikimedia Public Domain
Cheltenham racecourse – Wikimedia Creative Commons
Guest Author Bio
Rio Sinclair is an SEO and an online marketer at Marketers Unlimited, an online marketing agency founded in 2003 that helps companies increase their reach and effectiveness on the web. She’s also a keen sports enthusiast with an avid passion for horse racing and soccer.