Cheltenham Festival Preparing for Biggest Week of The Year

CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 2019: Sign on the platform of Cheltenham Racecourse Station on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway.

The Cheltenham Festival is a lucrative horse racing event that takes place over four days in March. With over 270,000 spectators expected to descend on the racecourse in Gloucestershire, it is a meeting that requires a great deal of planning.

Here is a look at some of the key decisions that have been ahead of the latest renewal of the “greatest show on turf”.

Over £4.5 Million In Prize Money

Cheltenham Racecourse has been able to attract some big sponsors for this year’s meeting, which means they have total prize money of just over £4.5 million for their 28 races. The feature contest of the week is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, where the winner will scoop £325,000. Galopin Des Champs is the evens favourite in the horse racing betting with Paddy Power for the race.

The horse race results from 2023 show that Ireland won 18 of their 28 races at the meeting. With a strong list of entries this year, Irish-trained horses could dominate once again, particularly in the five Championship races.

The leading Jumps trainers have been planning for the Cheltenham Festival since last summer with their horses. With so much prize money on offer, the week determines how successful their season is. It can also determine who wins the BHA British Champion Trainer title.


Attendance Capped to Ease Pressure on Course

Cheltenham Racecourse made the decision to cap the attendance at each of the four days to 68,500 to ease the pressure at the racecourse. This ensures that everybody that does attend, gets the best possible experience.

Prior to this reduction, Cheltenham had seen a record crowd of 73,875 in 2022, but there were some complaints following the meeting that it was difficult to move around the course, with strain being added to the facilities at the track.

Although the reduction in attendance will hit Cheltenham financially, they are hoping more of their racegoers will have a positive experience at the meeting.

Boost To Local Economy

It is not just Cheltenham Racecourse that benefits from the Cheltenham Festival each year, but the local economy receives a huge boost. Hotels in the surrounding area are all snapped across the week, while restaurants, bars and transport services see lots of business.

A study in 2022 found that the Cheltenham Festival was worth around £274 million to the local economy. The racecourse works closely with the council and other campaign groups to ensure that plans are in place to accommodate racegoers from around the world.

Broadcast Partners Help Reach Large Numbers

Not all racing fans are fortunate to be able to attend the Cheltenham Festival, but with both ITV Racing (terrestrial television) and Racing TV (subscription service) covering the meeting, millions can tune in on television.

The Cheltenham Festival is one of the most-watched horse racing meetings of the year. It attracts an audience that often only tune into the sport once a year for the event. The terrestrial support the fixture gets is a big boost for the profile of the meeting.
With four excellent days of racing set this year, the Cheltenham Festival looks set to thrive on and off the course.