15th March marks the start of the Cheltenham Festival, and thousands of race-goers are preparing to soak up the gambling, glamour and geldings that the event has to offer. Whether you prefer to pace the paddock eyeing up the prize ponies, or relax at home watching the live coverage, there’s guaranteed to be something for you….
This year’s favourite appears to be Augusta Kate, owned by Willie Mullins – who has trained the favourites in 21 of the 28 races at this year’s event. For the potential celebrity-spotters out there, an Augusta Kate victory may well bring the famous faces out of the woodwork, as the horse is owned by a conglomerate that includes former footballer Alan Shearer and TV personalities and all-round cheeky chappies, Ant and Dec.
Cheltenham itself has had a bit of a celebrity makeover, as the £45 million new stand is now officially open for business. After 18 months of building work, the 6,000 capacity stand houses two public bars and balconies that overlook the paddocks, ensuring a great view for those lucky enough to get a place in the upper levels.
Finally, keep your eyes peeled for Olympic gold-medal winner Victoria Pendleton, who has laid aside her bicycle in favour of a more traditional mount. Pendleton will be taking part in the St James’ Place Foxhunter Chase, the race for amateur riders that takes place immediately after the Gold Cup on Friday. Whether Pendleton can continue her winning ways on the turf as opposed to the track remains to be seen…
For all the best tips, tricks and coverage, this week may well be the best time to pick up a subscription to Racing Ahead magazine, now with 16% off, so you can get all your bets in place before the starter’s gun goes off.
Instagram Images courtesy of @cheltenhamraces