Brighton is a long way from the scenic Cotswolds town of Cheltenham, and yet thanks to the wonders of television and the internet we can get up close and personal with the area during the Cheltenham Festival, a four-day racing which runs from March 16-19.
😍 Three weeks to go! 😍
Here’s all your trends and stats for day one of the #CheltenhamFestival plus replays and reports going back to 2008.
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) February 23, 2021
But we can still enjoy the frivolities miles away at home in Brighton, so if you are looking for some equine entertainment – and who isn’t? – then here’s your quick and easy guide of how to enjoy the Cheltenham Festival at home.
Dressed to Kill
A day at the races brings with it the opportunity to get dressed up – suits and collars, or a glamorous dress and fascinator hat, are the costume de rigeur of the major horse racing meetings. Tens of thousands of people usually descend on the town, dressed to the nines and with Cheltenham betting slips in their hands as they look to cheer home a winner or two in the Champion Hurdle or the Arkle Chase.
Just because you’re watching the Cheltenham Festival from home doesn’t mean to say you need to slob out in your pyjamas. Dig into your wardrobe, pull out your finest finery, wear socks without holes in them and fix your hair – the ‘at home’ festival vibe is still one of sophistication and glamour.
Studying the Form
A casual bet or two on the Cheltenham Festival is a fun and edge-of-the-seat way to watch the action unfold. It’s well worth studying the form – particularly how a horse has been performing lately and also their record at Cheltenham, and check out the pedigree of each runner… have they won at this level before? If you want to reduce the amount of time spent studying, some trainers such as Willie Mullins, Nicky Henderson and Gordon Elliott have enjoyed repeated success at the Festival, so narrowing your search to their entries could yield dividends.
You can also explore the knowledge of experts and take hints of who might prevail in the meeting’s other flagship races too. Online resources like Paddy Power’s Cheltenham Gold Cup tips can provide in-depth coverage to help you make a decision.
Remember to pace yourself. There are four days of racing to enjoy with seven different races each day, with headline renewals flanked by less prestigious but still mightily important outings of all disciplines. As ever, much of the attention falls on the Friday, where the Gold Cup will be contested by some of the best horses in the business.
Read what Barry Geraghty has to say about his old ally Champ’s chance in the Cheltenham Gold Cup
— Timeform (@Timeform) February 23, 2021
A Picnic… Indoors?
There are some fantastic artisan producers operating in Brighton right now, so why not combine your Cheltenham Festival viewing with a pick of the best produce that the South East has to offer? The racing takes place over pretty much the whole afternoon, so lay out a spread of sumptuous nibbles in a sort of ‘TV picnic’ style.
Freshly baked breads, cheeses, pickles… it truly makes the mouth water just thinking about it, and if you are feeling incredibly lazy you can order in a delivery from one of Brighton’s eclectic array of restaurants and eateries.
You’re dressed up, you’ve got your bets on and the food is waiting to be devoured… now is the time to plan your inter-race entertainment. Note that there is roughly 30 minutes between races at the Cheltenham Festival, which gives you plenty of time to sample the latest tunes (and some all-time classics as you wish).
There is a thriving scene in Brighton right now, with bands and artists continuing to delight with their latest releases, so you can construct a playlist dedicated to the city to enjoy in-between the races.
All told, this sounds like a fantastic couple of days to savour.