Monday, 26 June 2017

Top Hats vs Tweed: 6 reasons why I believe the Cheltenham Festival always beats Royal Ascot

With the end of Royal Ascot, we remind you some reasons why a cold afternoon in the Cotswolds always beats a summer's day in Berkshire. Well, we think so!

1 - Dress Code
"Very pretty, but I'm trying to watch the race and I can't see a thing!"

In the build up to Royal Ascot, a lot has been said about the strict dress code at Royal Ascot. Some enclosures require a full top hat and full suit, which on a sweltering June day is the last thing you need. Cheltenham's dress code is less strict, and fashion doesn't take centre stage at the meeting which is ideal for real racing fans.

2 - Atmosphere
Is it a fall? Is it a photo finish? No, they've run out of Guinness. Although that would never happen.

Cheltenham's atmosphere can vary massively depending on the results, and the day. The main mood is very good, with people in good spirits for the entire week. The meeting is kicked off by the famous 'Cheltenham roar', which the jockeys claim is so loud they can feel hit by it's sound wave. St Patrick's Day Thursday highlights the fun of the week, but the highs and lows on the track grip the crowd as horses fly over fences and battle up Gloucestershire's iconic hill.

3 - Value for Money
Not all investments pay off

The lowest price for Royal Ascot is £37, for your place in the Windsor Enclosure. Whilst for the 2018 Cheltenham Festival you can get into the Best Mate stand for just £25. Yet Cheltenham offers live music in all areas, and better views of the racecourse. Parking, racecards and some drinks are all generally cheaper at Cheltenham.

4 - The very best in the game
Going to Cheltenham is always a target, there are more options on the flat than Ascot

Although Ascot features plenty of top races and world-class horses it doesn't include all of them. The Royal meeting features global field, but with a wider flat calendar plenty of the flat's best rated runners miss the meeting. The Derby and Oaks normally grab a majority of Britain's leading three-year-old's, whilst plenty miss a Berkshire outing to go for the Eclipse, Irish Derby and many more lucrative prizes on the calendar.

The Cheltenham Festival is the pinnacle of the National Hunt season, and only really the Grand National is more illustrious than going to the Cotswolds.

5 - The pinnacle meeting, the pinnacle races

Despite winning two King George's Silviniaco Conti, is always remembered as the horse who never won the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Flat fans drool over the Guineas, Derby and Arc to name a few races; but in the National Hunt all those races we crave for come at once... at Cheltenham. The King George, Betfred and Hennessy are all established races by themselves but a true jumps fan can't help but be teased by whether they believe such winners can win the Gold Cup in the following year. The National Hunt season slowly pieces together the Festival fields throughout the season, before all is revealed in the March spectacle and those long-awaited antepost bets are tested.

6 - The Irish

This leprechaun is searching for a pot of gold at Prestbury Park

Whether it's in the pub telling you stories, at the racecourse picking their horse or drinking their Guinness somewhere else, the Irish make Cheltenham what it is today. They make the Festival so memorable as they conquer the Cotswolds in their numbers, uplifting the area with their fine spirits and beautiful dark drink.

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