The end of the year is upon us and that will bring a short break to racing once more – the start of the year had been a little tough as uncertainty around whether or not racing would find a quick return remained, but as things have got back into full swing fans can look forward to the new year and the big races that follow, kicking off with the Cheltenham Festival that takes place in the middle of March. But here are some fun facts for the festival to keep in mind for the new year!
A 70,000 capacity – The festival can hold a maximum of 70,000 race goers which is often reached on the Gold Cup Day, but next year may see big changes – whilst there have been efforts to get fans back in to stadiums once again, there are still difficulties to doing so – it has been suggested in the UK however that Spring may mark a period of time where things will return to normal as vaccines for the novel coronavirus begin to roll out, and there may be renewed interest in this capacity once again.
Second best – Although a staple in UK racing, Cheltenham does fall second best in two regards to two other huge UK based races – it holds the title as the second biggest horse racing meeting in the UK beaten out only by the Royal Ascot which this year was able to hold a bigger schedule too, and is the second biggest Jumps race in the UK too with the Gold Cup falling just short of the Grand National. Not a bad spot to be in!
Betting firms win big – It has been suggested that punters bets sum up to over £150 million each year at the Cheltenham Festival – and there may be an opportunity for this number to increase in the new year. Experts have suggested betting figures are rising due to the lack of fan attendance at events causing many to place a bet where they may otherwise not have, as well as a growing number of players turning to other forms of online gambling despite changes to regulation such as Gamstop as more and more operators have a number of services that fall outside of this, like when you look here to find many of the big names involved.
Records to beat – Record breakers also have some big milestones to beat each year too – Quevega holds the record for the Mares’ Hurlde winning six consecutive years between 2009 and 2014, and Ruby Walsh being the most successful jockey 7 races back in 2016 – quite some figures to beat for those looking to score long lasting fame at the event!
As it stands it seems as if everything will be going ahead at Cheltenham without issue, the next big question that will need an answer may be whether or not fans can attend and at what capacity, but race fans certainly have something big to look forward to as early as March!