It’s nearly here again folks! Race season is back: it’s time to look dapper and head out with your mates for a great day of sunshine, and knowing British weather, possibly wind and rain as well. To make sure you have the best day, you have to be prepared, and nothing says preparation like militarily precise organisational skills.
The Cheltenham festival is arguably one of the highlights in the racing calendar, especially for those who love horse racing and don’t mind braving the weather. It is also a great way to mark the beginning of the spring season. Whilst the sun might not be shining through just yet, you can expect milder weather, and hopefully not too much rain. With that in mind, here are our top tips for planning your time at Cheltenham.
Choosing your Vibe
The first day sees the most important hurdle jump of the season as well as bands performing on the course between races. The second day is Ladies Day, a chance for glitz and glamour as well as a few glasses of Prosecco; and on Thursday there is St Patrick’s Thursday, an affair to remember, sponsored by Guinness. It’s a chance to let your hair down, sup a few pints, and have a punt on the horses before Gold Cup Day. The last and arguably the biggest day at the Cheltenham Festival, Gold Cup Day, sees jockeys and their horses compete for one of the biggest titles in racing. There are often almighty comebacks, and unexpected failures which fuel the day’s drama. The most recent development sees Oddschecker slashing the odds on Native Rivers, who recently became the first dual winner of the Denman Chase after a 330-day absence. Whenever you choose to grace Cheltenham, the rule is that you must always be stylish…
Substance over Style (Perhaps)
Now, you wouldn’t turn up to a wedding in a tracksuit, would you? Well, you might, but there is no place for experimental attire at the Cheltenham Festival. Keep in mind that the weather will be unpredictable, so it’s probably not summer dress and heels sort of weather. (read: sinking into the mud and being stuck there for the whole day) Many people choose to dress for comfort, and most go for an ‘English Heritage’ look. Think Harris Tweed, tartan, corduroy, hats, scarves, sensible shoes. However, we’re not going for a day out on Dartmoor, this is smart dressing, so make sure that you’re well ironed and that there isn’t a patch of mud in sight. The dress code for Cheltenham isn’t overly restrictive, and fancy dress is permitted as long as it isn’t offensive. If you’re heading out on St Patrick’s Thursday, you might want to take this hint…
Where to Drink When The Racing Ends
Speaking of St Patrick’s Thursday… the bars at the Festival are well stocked and there are so many restaurants and bars to choose from. You could choose a food truck or a sit down meal and they cater for any cuisine from Cantonese to Spanish tapas. After the fun has finished at the festival, you could head into town and enjoy a pint or two at Cheltenham’s oldest pub, “The Old Restoration” which was established in 1663 and has recently undergone a refurbishment. Perhaps you’ve landed a windfall and have cash to splash, in which case you might fancy heading to a cocktail bar. For something a little different, try Clarence Social which is set over three floors and includes a hidden speak easy.
Whilst we’re on the subject of booze, you might want to pace yourself. The Festival can be a long day, and if you get the bevs in too early, you might find that you’re not in a fit state to collect your winnings. Nobody wants to lose a winning ticket, and you certainly don’t want to have to leave early because you’re feeling worse for wear. Pace yourself and make sure that you’re staying hydrated, as it can be easy to forget to drink water when you’re engrossed in the horses. Each bar at the racecourse hands out complimentary water, so there’s no excuse.
Whichever day you choose to visit, wrap up warm, stay true to your own style and enjoy yourself. The event only comes around once a year, so make it count.