Why The Cheltenham Festival Is The Perfect Introduction To Horse Racing

Why The Cheltenham Festival Is The Perfect Introduction To Horse Racing

Cheltenham FestivalIt can be difficult to explain what major horse races are like to someone who’s never experienced on in person before. For one thing, the thrill of professional quality horses racing in person is almost impossible to convey in words. For another, these events tend to be about much more than any given race, incorporating all kinds of additional competitions and celebratory elements. It may be for these reasons that it’s so easy for people to fall in love with the sport and all it has to offer after a first trip to a major race.

If you’re considering getting into live horse racing, you’re looking to convince a friend that it’s worthwhile, or you’re simply open to a new kind of sporting experience, most of the major races will convey the things mentioned above. But one may stand above the rest as an ideal introduction to the sport: the Cheltenham Festival.

The Cheltenham Festival is known as one of the most prestigious in all of Britain, and the richest race on the National Hunt calendar. It consists of four days of elite jump racing action, such that there are well over a dozen races over the course of the whole event. Each day does have a headline race however, such that while there’s almost always a race going on, there’s also always a main spectacle. That makes things easy on spectators. They can take in the action casually as they go about enjoying the grounds, and they can also prioritize the top races so that they can be seated and ready.

The festival is also not all about the races, which is why it’s so appropriate to call it a festival in the first place. The most noteworthy thing about it aside from the competition and the general vibe (which is very upbeat and festive) tends to be the fashion. Horse racing fashion is an international tradition consisting of stylish but over-the-top outfits, and all of this is fully embraced throughout the festival. In particular, the looks from Ladies Day, which is always the second day of the festival, tend to be an event in and of themselves. So for those who are curious about horse racing but want something else to enjoy along the way, fashion – both from a dressing up perspective and for people-watching – can be the answer.

Additionally, it should be mentioned that the festivity of the grounds includes restaurants and bars, as well as a sort of pavilion that has been sponsored by Guinness. That is to say there’s a good bit of revelry throughout the four-day festival, and particularly on St. Patrick’s Thursday. Lots of Guinness and Irish cheer pretty much sums up this day, which is always on the third day of the festival, and breaks things up nicely before the finale day. Basically, it’s a chance to let loose and enjoy an outdoor party, with a few races thrown in!

Hopefully this paints a picture of an event that both showcases world-class horse racing and is ultimately about much more. It’s a cultural festival as much as a sporting competition – a chance to dress up and socialize, have a few cocktails and enjoy fine dining as much as it is a chance to see incredible animal performances up close. And because of all this it can be a perfect first-time experience.