Cheltenham Festival Thoughts – Matt Bax

Name: Matt Bax

Approx number of Festivals Attended: Only 1, last year. Did also go about 15 years ago on Gold cup day but it was a sell out and as a cheap student we tried to sneak in but couldn’t. Spent the day in the pubs and bookies around Cheltenham which was still a fun day.

Why do you love the Festival?

Atmosphere, enthusiasm of work colleagues, biggest sporting event in the south west. The fact I can go to a sporting event and not really mind who wins (unlike going to a most other sports) – as long as I pick a few winners.

Best Festival Memory and Biggest Festival Win?

Long run winning the gold cup last year leaving Kauto and Denman in his wake (i think!!). Still to have a winner when I’ve been on course!!

Do you have a favourite day and why?

Opening day – because that is the day i am going this year!

What advice would you give someone going for the first time?

Don’t just go to the races, make a whole day of it. Go to town first for breakfast, then the pubs to study the form and soak up the atmosphere, then pop into ladbrokes to place an accumulator on which you can retire and then up to the course.

Which enclosure do you opt for?

Always the tatts (don’t know why – ask Ade Ellis)

What is your general approach to betting? Any strong advice for someone betting at the festival for the first time?

Have your betting money and make sure you either go home skint or with a wedge of the bookies money – what’s the point in breaking even?

What one thing is a ‘must do’ or ‘must see’ at the festival?

Must pick a winner, must see Alan Brazil (talksport listeners will understand) – I’m yet to do or see either

Are there any other things you like to do each year around course?

See earlier answer – make a day of it. Go into town before and after, it really is unique.

Anything to avoid?


Do you do after racing entertainment / eating in Cheltenham? If so, where?

Just get in where you can, it will be packed everywhere. The brewery is good fun, with live bands, pubs and plenty to eat. You can then venture on into town to some more less than salubrious establishments.

Any other advice for a newcomer to the festival?

Don’t ruin the next day by getting too drunk the previous day.

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