Festivals Attended: 10
Why do you love the Festival?
The occasion! Since moving here 11 years ago the festival has been a time when family and friends have descended upon Cheltenham in their droves.
Best Festival Memory and Biggest Festival Win?
Best festival memory has to be seeing Jim Culloty bring Best Mate up the hill in 2004 for his 3rd Gold Cup.
Biggest win was a bit more recent… Oiseau du Nuit. Last race of the festival and the longest odds winner of 2011. Made all the sweeter given the fact that i’d backed it with a kitty belonging to the whole group of 7 of us, and the stash was supposed to go on the similarly named Quito du Tresor, also 40-1 but which came in 5th.
Do you have a favourite day and why?
Gold Cup day without a doubt. Biggest race of the National Hunt racing calendar. Yes, everything’s a little bit more expensive and bit busier but it’s completely worth it.
What advice would you give someone going for the first time?
I once met an Irish man stumbling, blind drunk outside a Montpellier public house at about 10 o’clock on the eve of Gold Cup day. Nothing out of the ordinary during festival week, except this man was dressed as what can only be describes as half-leprechaun, half-Santa Claus. By the look of him, he’d had a great day: unable to speak, barely able to stand up, and tucked loosely into the waistband of his leprechaun bottoms were 2 of the biggest wedges cash I’d seen… I remember thinking, ‘there is absolutely no way he’ll wake up tomorrow with all that money’
If you go with the same attitude as this man you won’t go far wrong: Yes, you will wake up feeling incredibly worse for wear the day after; yes, It’s likely that you’ll have a lot less cash than you did a week before, but you’ll have had a bloody good time…. I wouldn’t advocate the choice of dress of the aforementioned.
What enclosure do you go in?
Tatt’s Tuesday- Thurs, Club on Friday
What is your general approach to betting? Any strong advice for someone betting at the festival for the first time?
Pick a number and pray for divine intervention.
What one thing is a ‘must do’ or ‘must see’ at the festival?
Must see the various horse statues. The Best Mate one being my personal favourite.
Are there any other things you like to do each year around course?
A few pints of Guinness in the Guinness village. Depending on the level of cumulative winners and pints consumed I may even be seen attempting a Michael Flatley style riverdance.
Anything to avoid?
Can’t think of anything.
Do you do after racing entertainment / eating in Cheltenham? If so, where?
We usually do a walk that takes us from the racecourse, stopping at various bars and pubs along the way. The first stop is the Conservatory which is always a good atmosphere and full of race-goers and last stop, (for those still capable) Subtone.
Any other advice for a newcomer to the festival?
If you’re doing all 4 days, make sure you’ve taken the Monday off from work.