Over 200,000 racegoers will pour through the gates of Cheltenham Racecourse in March as the 2017 festival gets underway. The Festival starts on March 14th and runs through the 17th.
It’s expected that as much as £600 million will swap hands over the course of the four-day festival, while the combined prize fund will top the £4 million mark. The Festival at Cheltenham will see a record price money total of £4,305,000 over the four days.
Ian Renton, Regional Director at The Jockey Club, commented by saying, “I am delighted to announce record prize money of over £4.3 million for The Festival, which represents an increase of more than 10% since 2015.”
“For 2017, the major increases have gone to the novice chases, with the Racing Post Arkle and the RSA being run at £175,000 and the JLT Novices’ Chase at £150,000.”
“We would like to thank all our sponsors who have assisted us in improving prize money for The Festival and look forward to four great days of racing in March.”
On a trip to Europe during the years 1872 to 1873, a 26-year-old colonel from Kentucky, M. Lewis Clark, visited multiple horse racing facilities in England and France. He also met with European horse racing leaders, including Vicompte Darn, French Jockey Club vice president, and Admiral Rous of England. Clark wanted to create a jockey club in Louisville, for horse racing. He returned home and created the Louisville Jockey Club and Driving Park Association in 1874.
After selling subscriptions for $100 each to 320 people, he leased 80 acres of land from his uncles, John and Henry Churchill. Clark opened the famous Churchill Downs horse track, along with a grandstand, a porter’s lodge, a clubhouse, and six stables, in 1875. Nearly 20 years later, the Louisville Jockey Club appointed a new president, William F. Schulte, who constructed a grandstand featuring the beautiful twin spires that are the symbols of the Kentucky Derby. In 1903, after 28 years in business, Churchill Downs finally turned a profit.
May is here, finally, and the sports calendar is starting to really get packed with plenty of options for the die-hard sports fan. But for you couch potatoes out there, today offers so many options you could spend the whole day lounging around with your beer and Fritos as you enjoy some of your favorite sports and sporting events. We have THE classic horse race, day 3 of the NFL draft, a potentially epic game 7 in the NBA playoffs and the rare occurrence of a boxing fight that everyone is talking about.
Horse racing may be dying a slow death, but the Kentucky Derby always gets everyone excited again, even if it’s just for a few minutes. If you ever get the opportunity to go the Churchill Downs, make sure you take advantage of it. You love the race and all the southern belles all deck out in their sundresses and pretty hats. But naturally you can enjoy this on your couch as well. You can even mix yourself a special drink like The Grandstand Julip featured this week by Bob Westal.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, as the race doesn’t go off until 6:24 PM EST and most of us won’t be wasting our time with the hours of pre-race hype.
It’s always great if you can think of a different way to spend a weekend away with your mates and have a focus beyond just all getting together at the same time in the same place. A racing festival is a perfect choice as you have the spectacle of watching the horse racing, great entertainment and catering facilities and the added dimension of being able to have a few bets on the races as well. You never know, if luck is on your side, you could end up in pocket even after a few big nights out.
One of the biggest racing festivals in the UK is the Cheltenham Festival which takes place every March and it’s a great one to get booked in early, so that you’ve got it to look forward to after Christmas and New Year are over and you’ve got nothing but the tail end of the winter stretching out before you. It’s not always proper spring time by the time Cheltenham comes around, but it can be great weather for the Festival week. Also as Cheltenham is a mid-week festival, if you get everyone organised now, they’ll be able to book the time off work.
There may be tougher tests to come for Australia later this year with the Arc and British Champions Stakes both likely targets. However, he will have to overcome The Grey Gatsby and Mukhadram who both have picked up Group One victories of their own this season.