Regulars of the Cheltenham Festival will have grown used to, perhaps even sick of, the debate that occurs every year as to whether the festival represents too much of a good thing. In the last few years, the festival has expanded, going from a three-day event to a four day one. Some punters think that, in adding this extra day, organisers have had to fill the extra time with sub-par races.
The debate took a new turn this year when none other than James Knight, who occupies a senior position at the bookmakers Ladbrokes Coral, took to Twitter to vent his frustration. Knight referred to some of the festival's races as being “ridiculously hyped” and “done-to-death”. His remarks have divided punters and observers, but it seems that even those who might be inclined to agree with him won’t be put off from attending the festival.
Too Much of a Good Thing?
One of the most common arguments made in defence of the festival is that it draws in attendees who would not normally concern themselves with racing meets, thus helping to broaden the appeal of the sport. There is also a concern in some quarters that, were organisers to reverse the recent changes, the appeal of the festival would be limited and the corresponding drop in attendance could have significant ramifications for its future.
There is also the concern that if Cheltenham shrinks in size then many of the competing jump horses will be fielded at other events earlier in the year. Jump horses, like all animals, have a finite lifespan and the more they compete, the more chances there are for them to become injured, potentially ruling them out of appearing at Cheltenham when the time comes.
From the beginning of November, the jump racing calendar enters its golden months. Every week, racing fans are treated to high-quality events. For example, there is the ever-popular Betfair Chase, the Tingle Creek, and the December Gold Cup, to name but a few.All of these events have proven to be popular and for many, they provide a useful indication of who to watch out for at Cheltenham.
As far as British flat racing goes, there is simply no equivalent to Cheltenham, as much as we wish there was, despite massive investment from the industry in trying to make this happen.
Bets and Tips
Of course, one of the main attractions of Cheltenham will always be the betting. The excitement of seeking out the best racing tips and the thrill when they pay off is an integral part of the experience. In amongst the punters who have devised their own proprietary system, there are also a number of keen observers, armed with an arsenal of statistics and observations from other race meets. And, of course, now that technology is playing an important role in the world of sports, and gambling, there are a number of websites who claim to offer the best bets and betting tips for Cheltenham Festival 2018.
The Cheltenham Festival remains one of the most popular events on the British jump race calendar. Its sustained popularity, as well as the inability of other sectors of the industry to replicate its success, suggests that it is an event that we should cherish while it is around.