An interesting compromise for the Cheltenham conundrum?

By on January 3, 2020

A big debate has been raging online over the past couple of days.

And you’re either in the ‘for’ or ‘against’ camp.

I’m talking of course about the possibility of extending the Cheltenham Festival to five days.

A couple of days ago new Cheltenham racecourse chairman Martin St Quinton said…

“I wouldn’t rule anything in, but I wouldn’t rule anything out. It would get a lot of opposition, but people don’t like change. People complained when it went from three days to four, but now everybody loves the four-day Festival.”

I have to admit I’m in the ‘against’ camp and I agree with a lot of the comments I’ve read online.

Here’s what the against camp have been saying:

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“The three day meet was always eagerly anticipated and packed full of top class championship action.

Now it’s just another meet, packed with impossible dross h’cps.

A real shame the gloss has been removed from racing’s greatest spectacle with no other motive than pure GREED.”

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“Already diluted with dirge, five just stinks of corporate greed.

Comparing it to Royal Ascot & the Saturday not being ‘the heath” anymore…

GREED, GREED, GREED!”

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“We have twice as many meetings, most utter dross, most festivals extended with more dross.

The real irony is these things are done to make more money and increase popularity, at same time I think most would agree racing is rapidly being overtaken by other sports both in popularity and betting.

Less is more, apart from at BHB HQ.”

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“Moving the Gold Cup to Saturday would in my opinion be short sighted, the supposed top race of the National Hunt Calendar would get mixed up and drop to the bottom of the days sporting events, such as the Premier League and what is often the final day of the 6 Nations Rugby.

Media coverage would relegate it to the inside pages and it would become a footnote on the day. Still as previously mentioned money will talk, but in the long run it wont pay.”

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“Continuing into Saturday would not be very fair on Uttoxeters’ big day although I guess many wouldn’t consider that an issue.

Also the six nations comes to its conclusion that day along with the premier league games taking place, I should think if they did race Saturday it would be a different crowd than the one you get now.

All in all a Saturday Gold Cup would be quite simply madness, just look at the Derby and the exposure it now gets compared to the good old days.”

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Not everyone is against it mind you. 
So in the interests of balance here’s a comment I read in favour of the change…

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“First of all, he didn’t hint that 5 days were on the way, but when asked he said that he wouldn’t rule it out. Why would he, he’s new to the job! Secondly, with all of the crap racing that we put up with, I don’t understand why you’re all so negative about 5 days racing on the best NH course in the country. 
For me it’s always over far too quickly and I’d love another day in the same way that I welcomed a 5th day at the Royal meeting.

Great TV imo and not all about punting.”

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Finally, this interesting comment regarding a compromise:

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“I’ve always said that they should have a non Festival day on the Saturday, a bit like the old ‘Ascot Heath’ fixture in the old days.

Replicate the handicaps at a lower band for horses that cant get into them (they’d still be high quality contests at that level), and run a veterans chase for horses 11+ as the highlight, maybe at level weights if you want – the senior citizens Gold Cup.

That way Cheltenham get their Saturday fixture (it would still be massively well attended I’m sure), we avoid the post Festival Saturday hangover, when we go from the sublime to the not that great very quickly, and the Festival stays as it is for the racing fans.”

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I’m interested to hear what your opinion is. Are you yay or nay for extending the festival?

Just reply to this email to share your thoughts.

Have a great Friday,
Kris Jackman | Founder Tipster Supermarket

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