Cheltenham Festival racecourse 14th March 2023

Danny Speck attended Cheltenham Festival 2023 and has written about his experience for Dazn Bet. Read his boots-on-the-ground review here for some first-hand tips on how to get the best out of a Cheltenham visit.

The Cheltenham Festival 2023: From a Punter’s Perspective

As the dust settles at Prestbury Park for another year, the 2023 Cheltenham Festival comes to an end. All the hype and excitement over the four days is now on hold until next year and I for one already cannot wait for the 2024 Cheltenham Festival.

Cheltenham 2023 View from the stands

This was the second year running I have attended Cheltenham and it never fails to impress me. From the beauty of the parade ring to the raucous atmosphere in the Guinness Village or the quite simply stunning views from the grandstand, there’s truly no place like it. I managed to go for three of the four days in the Tattersalls enclosure, Tuesday (Champion Day), Thursday (St Patrick’s Thursday) and Friday (Gold Cup Day). We spent Wednesday as a rest day watching the racing in a sports bar. Trust me when I say this but when you’re already doing three of the four days at the festival, a rest day can come in handy!

Getting to Cheltenham Festival – Prices

I thought that getting into the racecourse was quick and easy, no long queues waiting to check tickets like you get with some sporting events, a very smooth process at Cheltenham which always helps. I always find the Tattersalls enclosure good value for money, and I’d definitely recommend it for anyone who is looking to go next year. I paid £67 each day for Tuesday and Thursday, and £87 for Gold Cup Day which I think is just fine for the biggest and best racing festival of the year.

Cheltenham 2023 crowds

Cheltenham Festival Food and Drink

This year at Cheltenham there was a capped attendance, and you could definitely sense that as 2022 seemed busier. The waiting times at bars were way shorter, I’d say it was roughly 15 minutes maximum to get served at the main bar in the grandstand where we were located. When I compare that to last year, I actually missed a race in 2022 due to waiting at the bar to get a drink for too long which was rather annoying. I’d like to see the reduced attendance stay next year for sure. Obviously with this comes the added positive about being able to get food quicker and easier. We went into the Cenatur after the Gold Cup – the Cenatur is basically a big hall where you can get food, drink and watch the racing on a big projector – and I got served right away for a hot dog, which was delicious, the quality of the food overall was very good from what I also heard from other people. One thing I will say is the food probably does cost a bit too much at around £13 for hot dogs and burgers all across the racecourse. The same can probably be said about the prices of drinks. Guinness is my go-to when I go to the races, it was around £7.50 for a pint of Guinness which was slightly up from last year and in my opinion, a little too much, they could look at reducing this for next year.

Cheltenham 2023 the course from the stand

Cheltenham Festival – The Best Quality Racing

I must mention the quality of racing and what joy it was to see some of the best jumps horses live. To see Constitution Hill winning the Champion Hurdle by nearly 10 lengths was so impressive and he has to be one of the best horses I’ve ever seen, Nico De Boinville the jockey riding the winner hardly touched him throughout the race and he made the win look so easy against a very good horse in State Man who finished second. Seeing Honeysuckle win her fourth race at the Cheltenham Festival in the Mares Hurdle was something I’ll never forget, I’ve never seen atmosphere like it after a horse race. I also can’t go on without mentioning witnessing Galopin Des Champs winning the Gold Cup on Friday, beating Bravemansgame by 7 lengths. We watched that race right down by the winning post and it’s a moment I’ll always remember in one of the best Gold Cup victories we’ve seen for quite some time. It helped that I managed to back Galopin Des Champs too! If you’re a racing fan, and have never been to the Cheltenham Festival, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s breath-taking seeing some of these horses live.

Cheltenham 2023 the course from the stands

Cheltenham Festival 2024 – Looking Forward

Some improvements I’d like to see going into 2024 at Cheltenham would be, as I mentioned, a potential cap on the food and drink prices, especially when people are paying a lot of money all in all for tickets, travel, and accommodation. The chiefs of the festival should surely take this into account and make it a little cheaper for the average racegoer. Another potential improvement would be quicker taxi queues, we stood in the taxi queue after Tuesday for 1 hour and 20 minutes whilst it was raining and close to freezing temperatures which was far from ideal. For Thursday and Friday, we pre-booked taxis which made it a lot easier. I would definitely tell anyone attending to do the same instead of potentially waiting in long queues which ended up being a poor end to a great race day on Tuesday.

 

To summarise, the 2023 Cheltenham Festival was the best racing festival I have ever been to personally, even though I was down on betting for the week! Everything from the excitement beforehand to the actual racing to the atmosphere at the racecourse, it was incredible and is certainly a sporting event I’ll be going to for many years to come. Like I’ve mentioned before, if you’re into horse racing, even if you like a good bet or not just make sure you try to attend the 2024 Cheltenham Festival as I’m sure you will be impressed. Roll on March 2024!