The journey through London went smoothly and our colleagues were picked up in the West End Office and then we were soon out of London and on our way to Cheltenham via the M40 and then from Oxford along the A40. The onboard screens throughout the interior of the coach meant that we could watch some of the previous day’s highlights as well as the latest news on the build up to our days racing. Using the free Wifi on the coach several of the passengers were already placing bets and there was an excited atmosphere already building.
We arrived at the track and had arranged parking in the members’ car parks where picnic tables were already on view and champagne was flowing freely for many racegoers.
Entering the course there was a buzz of expectation as our group spread out into the Guinness Village with its bars and bands to explore.
The track looked resplendent in the spring sunshine, with the BetVictor blimp hovering above the course providing spectacular aerial shots for ITV Racing shown on large screens throughout the course.
With the tote advertising on the screens that one lucky punter won £182,566 for a £2 placepot bet at the 2019 Festival, it was time for my first flutter of the day.
The first race was the JCB Triumph Hurdle and a huge roar sent the runners on their way and the near 70,000 crowd’s excitement was reaching near fever pitch as 5-2 favourite Goshen bounds ten lengths clear in the straight only to unseat his jockey at the last flight. It’s left to Burning Victory (12-1) to claim the spoils and kick-start a memorable day for Irish trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Paul Townend. Unfortunately, not the one I bet on, but onto the next.
The afternoon continues with 2 more races and I finally back a winner in the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase with Chosen Mate (7-2 favourite), ridden by Davy Russell.
In the final race Indefatigable (25-1), who is only fifth jumping the last in the closing Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle comes from nowhere and flies up the hill to pip Pileon.
The end of a great days racing and for my first visit to the Festival – it truly has been a great day and hopefully I’ll be back again.
As we head back to the coaches in the car park there are tales of what might have been for some of the bets but everyone agrees it has been a great day out. The coaches smoothly leave the car park and we start our journey back to London. With plenty of snacks and drink on board there is a jovial atmosphere as we head back and the luxury of the interior of the coaches really make it an easy journey back to London.