March is here and when living in this area of the Cotswolds it can only mean one thing…. The Festival is upon us!
When I say ‘Festival’ I am not talking about the super cool wandering around scantily clad with funky wellies on listening to the trendiest of bands but a four-day extravaganza of top class racehorses ready to prove their excellence at the outstanding racecourse in Cheltenham.
Whether you are a keen seasoned race-goer or you have never watched a race in your life The Festival really is not to be missed.
Something magical happens when you enter the course. The atmosphere cannot be described to its full potential.
The Cheltenham ‘roar’ when the flags are lifted for the first race sends shivers up everyone’s spine and sets the anticipation up for the following five or six races of the day.
Seeing everyone dressed up and the horses looking their absolute best is a real treat to the eye.
You are not expected to spend all of your day solely watching the sporting side of things, instead you can stroll around the trade stands or wander through the Guinness Village listening to live music whilst having a cheeky beverage.
Here at Notgrove Holidays we are extremely lucky as not only is Cheltenham only a short drive from us but we are also surrounded by several racing yards ….and good ones at that!
The closest being Nigel Twiston-Davies and Fergal O’Brien who both have training facilities on the outskirts of Naunton and Guiting Power which are neighboring villages to us.
Nigel won the best race you can possibly win at The Festival in 2010 with a horse called Imperial Commander. Fergal was actually working for Nigel at the time as his ‘Head Lad’ until he decided to go solo and take out his own training license a few years ago.
We also have Ben Pauling nearby , Martin Keighley and of course Jonjo O’Neil. Jonjo won the Gold Cup in 2012 as a trainer with a horse called synchronised but also rode as a jockey in his younger days and was also fortunate enough to win the race on a very famous horse called ‘Dawn Run’. So I think it is safe to say he may know a thing or two!
It is a good idea to go and have yourself a hearty breakfast at one of our local racing pubs before you head off for your day of excitement. The Hollow Bottom in Guiting Power does a great breakfast (as well as other meals) and on your way to the pub you get to pass Fergal and Nigels gallops so you may get to see the horses being exercised. Likewise The Plough at Ford is another Racing favorite not only for their fantastic food but also because Jonjo’s gallops are right next to the car park.
That is just a little insight to the excitement ahead of us this week. Lets hope our local trainers can bring home some winners and safe and happy horses. Best of luck to you all!!!