Enter the cleaners as punters head home with a hangover
A MAMMOTH clean-up operation kicked into action as weary punters drifted out off the track after an action-packed four days of racing.
A team of cleaners descended on Prestwick Park to clear up after 220,000 pints of Guinness were downed from plastic cups, 10,000 gallons of tea and coffee and 240,000 bottles of beer consumed over the four-days.
Organisers were delighted as the number of racegoers soared, despite the economic downturn.
More than 67,000 flocked to Gold Cup day, with in excess of 219,000 attending.
A spokesman said the Cheltenham Festival was "massively important" for the betting industry.
In 2003, when favourites won more than half of the races at the meeting, it was blamed for bookmaking firms recording lower than expected profits.
However, this year bookmakers described it as the worst festival that punters have ever known, with bookies estimated to be €35m-€40m up across the industry.
Meanwhile, plumes of green smoke were sent up into the air in front of the Hollywood-style 'Paddy Power' bookies sign as the Gold Cup got under way yesterday.
Work will get under way to dismantle the 270ft-long sign this weekend, as the bookies quipped "watch this space" as it tried to negotiate with the landowners to make it a permanent fixture.