Monday 14 October 2019

Thousands of Irish fans head to the festival

Under starter’s orders: Rain sits on the gallop at Cheltenham as horses exercised yesterday (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Under starter’s orders: Rain sits on the gallop at Cheltenham as horses exercised yesterday (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

And they're off. Thousands of people are making the journey across the Irish Sea for the annual Cheltenham racing festival. Around one-third of all the tickets for the event this year have been sold to Irish racing fans.

But racegoers are advised to wrap up and keep dry with 12mm of rain forecast to fall tomorrow.

Over the weekend the weather was warm, though with the forecast for heavy downpours up to lunchtime tomorrow the racing may start on soft ground.

Ryanair said it has put on 30 extra flights and more than 190 flights in total to and from Birmingham, Bristol and East Midlands for Cheltenham week.

It estimated its aircraft will carry some 25,000 racing fans to and from the festival. Ryanair has also sponsored a grade one race which will take place on Thursday.

Bookmaker Paddy Power predicted around €1.13bn will be bet across the industry in Ireland and the UK for Cheltenham. Irish punters are expected to wager €452m.

Irish Independent

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