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Paddy Power face hurdles over festival's 'Hollywood' hoarding

BOOKIES Paddy Power could find themselves in hot water if a 50ft sign erected on Cleeve Hill for the festival is not dismantled today.

Based on the Hollywood sign, the white Paddy Power replica could be seen surrounded by a blaze of green smoke as shock winner of the Gold Cup, Imperial Commander raced past the finishing line, beating favourites Kauto Star and Denman.

And while the Irish bookmaker believes the sign has been a great success and even plans to make it a permanent fixture at the four-day festival, the council and local families are not so keen.

The local authority claims that Paddy Power did not have planning permission and said that they would initiate proceedings if it was not taken down immediately. "Even on a temporary basis, it does require consent and we are pursuing that matter with the landowner," said Mella McMahon, of Tewkesbury Council. "Our phones have been very busy and there are a lot of people extremely concerned about the impact on the landscape, even in the short term," she added.

Paddy Power insisted they would continue fighting to make it an annual fixture at the track, having secured a deal with the landowner.

"He's agreed to let us keep the sign there permanently," the bookies said. "We're pretty excited about it, it's probably going to be a bit of a tourist attraction for the area." They conceded, however, that they would honour the council's wishes by taking down the sign this weekend.

Meanwhile, Gaffney & Sons pub in Fairview will be the place to be tonight when Dublin syndicate Half A Keg arrives home to mark their big Cheltenham win.

The group of eight is celebrating Berties Dream's victory in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle.

The horse was chosen by East Wall native Conor Broderick just three days before his father died.

The kitchen fitter revealed how he believed his father had brought him luck from above. "We were on the way down to give Paul the money for the horse and we got the phone call that my father was unwell. Sadly he died three days later. He would have been delighted about this win," he added.

Katie Walsh, sister of Ruby, also had plenty of celebrating to do last night, after recording her second win of the week on Thousand Stars in the Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle Race.

h Among those spotted around the track yesterday were Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce, ITV star Jeremy Kyle and sacked Hull City manager Phil Brown.

Attendance at this year's festival was up on last year, with 219,284 punters coming through the gates over the four days.

Yesterday, 67,716 visited the racetrack for the final day.