Musical Mark (13) proves odds-on favourite with fans
A SCHOOLBOY'S song about the famous escapades at Cheltenham has become the toast of the festival.
Mark Boylan (13), from Banagher, Co Offaly, said it was unbelievable to be finally attending all four days of the event.
"Last year, I did a version of the 'Cheltenham Downtown' (charity) song and a producer saw it on YouTube and said he would fly me over to Cheltenham for a day," said the talkative first-year pupil.
"That experience of arriving on the course and feeling the atmosphere inspired me to write my own one. I thought I'd write one that was a little more passionate and the real racing fans would understand.
"It's such an amazing place -- if you could put it in a bottle, you would sell it. It is so unbelievable. I love horseracing and music as well; those are my two passions," he said.
He was also hoping the teachers at Banagher College, Colaiste na Sionna, wouldn't mind him taking a week off school.
"A good few of the jockeys are fans on Twitter," he said.
He said Tony McCoy had written online: "I ain't no Simon Cowell but I found 13-year-old Mark Boylan's song impressive."
Proud parents Helena and Dave Boylan said that for their horse-mad son, the events of the past few days are akin to a soccer fan being contacted by a Premier League star.
The talented singer got a standing ovation in the jam-packed Irish haunt, O'Neills pub in Cheltenham, when he performed 'The Festival' on the night before it kicked off.