The Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse has seen great rivalry between the home team of British-trained runners and those crossing the Irish Sea for many years.
To celebrate this rivalry, the competition between the two countries has been christened The Prestbury Cup.
The Prestbury Cup runs from the first race of the four-day meeting, the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, on Tuesday, 11 March until either country has 14 winners or more.
Last year, for the first time, there were more Irish-trained horses winners than British-trained, with 14 trophies taken back across the Irish Sea.
There are a total of 27 races during The Festival, not including the charity Flat race, the St Patrick’s Day Derby, on Thursday of the meeting.
Sophia Brudenell, Communications Manager for the South West Region of Jockey Club Racecourses, commented: “The competition between Ireland and Great Britain is an element of The Festival that has grown hugely in significance over the last few years, noticeably when Ireland had more winners than Britain last year for the first time.
“It therefore seemed appropriate that the competition between the two countries should be given an official title, hence the name The Prestbury Cup.
“With such strong entries from Ireland this year, as well as hundreds of British-trained horses running, I’m sure The Prestbury Cup will provide a great narrative to The Festival.”
The Prestbury Cup, named after the nearest village to Cheltenham Racecourse, will be presented to jockeys and trainers from Ireland or Britain once the winning country is confirmed.
The Cup itself has been sealed with some hallowed Cheltenham turf, so the winning country will be taking a little bit of Cheltenham with them.
Best of luck, or as they say in Ireland, Is fearr de luck!
The Festival takes place from Tuesday, 11 March until Friday, 14 March. For further information or to book tickets, please visit www.cheltenham.co.uk or call 0844 579 3003.
Irish-trained successes at The Festival
2013 – 14* (27 races)
2012 – 5 (27 races)
2011 – 13 (27 races)
2010 – 7 (26 races)
2009 – 9 (26 races)
2008 – 7 (25 races)
2007 – 5 (24 races)
2006 – 10 (24 races)
2005 – 9 (24 races)
2004 – 4 (20 races)
* Record, although The Festival was previously three days up until 2005. Prior to The Festival’s extension to four days in 2005, the previous record was eight wins in 1958 (when 18 races were run).