THE OPEN AT CHELTENHAM, Mares' Hurdle, Cheltenham Showcase

THE OPEN AT CHELTENHAM, Mares’ Hurdle

For the very best in horse racing experiences it is impossible to do better than visit one of the more famous horse racing festivals, and with so many now being held there is certain to be one not too far away from your home.

There are both flat racing and jump racing festivals. The most famous flat racing festivals are the Guineas Meeting  at Newmarket in May, the Derby meeting at Epsom in June, Royal Ascot  which is also in June,  Newmarket in July meeting, Glorious Goodwood  in August, the York Ebor meeting  which is also in August, the Festival of Racing  at Ascot in September.

The major jumps meetings are the Kempton Christmas festival, the Grand National Festival at Aintree in April and the climax of the jump season, the Cheltenham Festival in March.

The cream of the cream of horse racing festivals are Royal Ascot and the Cheltenham Festival. Of the two the most famous is Royal Ascot and in terms of sporting spectacle, the most exciting is the Cheltenham Festival.

Royal Ascot dates back to 1711 and it is a major feature of the English “Season” where the social elite traditionally party the summer away. The Queen always attends the festival and there is a strict dress code in operation for anyone entering the Royal Enclosure. Even outside the enclosure it tends to be a smart affair with summer dresses for the girls and jackets for the men.

The Cheltenham Festival is quite different in atmosphere and there are no dress codes. Although it does not have the tradition of Royal Ascot, the festival has been held for over a hundred years. As it is held in March it is generally a matter of wrapping up well in warm clothes rather than parading in the latest haute couture. On the other hand, there tends to be more emphasis placed on the sport than there is at Royal Ascot.

Naturally it is possible to spend a large amount of money on visiting a festival, however it does not have to be the case, and there are always low cost enclosures available.

GUIDE TO THE CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL 2011

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