It’s been quite some time since I’ve felt exhilaration such as this (last November at the Melbourne cup would be the last).  There’s something about the coming together of people from all walks of life who share the same passion and appreciation for all the things the Cheltenham Festival brings.  Horses, competition, fashion, celebration punting and passion. It gives you chills to hear the crowd chanting Ruby Ruby Ruby as Ruby Walsh salutes nervously after last year missing on the last, the crowd literally carried ANNIE POWER whose last flight fall spared bookmakers multi-million pound payout 12 months earlier. The moment produced emotions that my Aussie mates from Newmarket and I could not put a value on with a record breaking triumph that had hallmarks of Dawn Run. And it was only the first day.

Aussie catchup at Cheltenham

Michael Kent and Gang from Newmarket.


We arrived to Cheltenham from Fossebridge where we were staying and the usual 30 minute drive turned into an hour and a half as we slowly paraded our way in through the narrow streets.  Patience is not usually one of my strengths but I relished in the sights of old world charm that many of the towns we passed through exhuded.  Coming from Australia, a baby in comparison to the rest of the world, it really is a sight to behold.

You can’t compare the fashion to that of racegoers at the Melbourne Cup.  Floral dresses with high heeled pumps do not bode well in the chilly temperatures here at Chelthenham.  Everyone here dresses for comfort and warmth whilst still maintaining a sense of style that is akin to a day out pheasant shooting! The women here wear long boots (mainly flat), warm fur lined (not necessarily real) jackets and even wear hats that contain pheasant feathers.  The men are kitted out in their Tweed suits and most wear hats that are reminiscent of the 1950’s.  I’m also happy to report that beards are alive and well here in the UK!

The horses, of course, are what everyone is here to see.  Their strength beauty and power is amazing.  I have been fortunate enough over the past week to witness some of Tullyeast racing’s finest run through their paces around the gallop and have so much respect for the work rate of these equine athletes. The way the horses are turned out for Cheltenham is likened to the top echelon of dressage or eventing with no better examples than the 4 Alan Fleming horses set to do their owner Barry Connell and his team back at the Curragh proud. It is a very rare privilege to share the inner sanctum of such a professional outfit.

Curragh Racecourse

Curragh Racecourse

We are off to celebrate St Patrick’s day today and enjoy all of what this great country has to offer.  More blogs on this to come.

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