As horseracing fans continue getting ready to bet on Cheltenham races, the hopes of allowing people to attend the festival are diminishing by the day. The operator is expected to mark the beginning of the Cheltenham Festival with an assortment of excellent promotions. With the current lockdown restrictions, the chances of racegoers being in stadiums in March for the feature meeting look slim. Nonetheless, track chiefs are still looking for the best scenario to permit a limited number of people on venues.
Normally, around 60,000 racegoers would attend the race in each of the four days, with millions enjoying the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday Live. When asked whether Cheltenham had given up on preparing to allow back crowds to the stadium, racecourse boss Ian Renton said it wouldn’t be possible in the next few weeks. Ian further added that the festival organizers have remained very realistic in the last few months, although small bits of hope are disappearing fast as we get closer to the Cheltenham event.
Ian believes that the organizers will soon need to be realistic and accept that very small numbers will attend the festival in the best-case scenario. At the very least, the racecourse boss hopes that owners will be present and possibly go back to the December days when crowds of up 2000 people were allowed each day.
The 2021 Cheltenham Festival will be hosted from March 16th– 19th, around the same time as last year’s event, held before the UK went on a lockdown. Most of the summer events were staged behind closed stadiums, although up to 2000 fans attended some fixtures ahead of Christmas last year.
Unfortunately, Renton estimates that the current situation might cost the Jockey Club about 100 million euros. Thankfully, there’s an insurance policy in place for the upcoming Cheltenham Festival to help cover the revenue loss. However, there’s still a huge tranche that the organizers can’t bring despite its obvious significance to the Jockey Club.
Renton has already accepted that it will be a very different festival this year as teams will only be concentrating on having the best racing possible as organizers continue to explore ways for the right horse to attend. That will be the perfect ground to create the perfect four days of racing, although people will be watching the races on liver TV instead of in person. Fortunately, there was good news for Irish trainers planning to bring their stars for the four-day jumps racing. Renton was also optimistic that it wouldn’t be an issue for participants like Gordon Elliot, Willie Mullins, and Henry De Bromhead.