The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2021 is delighted to reveal a veritable feast of 200 free events and activities from 8 – 17 October, including the Festival’s infamous Lit Crawl and striking new immersive venue: VOICEBOX.
Spilling into the town from the Festival village, people of all ages will find something to enjoy - from spoken word gigs to literary pub quizzes and ghost tours, comedy and music to storytelling sessions, or simply enjoying The Times crossword with a coffee on site.
Exploring themes from mental health to activism, the brand new VOICEBOX in Montpellier Gardens will be a platform for young people to amplify the issues they care about: using creativity as a force for change and turning up the volume on everything from global initiatives to grassroots community projects. From short talks and chats about today’s most important issues, to group artworks, workshops and live music from the best established and emerging talent, this vibrant and completely free programme puts young people at the heart of the conversation.
The line-up features hands-on workshops with leading illustrators Natalie Byrne and Kazvare Made It; intimate chats with activists including Kenny Ethan Jones, Aja Barber, Charlotte Williams and Bianca Foley and writers Caleb Azumah Nelson and Hana Walker Brown; pop-up performances from poets Sophia Thakur, Raymond Antrobus, Nikita Gill and Monika Radojevic; a focus on mental health with Instagram psychologist Dr Soph and TV’s Dr Alex George, MANIFESTO FOR MINDS and Keep Real Mental Health; conversations on the future of key global issues with young advisers from Chatham House; contributions from local artists, performers and comedians including JPDL, Jussara Nazare and Rizpah Amadasun, music from Natalie Oaks, t.e.d., Grove and indie pop duo Muffintops, and a special live episode of Cheltenham’s student-led podcast, Spill the Tea.
Emma Whittle, Programme Manager said: “VOICEBOX is home to unmissable experiences and one-off moments, and we can’t wait to share this brand-new immersive programme with the public. VOICEBOX is a fun and vibrant space for conversation, celebration and debate: a place to soak up the atmosphere, explore today’s hottest topics, discover the freshest new voices and to get your views heard when it comes to the issues that matter.”
There is lots for families to discover at the Festival this year. From a chance to meet favourite book characters in The Wild Wood, to an awesome journey of discovery on the Atlas of Adventures trail, little ones are sure to find plenty to enjoy. There will be stories galore as Winnie the Witch shares her exciting adventures with her black cat Wilbur, and Story Shack is the perfect spot to travel around the world with traditional tales from different cultures. The Den will be the place to visit to make festival hats, flags and maps.
The Festival’s infamous Lit Crawl returns once more (Saturday 9 October from 5pm till late) for the Festival’s …around town programme in association with the Cheltenham BID. A fast-paced evening of comedy, readings, performances, and parties, Cheltenham’s streets, bars, and bookshops will once again burst at the seams with quirky literary happenings.
Belinda Hunt, Operations Manager at Cheltenham BID said: “We’re delighted to support the …around town programme again welcoming people to enjoy the amazing range of events available and everything our vibrant town centre has to offer. The Crawl includes immersive theatre and a literary ghost tour, ending up at The Tavern for a foot-stompingly energetic finale of music, poetry and spoken word. And for families, there’s a We’re Going on a Book Hunt trail with ten favourite characters from children’s books hidden in shops, cafes and venues across Cheltenham.”
Tying into the Festival’s major new ‘Read the World’ 3-year theme, the popular Huddle stage will have a decidedly international flavour this year with a range of free activities designed to help discover amazing writing from around the world. Literary Explorer in Residence, Ann Morgan dispenses reading recommendations, writers including Ruth Ozeki and Graeme Macrae Burnet enthuse about the world writers they love, industry insiders reveal how books have taken them around the globe and a range of publishers including Fitzcarraldo Editions, Pushkin Press and Europa Editions talk about bringing a wealth of international and translated writing to UK readers.
Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp of the #WorldKidLit project will be on hand to recommend books from around the globe to younger readers and their families; the popular Very Short introductions To...series returns, and Festival-goers can continue their literary explorations via dedicated showcases of Dutch, Scottish and Irish writing Meanwhile, one of the world’s most prestigious non-fiction prizes: The Baillie Gifford Prize will have its 2021 shortlist announced live from the Huddle stage by Chair of the Judges and Sunday Times Literary Editor Andrew Holgate on Friday 15 October at 4pm.
In the new drop-in Costa Space there’s interactive storytelling for pre-schoolers with Winnie the Witch ; inspiration for book-lovers as a different Festival guest will be on hand each day to share their recent favourite reads; the ‘Cheltenham Writes!’ series will showcase the talents of a different local writer each day and at 4pm daily a range of famous faces from the main programme will be dropping by for readings.
Follow this link www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature/whats-on/grid and 'Filter by Theme' and click 'Free Event' to see the full list.
Keiron Stevens, the former Head Chef at 1 Michelin Star restaurant Adams, will be joining the Cheltenham-based restaurant group JM Socials.
He will be joining the group as their new Executive Chef, heading up the kitchen operations across their six restaurants. Beginning at one of their original Cheltenham restaurants, Prithvi, he’ll be leading the team in enhancing and developing their Indian-inspired menu.
Originally from Cheltenham, Keiron has previously cooked in two Michelin star kitchens, including as a sous chef at Pennyhill and a senior sous chef at Gidleigh Park. He also spent one year training in the illustrious 3 Michelin Star ‘Benu’ in San Francisco.
He’s now moving back to the town his culinary journey began at the then 2 Michelin Star Le Champignon Sauvage while still at school.
Discussing his new position, Keiron said: “There’s massive scope to what we can do at the JM Socials' restaurants. My main focus will be Prithvi to begin with, a fantastic restaurant in my hometown that’s won many culinary hearts. I’m excited to push things forward here and work collaboratively with the team.”
Prithvi has thrived in Cheltenham for nine years, previously being named in the top 10 UK restaurants, amongst a number of other accolades. The other JM Socials establishments, owned by long-term friends and restaurateurs Jay Rahman and Michael Raphel, are a collection of new cuisine concepts, casual eateries and South Indian restaurants.
As well as launching an espresso bar this winter, their expansion plans continue with talks of the duo launching a restaurant alongside Keiron.
We couldn't let Negroni week pass without sharing a classic recipe.
This one has been created for us by Harry (@shakermakers on Insta) at The Tavern in Cheltenham.
25ml Sweet Vermouth
Garnish - Orange Wedge
Photographer: Glenn Dearing (@glenndearing)
Cheltenham-based clothing brand &SONS have opened a brand new ‘Experiential Store’ in the town.
&SONS Trading Post is located 60 Clarence Street, Cheltenham, GL50 3LE and will carry all of their latest garments in every size and colour.
The store is filled with curiosities, original vintage pieces and feels more like a home from home than a retail space. They encourage customers to pop down, grab a coffee and just unwind. They have installed a record player with a collection of vinyls, a coffee machine and even a few musical instruments for the occasional jam.
What’s also unique is that you can browse, try on and get to know the products, and once purchased, they will ship directly to your doorstep. This combines the experience of traditional retail with the convenience of online shopping. The customer will receive a brand new garment, still wrapped and unworn without the need to carry it around whilst they continue shopping.
&SONS was created just over 5 years ago to forge vintage inspired and timeless garments for the modern man, designed by and for craftspeople, artisan makers and creative pioneers in their chosen fields of endeavour. Since then they have seen significant growth and have a handful of stockists around the world.
As they move to become a more sustainable brand and with a strong belief in circular fashion, the principles for the new store will be built around reuse/repurpose/recycle. They will be offering our customers the chance to buy repaired and altered stock along with the old season and discontinued items from their archives at a reduced price to take away.
In the future, they plan on offering repairs as well as one-off screen printed garments mixed with open evenings, live music and get togethers.
Founder Phil James said
“There’s something very special about bricks and mortar stores, a three-dimensional environment where we can interact with customers and they can interact with our clothing. One of the hardest things about being an online business was demonstrating the quality of our clothing and the attentional to detail. Seeing first hand our customers pick up an item, try it on and feedback is incredibly rewarding and insightful.
As a concept, we wanted the space to showcase our existing lines but also to give customers the chance to buy old / repurposed and discontinued stock. This concept will give our garments a second chance and avoid anything going into landfills and as a growing brand we are very aware of the environmental impact of the fashion industry so this is our way of helping.
We live and work in Cheltenham so the location was an obvious choice for our first ‘concept store’. We can hang out there, meet our customers and learn so much before opening more stories in the future. If the concept works, we hope to open more across the UK and overseas such as the US and parts of Europe."
The store will be open 7 days a week from 9am-5pm
The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival 2021 is thrilled to reveal this year’s unmissable full programme of events, setting the scene for an international literary celebration like no other.
From Friday 8 to Sunday 17 October, the world’s foremost writers, thinkers and performers will descend on the vibrant spa town when the Festival village returns to the heart of regency Cheltenham.
The world’s first literature festival continues to blaze a trail with unique experiences and the unparalleled line-up, announced today, is set to create even more unforgettable memories for book lovers this autumn. Showcasing literary legends, fresh new voices and the biggest books of the year, there is something on offer for everyone: from stars of the stage and screen to incisive political debate. The programme spans history, food, travel, poetry and spoken word, art, sport, faith, philosophy, fashion, psychology, science, nature, business and much more.
The lively Festival village is the perfect setting for a family day out with a bumper programme of events, free activities, workshops, and story trails featuring the greatest storytellers and illustrators, sure to inspire a love of reading in children of all ages and stages. The Literature for Schools programme, featuring Cheltenham Festival’s flagship education programme Reading Teachers = Reading Pupils, will also give thousands of school children the chance to meet their literary heroes.
The Festival is harnessing digital technology as part of its drive to create a world in which everyone can explore culture. Cheltenham Festivals’ YouTube channel will broadcast highlights from each day of the Festival, including filmed talks with international writers as part of the Read The World theme. In addition, recordings of over 140 events will be available on demand until 31 December 2021 via the #CheltLitFest Player.
Charging into its 6th year in Cheltenham, for one night only Lit Crawl sees the town’s bars, record stores, cafes, tattoo parlours and barbershops packed with literary revellers until late into the night sampling everything from flash fiction to ghost stories, music to comedy, pop-up readings to spoken word.
An immersive and visually striking new venue and programme lands this October at the Literature Festival. VOICEBOX will bring youth voices to the forefront through a completely free programme of talks, workshops, panels, DJ sets and more, shining a light on the topics and trends that matter to young adults. Events will feature the best established and emerging local and national young writers, artists and creatives and digital audiences will be encouraged to join in the conversation through the Festival’s social media channels, continuing discussion and debate beyond the 10-day event.
Booking for the Literature Festival opens to Cheltenham Festivals Members on Friday 3 September and general booking opens on Friday 10 September.
You can find the full listing HERE.
After an involuntary one-year hiatus, Cheltenham Beer Week returns to the town this month.
The event starts on Bank Holiday Monday (30th August 2021), running through to 5th September 2021 across many venues around the town and beyond.
Cheltenham Beer Week will help get the pints pouring again with a number of beer-focussed events hosted at some of the county's top venues.
In addition, the expertise of nine independent breweries, alongside Brook House Hops, has been enlisted to help produce a limited-edition collaboration beer, ‘New Era ’, a 4.2 % English Summer Ale to be poured exclusively for the week.
With a remarkable number of independent breweries within Gloucestershire, and a great deal of venues that support them, the Cheltenham Beer Festival aims to raise the profile of each and every one and showcase the quality of the Cheltenham and Gloucestershire beer scene, which makes it one of the most desirable locations for beer drinkers around the UK.
The pandemic has brought with it many difficulties for breweries in the county over the last year, but they have all remained resolute in their aim to bring the freshest and best beer they can to the public.
This year, beer drinkers can properly celebrate a return to normality with a selection of events hosted in some of the top venues throughout the county, culminating with 'The Main Event' on 4th September at Stroud Brewery, where guests can join the breweries for a day filled with entertainment, food and, of course, plenty of beer.
The Cheltenham Beer Week will continue to support the National Star College in Ullenwood, who provide education and support for young people with complex disabilities. All profits from the week will be going to them.
For all the information and events during the Cheltenham Beer Week, please visit cheltenhambeerweek.co.uk.
Tickets for Cheltenham Beer Week's ‘Main Event’ are available to purchase here > TicketTailor.
The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival is delighted to reveal a selection of early highlights appearing at the world’s oldest literature festival for its highly anticipated return to physical events this autumn. From Friday 8 to Sunday 17 October, the award-winning Festival will welcome audiences to all its venues across the heart of regency Cheltenham, as the vibrant spa town comes alive for a literary celebration like no other.
Welcoming over 1000 of the world’s very best writers, thinkers, and performers, the Festival continues to lead the way in showcasing the written and spoken word with something for everyone on this year’s unmissable programme. From the biggest new book releases to up to the minute political debate, there will be events covering history, poetry, art, sport, faith, philosophy, fashion, psychology, science, travel, nature, business and much more, plus a packed family programme that will inspire a love of reading in children of all ages.
READ THE WORLD
The Festival’s 3-year theme – Read the World – will showcase the best new voices in fiction and poetry alongside literary greats and high-profile speakers from around the world. The full Read the World programme will be announced in the summer.
This year’s Fiction programme celebrates the biggest names writing today alongside inspiring new voices winning the hearts of readers. Early highlights include award-winning Maggie O’Farrell, who will reflect on the six books that would accompany her to a desert island; Torrey Peters will be talking to Elizabeth Day about her Women’s Prize-shortlisted Detransition Baby; and Elif Shafak discusses her new novel, which deals with belonging and identity, love, and trauma.
Jeanette Winterson will tackle the implications of Artificial Intelligence on the ways we live and love, Colm Tóibín takes audiences on a breath-taking journey through the eyes of the literary titan Thomas Mann, Pulitzer Prize winner Colson Whitehead will discuss his new book Harlem Shuffle as well as the miniseries adaptation of The Underground Railroad, and Guest Curator Bernardine Evaristo will chair a panel featuring Mary Jean Chan, Paul Mendez, Andrew McMillan, and Richard Scott in a celebration of queer writers.
For crime aficionados, Pointless star Richard Osman will reflect on the phenomenal success of his debut as well as introducing the Festival audience to The Man Who Died Twice; Mick Herron joins a special event honouring the great John Le Carré to mark his final novel Silverview; Ann Cleeves will discuss the latest in her Two Rivers series, and Robert Peston introduces his explosive new thriller.
CLASSIC LITERATURE & MEMOIR
For fans of classic literature, Hamilton’s Giles Terera will explore the linguistic similarities between Shakespeare and Lin-Manuel Miranda; Countdown’s Dictionary Corner doyenne Susie Dent will be sharing a history of the English language, and the mighty Sebastian Faulks joins other writers to reflect on the literary life of Paris.
The leading American activist and scholar, Rebecca Solnit, discusses her new book Orwell’s Roses with Deborah Levy, as the two consider how the author influenced their own works. Deborah Levy will also be in conversation with Guest Curator Joan Bakewell about her celebrated trilogy of ‘living autobiographies’.
For readers looking to learn more about their favourite writers, Richard Coles will be offering insight into life, death, religion, and community; presenter Anita Rani will recall growing up as a second-generation British Indian woman up north while Nikesh Shukla considers the world into which his young daughter, as a mixed-race girl, is growing.
POETRY & OFF THE PAGE
Giving a taster of the Festival’s legendary Poetry & Off the Page events, are the award-winning and bestselling poetry anthologist, Allie Esiri, who will be championing the hidden gems of poetry as well as the much-revered poets who shaped us. The taboo-busting, poetry and prose prodigy Hollie McNish holds up a mirror to our everyday existence, and Dylan Thomas Prize winning Kayo Chingonyi will present his dazzling second collection exploring inheritance.
STAGE & SCREEN
Adding some glitz and glamour to this year’s Festival will be the unapologetic Joan Collins giving a glimpse into the pages of her diary, star of the hit TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, Bimini Bon Boulash will offer a behind-the-scenes look into the life of a drag queen, and the trailblazing frontwoman of Skunk Anansie, Skin will reveal what it is like to have been a global female icon over the past 25 years.
Former politician, TV personality and Strictly royalty Ed Balls will reminisce on his early life and love of food, Gyles Brandreth explores his family history against a backdrop of 1950s Britain, comedian Josh Widdicombe will take a trip down memory lane as he recounts the TV shows that shaped his childhood and its wider impact on British culture, and Festival favourite Bob Mortimer returns to discuss his first autobiography, And Away….
CURRENT AFFAIRS, SCIENCE, FAITH & PHILOSOPHY
For those wanting to make a difference, Ed Miliband will teach Festival goers how to fix the world, while Amika George – founder of the Free Periods movement – and entrepreneur and youth activist Jeremiah Emmanuel share their Activist Toolkit, and Musa Okwonga opens up about his experience as young black man studying at Eton College. Ruby Wax lifts the spirits and finds the positives in every day, Sarah Sands finds a way to de-stress in the modern age, and Richard Dawkins will share an electrifying celebration of science writing and an essential guide to the most exciting ideas of our time.
Critically acclaimed actor David Harewood will share his deeply personal, powerful and provocative exploration of race, identity, breakdown and recovery with the Cheltenham audience; Love Island and government ambassador for youth mental health, Dr Alex George will provide an invaluable guide for both physical and mental wellbeing; actor Evanna Lynch will deliver a raw yet intensely thoughtful account of her recovery from anorexia, and Hassan Akkad – Syrian refugee, cleaner and refugee rights activist – will share his journey of hope and connection.
FOOD, LIFESTYLE, SPORT & ART
For foodie fans, cookery stylist and writer Anna Jones will reveal how one pan can save the planet, Grace Dent and Katy Wix reflect on the central role of food in our lives and Ravinder Bhogal shares her favourite recipes from an immigrant kitchen.
Radio DJ and broadcaster Annie Mac and Candice Brathwaite, founder of Make Motherhood Diverse, share the life lessons they wish they had heard as young girls, and the extraordinary Michael Rosen will offer advice for those navigating the challenges that come when caring for a loved one.
Katy Hessel, art historian and podcaster, participates in a panel of women making waves in the art world to explore the feminist art history revolution in celebration of the 30th anniversary of Linda Nochlin's 'why have there been no great women artists?'; and author and photographer Caleb Azumah Nelson and Charlotte Jansen will share some of the most exciting photographers defining the art form today.
Footballing legend Peter Schmeichel relives his career prime at Manchester United, England rugby star James Haskell will share his voyage of self-discovery on retiring from international sport, and boxer and humanitarian Ramla Ali will offer her valuable lessons about what it takes to become a champion.
HISTORY & ANCIENT WORLD
History buffs are in for a treat with this year’s Festival with military historian Max Hastings shedding light on Operation Pedestal, Alison Weir will conclude her sweeping Tudor saga with an introduction to the last of Henry VIII’s sextet of wives, Katharine Parr; and Antonia Fraser is in conversation with Allan Mallinson about her new biography on the nineteenth century pioneering women’s rights activist Caroline Norton. Sathnam Sanghera explores the impact of our imperialist history on modern Britain, and Fatima Manji offers a vital new perspective on Britain and the Orient.
NATURE, TRAVEL AND ADVENTURE
The original Yorkshire shepherdess Amanda Owen offers a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a farmer in all seasons, and Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and Sam Lee will explore the nightingale in folklore, poetry, and song. Nepalese mountaineer Nimsdai Purja and former Royal Marines sniper turned adventurer Aldo Kane will share their stories of making the impossible possible.
This year’s bumper Family programme, invites children and young adults on an unforgettable literary adventure around our own world and beyond. Festival favourite Lenny Henry unveils his first book for children, Victoria Hislop returns to the Greek setting of her international bestseller The Island in her debut children’s book Marias’ Island and the nation’s favourite storyteller Michael Morpurgo introduces his first new novel in two years, When Fishes Flew.
Further highlights include magic, mayhem, and mishaps galore from current Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell and Tom Gates’ creator Liz Pichon.
This year, the non-fiction programme is bigger and better than ever, including four special events curated by Guest Curators The Week Junior. Sports icon Clare Balding presents ideas on how to develop resilience in the face of tough situations; CBeebies presenter Maddie Moate shares some mind-boggling facts about the stuff we use every day; and the original QI Elf, Molly Oldfield will be providing the answers to the most curious questions.
Poets and performers pop up across the programme. Word-play maestro Jonny Fluffypunk performs his new show, The End of the Pier Show, complete with poetry, puppetry, story, song, and a healthy dose of ramshackle anarchy; James Mayhew’s musical production Once Upon a Tune tells stories from the orchestra and stand-up poet Joshua Seigal performs from his new collection Yapping Away!. Spoken word poets Tongue Fu and Chris Redmond will showcase the power of poetry and music in the fight against climate change.
Little ones will be in for a treat with events from the extraordinarily talented Spanish author-illustrator Anuska Allepuz, Meet the Oceans with Caryl Hart, the award-winning illustrator and designer Dapo Adeola, plus blockbuster Supertato creators Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet will be bringing the laughs with their spooky new read Supertato: Night of the Living Veg. With live drawing, props and live music, author and illustrator of the brilliant Big Bright Feelings series Tom Percival shares the craft of creating picture books and shows that even little people can have big feelings.
The Upper World, soon to be a Netflix film produced by and starring Oscar winner Daniel Kaluuya, Alex Wheatle will share his powerful historical novel based on the true stories of the eighteenth-century slave uprising, and Holly Jackson will unveil the final instalment in her killer A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder trilogy.
FULL PROGRAMME & BOOKING
The full Festival line-up will be announced on 12 August at cheltenhamfestivals.com. Booking for the Literature Festival opens to Cheltenham Festivals Members on Friday 3 September and general booking opens on 10 September.
From Friday 21st May, Cheltenham-based wine bar The Grape Escape will take up residency at Baker & Graze.
The Grape Escape @ Baker & Graze will be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 6pm -11pm, offering a weekly changing by the glass selection, wine flights, 100+ bottle wine list and their cheese and charcuterie boards.
There will also be some special evenings where the team at Baker and Graze will be serving up their superb small plates,. You can find the sample menu below.
Visit www.bakerandgraze.com for more details and booking information.
Cheltenham-based charity WellChild has announced that almost £200,000 was raised at the Cheltenham Festival last week.
The voluntary-funded charity for seriously ill children was an official supporter of the Cheltenham Gold Cup in a new charity partnership with Jockey Club and Cheltenham Racecourse.
WellChild Chief Executive Colin Dyer has thanked the sport in an open letter below.
To the racing community,
Quite simply, Thank You! Last week The Festival at Cheltenham was run in support of WellChild thanks to a ground-breaking partnership created by The Jockey Club and supported by thousands of people from across the racing community.
Like so many of you, I watched the outstanding Festival coverage on ITV which, through host and WellChild Ambassador Ed Chamberlin along with fellow Ambassadors Oli Bell and Sir AP McCoy and the whole team, allowed the WellChild message to reach millions of people around the world.
Ed, the team at The Jockey Club, and others close to WellChild had told us in the build up to The Festival just how generous and warm the racing community is – but even that didn’t prepare us for the overwhelming response we have had over the past few days and weeks, an incredible and much-needed boost at such an important time.
WellChild is a voluntary-funded charity based in Cheltenham. We work across the UK with some of the country’s the most seriously ill children and young people. Like so many other organisations, the Covid-19 pandemic hit us hard, threatening more than 60 per cent of our regular income and creating unprecedented demand from families caring for children with exceptional health needs.
A remarkable number of people have reached out in the past week, and we are close to £200,000 already raised from The Festival partnership (and counting) – all of which will go towards the support services we have in place for some of the most vulnerable in our society.
From everyone at WellChild, we can’t thank the racing community enough for coming together to support us in this way and making such an incredible impact for thousands of families. The legacy of this partnership will last for many years to come.
WellChild Chief Executive
You can see all the incredible work that WellChild do and donate by visiting their website - www.wellchild.org.uk
You can now buy tickets for the Cheltenham Festival that takes place from the 15th to the 18th March 2022.
Enjoy four incredible action-packed days of racing, featuring 14 Grade One races across four seven-racecards as the best horses, trainers and jockeys go head to head.
This year's festival was dominated by the Irish horses with Rachael Blackmore, Henry De Bromhead and Willie Mullins who all had a hugely successful week.
Visit www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/cheltenham/events-tickets/the-festival/ to secure your tickets.
On the eve of the Cheltenham Festival, we go the brilliant Harry (@shakermakers over on Instagram) to mix us up a cocktail using the brand new Racing Gin from The Burford Distilling Company.
"BEFORE THE ROAR"
50ml Racing Gin
40ml Fresh Blood Orange Juice
15ml Rosemary Simple Syrup
10ml Fresh Lime Juice.
Add it all to a shaker, shake hard with ice.
Double strain into a rocks glass over ice.
The first pictures of some of the food we can expect to see at the new Bao & BBQ restaurant were released on Instagram this morning.
The restaurant is due to open at the end of March on Cheltenham's Regent Street, in the former home of the hugely popular Japanese restaurant Koj which closed in September 2020.
Bao & BBQ will be part of the JM Socials brand who already own Prithvi, Bhoomi Kitchen and Holee Cow in the town.
The official opening date is yet to be announced.
There will be more live racing on terrestrial TV than ever before this year as it was announced that ITV will be showing six live races every day.
ITV have been given a one-off permission to extend its output beyond their usual five daily races by rights manager Racecourse Media Group, as it's looking more and more likely that The Festival will be held behind closed doors. This will mean the programme will run from 1pm to 4.30pm and the gap between races will be reduced to 35 minutes from 40 minutes.
There will be new provisional race times too with the first race brought forward to 1.20pm, with the feature each day moving to 3.05pm.
THE JOCKEY CLUB AND WELLCHILD ANNOUNCE MAJOR CHARITY PARTNERSHIP FOR THE FESTIVAL™ AND 2021 CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP
A major new charity partnership announced today between WellChild and The Jockey Club will see Jump Racing’s flagship event, The Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse, and the sport’s most prestigious race, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, support one of the UK’s leading charities helping seriously ill children and their families.
Several million people in the UK will watch The Festival supporting WellChild between Tuesday 16th and Friday 19th March, broadcast on ITV’s main channel and via its digital platforms. Based on Government restrictions for professional sport, currently the event’s 28 races would be staged over four days without any spectators present at the racecourse.
On the climactic Gold Cup Day will be the Grade 1 2021 WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup. The Willie Mullins-trained Al Boum Photo is currently the favourite to win the race and become only the fifth horse in history to do so three or more times, alongside the legendary Best Mate, Arkle, Cottage Rake and Golden Miller.
WellChild is the national charity for seriously ill children and headquartered in Cheltenham. More than 100,000 children and young people are living with serious illness or exceptional health needs across the UK. Without the type of support WellChild offers, many can spend months or even years in hospital. Meanwhile those who are at home are constantly challenged by inconsistent or inadequate levels of support. The charity helps children and young people living with serious health needs to have the best chance to thrive, properly supported at home with their families.
When the COVID-19 crisis took hold, the charity lost 60% of its projected income and had to quickly adapt its services to meet a sudden and urgent demand for help from families having to deliver round-the-clock care to their children alone. The charity expanded its digital services with online information and peer-to-peer support, and set up a crisis response service in 10 days to source and distribute Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to shielding families so that they can let external carers back into their home. The charity has now distributed more than 289,000 items of PPE to more than 1,000 vulnerable families across the country.
The Jockey Club, which is one of the UK’s leading sport businesses and runs Cheltenham Racecourse, hopes to build significant awareness and inspire donations for WellChild. The pair plan to launch a series of activities in the build-up to next month’s event and over the four days of racing, including a soon-to-be-launched competition to inspire children who are currently home schooling to showcase their creativity.
Colin Dyer, Chief Executive of WellChild, said:
“As a national charity with its headquarters in Cheltenham, we are thrilled to have been invited to work with The Jockey Club, particularly around an event as iconic as The Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse.
“This has been a challenging year for our organisation and the families we support, many of whom have felt hidden and isolated more than ever before. However, we have responded at every turn to ensure that families have access to the support and equipment they need to thrive at home. This partnership will bring a much-needed boost to our organisation after a challenging period and will help to ensure that we are ready to respond again in 2021 and beyond.”
Ian Renton, who runs Cheltenham Racecourse as The Jockey Club’s Regional Managing Director, said:
“WellChild plays a vital role in our society supporting seriously ill children and young people, and those who care for them. Their services have been needed more than ever during the pandemic and we are very proud indeed to help such an important charity amongst our communities, including in Cheltenham.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Magners for their support in 2019 and 2020, and express our gratitude to our various and valued partners who have retained their involvement with The Festival in 2021 and those we are welcoming for the first time.”
The Jockey Club hopes to garner support for WellChild from across the British Racing industry and amongst racing fans. 20-times Champion Jump jockey, Sir Anthony ‘AP’ McCoy, welcomed the news:
“This is a fantastic move from The Jockey Club‘s team at Cheltenham. What WellChild does is just so important when you look at it and I’m really pleased that the best four days in our sport are being put forward to help. Racing is a charitable sport, full of generous people and I’m sure they’ll get right behind this. I’ll certainly support the charity in any way I can.”
Ed Chamberlin, ITV Racing’s Lead Presenter and WellChild ambassador, said:
“I have been an ambassador for WellChild for nearly ten years. When I was being treated in Southampton Hospital the children’s cancer ward was next door and broke my heart. If I recovered I vowed to support a charity that got children treated at home, rather than a hospital ward. The work WellChild do from their headquarters in Cheltenham with seriously ill children is truly remarkable. They, like all charities, have had a brutal year and I’m so thrilled about this partnership. It combines two of the passions in my life: WellChild and the Cheltenham Festival.”
Entries are unveiled today for the three G1 novices’ hurdles at The Festival™ - the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle – plus the G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle, which is restricted to four-year-olds.
There are 96 entries in 2021, with a record 59 of those trained in Ireland. Sponsor Sky Bet make one of the Irish-trained entries, Appreciate It (Willie Mullins), the clear 5/2 favourite. The seven-year-old was runner-up in the G1 Weatherbys Champion Bumper at The Festival™ in 2020 and has looked hugely talented when landing both his starts over hurdles this season, most recently sauntering to a nine-length victory in a G1 contest at Leopardstown on 27 December.
To view all the entries, news and odds, click here - www.thejockeyclub.co.uk
St. James’s Place Wealth Management has renewed its brand sponsorship at Cheltenham Racecourse for a further five years, up to and including The Festival™ in 2025.
Cirencester-based St. James’s Place Wealth Management will be promoted at The Festival through the St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Steeple Chase. First contested in 1904, the St. James’s Place Festival Hunters’ Chase takes place on the fourth and final day of The Festival (Friday, 19 March in 2021).
The extended three and a quarter mile chase was previously run as the St. James’s Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase and the updated race title is intended to strengthen the race’s identity as being a fundamental part of The Festival, while respecting its rich heritage as one of the leading hunter chases in the sport.
The St. James’s Place Festival Hunters’ Chase is unique in being the only race at The Festival open to trainers who are not full-time professionals. To secure a place in the field, previously race conditions required horses to have either finished in the first two in a hunters' chase on two occasions or won two open point-to-point races, or one of each, within the previous two-and-a-half years. A condition has been added for this year only as a result of the pandemic to allow horses who finish in the first four on two occasions in a hunters' chase between 20th January – 1st March 2021 to qualify.
Point-to-pointing on both sides of the Irish Sea plays a vital and complimentary role to racing under rules, often acting as a springboard for horses and jockeys to go on to achieve great success in front of a larger audience at the racecourse. The 2003 winner Kingscliff was a point-to-point graduate who went on to achieve G1 success in the inaugural running of the Betfair Chase at Haydock Park in 2005.
Further back in time, perhaps the greatest ever winner of the contest was Spartan Missile in 1979, a point-to-point graduate who was owned, trained, ridden and bred by John Thorne. Spartan Missile famously went on to finish a gallant second behind Aldaniti and Bob Champion in the 1981 Grand National at Aintree. The 1981 hero and fellow point-to-point graduate Grittar actually went one better at Aintree, going on to success in the Grand National of 1982.
Many famous amateur jockeys feature on the race’s roll of honour, including Lord Oaksey, Gay Kindersley, Ted Walsh and Nina Carberry. There are also numerous examples of winning riders going on to forge highly successful careers as professionals. Two recent examples are Sam Twiston-Davies and Bryony Frost.
The St. James’s Place Festival Hunters’ Chase acknowledges Jump racing’s grassroots, while also being the source of a number of successes for women at The Festival. Jockey Caroline Beasley’s success aboard Eliogarty in 1983 was the first victory at The Festival for a female jockey and the contest has been won by female jockeys a further nine times – most recently Maxine O'Sullivan aboard It Came To Pass in 2020.
Former champion, Nina Carberry who won the race in 2015 and 2016 with companion, On The Fringe, said: ‘I was thrilled to win it twice – it’s a special race, an amateur’s gold cup which holds a lot of fond memories for me. I really like the name St. James’s Place Festival Hunters’ Chase – it reinforces the race’s connection with the Home of Jump Racing whilst also keeping its tradition as one of the sport’s most iconic Hunter Chases.’
Ian Renton, Regional Managing Director for The Jockey Club, commented: “The Jockey Club is extremely grateful to St. James’s Place for extending its generous sponsorship at The Festival. All of us at Cheltenham look forward to working with St. James’s Place for the next five seasons.”
Ian Gascoigne, Managing Director for St. James’s Place Wealth Management added: “We have been a proud sponsor at Cheltenham Racecourse for a number of years and are delighted to continue our support of a flagship event in our local community. Cheltenham Festival provides the opportunity to reach a large audience and the team continuously offer St. James’s Place a fantastic experience.”
A total of 41 horses have been entered for the Magners Gold Cup at Cheltenham to be held on Friday 19th March.
Al Boum Photo will seek to emulate Best Mate and become a triple winner of the Grade 1 encounter, ran over three miles, two furlongs and 70 yards.
There are 6 entries from Cotswolds-based trainers.
Here are all the entries. Cotswolds entries are in bold.
Acapella Bourgeois (FR) W. P. Mullins IRE
Al Boum Photo (FR) W. P. Mullins IRE
Allaho (FR) 7 W. P. Mullins IRE
A Plus Tard (FR) Henry de Bromhead IRE
Aso (FR) Venetia Williams
Battleoverdoyen (IRE) Gordon Elliott IRE
Black Op (IRE) Tom George
Bristol de Mai (FR) Nigel Twiston-Davies
Burrows Saint (FR) W. P. Mullins IRE
Castlebawn West (IRE) W. P. Mullins IRE
Champ (IRE) Nicky Henderson
Cyrname (FR) Paul Nicholls
Delta Work (FR) Gordon Elliott IRE
Frodon (FR) Paul Nicholls
Imperial Aura (IRE) Kim Bailey
Itchy Feet (FR) Olly Murphy
Kemboy (FR) W. P. Mullins IRE
Lake View Lad (IRE) N. W. Alexander
Lord du Mesnil (FR) Richard Hobson
Lostintranslation (IRE) Colin Tizzard
Magic of Light (IRE) Mrs J. Harrington IRE
Master Tommytucker (GB) Paul Nicholls
Melon (GB) W. P. Mullins IRE
Minella Indo (IRE) Henry de Bromhead IRE
Mister Malarky (GB) Colin Tizzard
Monalee (IRE) Henry de Bromhead IRE
Native River (IRE) Colin Tizzard
Presenting Percy (GB) Gordon Elliott IRE
Real Steel (FR) Paul Nicholls
Royale Pagaille (FR) Venetia Williams
Saint Calvados (FR) Harry Whittington
Samcro (IRE) Gordon Elliott IRE
Santini (GB) Nicky Henderson
Shattered Love (IRE) Gordon Elliott IRE
Simply The Betts (IRE) Harry Whittington
Spyglass Hill (IRE) Henry de Bromhead IRE
Terrefort (FR) Nicky Henderson
The Conditional (IRE) David Bridgwater
Vinndication (IRE) Kim Bailey
Waiting Patiently (IRE) Ruth Jefferson
Yorkhill (IRE) Sandy Thomson
Cheltenham Festivals have announced the dates of their 2021 events.
The year kicks off with the Cheltenham Jazz Festival at the end of April and finishes with the incredible Cheltenham Literature Festival in October.
28 April – 3 May 2021
Cheltenham Jazz Festival (In association with BBC Radio 2)
Cheltenham Jazz Festival is one of Europe’s leading jazz festivals, featuring international headline acts, cutting-edge jazz and unique collaborations.
For more info and updates visit www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/jazz
10 – 13 June 2021
Cheltenham Science Festival
Cheltenham Science Festival explores the theme ‘Be The Change’ combining in-person and online events to show how science is shaping our future. The Schools and Family programme will be available digitally for free, while hands-on activities will be presented in a safe, socially-distanced environment for people of all ages.
For more info and updates visit www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/science
2-9 July 2021
Cheltenham Music Festival
Cheltenham Music Festival will celebrate the best of British music, with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, New English Ballet Theatre and the UK’s finest soloists. There will be talks from industry leaders and an Opening Weekend of free music outdoors, with a wealth of artists covering Western classical music and beyond.
For more info and updates visit www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/music
8-17 October 2021
The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival
Still leading the way in celebrating the written and spoken word, the world’s first literature festival will Read the World, presenting the best new voices in fiction and poetry alongside literary greats and high-profile speakers. The Festival’s pioneering mix of in-person and online events won it a coveted FutureBook 2020: Best Lockdown Event award and its Literature for Schools programme inspires a love of books in thousands of school children.
For more info and updates visit www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature
The International starts on Friday, 11 December, with the rearranged G2 Fitzdares Club Loves The Peterborough Chase (1.50pm) headlining an excellent eight-race card.
The famous colours of Sea Pigeon will be on display in the Catesby Handicap Hurdle as the Jonjo O'Neill trained Tegerek runs for the first time for the brand new Jonjo O'Neill Racing Club.
Top Notch (Nicky Henderson/Daryl Jacob) is aiming for a third success in the Peterborough Chase, having lifted the spoils in 2017 at Taunton and in 2019 at its usual home, Huntingdon.
The latest horse to win three runnings of Peterborough Chase was Edredon Bleu, who captured the two-and-a-half-mile contest four times between 1998 and 2001.
Top Notch, having his first start since wind surgery, is joined by stable companion Mister Fisher (Nico de Boinville), who was pulled up when fancied for the Paddy Power Gold Cup last month.
Local trainer Tom George is also double handed with G1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase third Bun Doran (James Bowen) and progressive Newbury handicap chase scorer Clondaw Castle (Tom Scudamore).
Kalashnikov (Jack Quinlan, pictured below) underwent wind surgery during the summer and was not disgraced on his comeback in the three-mile G3 Betfair Exchange Stayers' Handicap Hurdle at Haydock Park on 21 November, finishing seventh.
The seven-year-old was just touched off in the G1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival™ in 2018 before going on to G1 success over fences at Aintree’s Grand National Festival the following season.
Trainer Amy Murphy said: “Kalashnikov is in good shape.
“I was really pleased with his comeback effort at Haydock, where he got tired late on and probably didn’t stay the trip on that ground.
“The Peterborough Chase wasn’t Plan A, but now it is being run on a left-handed track it made sense to go as he is much better going this way round."
A competitive line up also features Dolos (Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden), Fanion d’Estruval (Venetia Williams/Charlie Deutsch), and Glen Forsa (Mick Channon/David Bass).
Michael Scudamore is hoping Kingswell Theatre (Tom Scudamore, pictured below) can extend his winning record around Cheltenham’s unique Cross Country Course in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase (3.00pm, 11 runners).
Kingswell Theatre caused something of a shock when landing the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase at The November Meeting for a second time last month, making all to beat Beau Du Brizais (Philip Hobbs/Micheal Nolan) by five lengths despite being 18lb out of the handicap. This was the 11-year-old’s second cross country success at Cheltenham, following his victory in the Glenfarclas-sponsored contest at The November Meeting in 2017.
Scudamore said: “Kingswell Theatre seems to have come out of his latest race in fine fettle. He has been a stable star for the yard and we could not be happier with him.
“It is clearly a different race this time around. With Easysland and Potters Corner coming out of the race, he will have to carry an awful lot more weight, so we will see how he handles that.
“Carrying a lot of weight round there is going to be tough, but I suppose the big two horses being out makes it a slightly easier race, although with the likes of Step Back and Neverushacon in there, it remains a really open race.”
Enda Bolger has a formidable record in cross country races and the Co Limerick handler is represented My Hometown (Darragh O’Keeffe), one of four Irish-trained runners in the race.
There is also Irish representation in the G3 Unibet Handicap Chase (2.25pm, seven runners) courtesy of fast improving mare Court Maid (Tom Mullins/David Mullins).
Court Maid has proved a revelation over fences this season and relished a stamina test on her latest start when winning the competitive Porterstown Handicap Chase by 13 lengths at Fairyhouse on 29 November.
Novice action is provided by the British EBF "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle (11.30am, 2m 1f, six runners) and the International Decorative Surfaces Novices' Chase (12.05pm, 3m 1f 56y, five runners).
The remaining handicaps on the card are the Catesby Handicap Hurdle (12.40pm, 2m 1f, 17 runners), the CF Roberts Electrical & Mechanical Services Mares' Handicap Chase (1.15pm, 2m4f127y, 12 runners) and Citipost Handicap Hurdle (3.35pm, 3m, 14 runners), in which Unowhatimeanharry (Harry Fry/Kevin Brogan (7)) bids to follow up a recent win at Aintree. The JP McManus-owned 12-year-old has been a real star during his career and is a four-time winner at the Home of Jump Racing, headlined by his success in the G1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival™ back in 2016.
The International continues on Saturday, 12 December, when the highlights are the £112,000 G2 Unibet International Hurdle (2m 1f, 10 entries) and the £105,000 G3 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup (2m 4f 127, 24 entries).
The November Meeting takes place behind closed doors this weekend at Cheltenham but fear not, you can stay involved and watch all of the unmissable action of the three-day meeting at the Home of Jump Racing.
The week kicks off on Wednesday 11th November with a November Meeting Preview Evening, featuring Ruby Walsh, retired Festival winning jockey who has a record 59 wins to his name. The panel also includes Paddy Power, ITV Racing and Grand National winner Mick Fitzgerald and trainer Emma Lavelle.
Click HERE to find out all the information, submit a question to the panel, and for all the Zoom details.
As always, Countryside Day launches The November Meeting in true Cheltenham style on Friday 13 November 2020.
Featuring six excellent races, including The Mucking Brilliant Paddy Power Handicap Chase and The Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Steeple Chase.
As racing is behind closed doors, stay involved from home through The Jockey Club's Jump Season Hub for a digital racecard, news, and top tips. You can also follow @cheltenhamraces on Twitter.
The November Meeting Saturday, now known as Paddy Power Day returns on Saturday 14 November 2020.
Paddy Power Day features the iconic Paddy Power Gold Cup. Happy Diva won in 2019, trained by Kerry Lee and ridden by Richard Patrick. Who will win the 2020 renewal?
The November Meeting Sunday features six thrilling races, including the feature race of the day the Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle. Haranbe won the 2019 renewal, ridden by Tom Bellamy, owned by Niall Farrell and friends and trained by Alan King.
For further information and for all the race schedules, visit www.thejockeyclub.co.uk/cheltenham/events-tickets/the-november-meeting/
Cheltenham Racecourse have launched a jump racing hub for you to enjoy all the racing, news and views from the comfort of your own home.
You can also see updates of the going from Simon Claisse, the racecards for all the races, as well as all the race replays moments after the races have finished.
Click RACE AT HOME WITH CHELTENHAM to find our more.
Racing returns to Cheltenham with The Showcase on Friday, 23 October and Saturday, 24 October. The two-day meeting is the first action to be staged at The Home of Jump Racing since The Festival™ in March. In accordance with government COVID-19 regulations, the meeting will take place behind closed doors.
You can follow the action with the Jockey Club's new Racing At Home service.
There are seven races on each day of The Showcase with Saturday's highlight being the £48,000 Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap Chase (3.50pm) over three miles and a furlong. Heading the 17 entries is Frodon (Paul Nicholls), who famously landed the 2019 G1 Ryanair Chase at The Festival™ under Bryony Frost. The eight-year-old is a five-time winner at Cheltenham and was last seen when fourth in the 2020 Ryanair Chase. Also engaged is Cogry (Nigel Twiston-Davies), winner of this race in 2017. The 11-year-old went on to be second in 2018 and third in 2019.
Another possible starter is Walk In The Mill (Robert Walford). The 10-year-old finished fourth to Tiger Roll in the 2019 Randox Health Grand National and is twice a winner over the Grand National fences at Aintree, having taken the Randox Health Becher Chase in 2018 and 2019.
Dorset-based Robert Walford said today: "Walk In The Mill is in good form and a possible runner at Cheltenham on Saturday. It all depends on the weather but if it is good to soft, he will take his chance.
"We are delighted with him at home and he seems to be in really good order. He had a nice summer break and obviously we were gearing up for the Grand National until COVID-19 intervened. We are looking forward to seeing him back in action.
"The Grand National is again a potential long-term target for Walk In The Mill. The big race we will target first however again is the Becher Chase. He has a fine record in the race and we just need to get one run into him before we head to Aintree."
Saturday's action gets underway with the Masterson Holdings Hurdle (2.05pm) which takes place over an extended two miles for four-year-olds only. The roll of honour includes dual Randox Health Grand National hero Tiger Roll (2014) as well as subsequent Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase scorer Dodging Bullets (2012).
The top-rated performer among the 11 entries is the front running Allmankind (Dan Skelton), a G2 winner over the course and distance at The November Meeting last season before going on to win the G1 Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow in December. He ended the campaign when third in the G1 JCB Triumph Hurdle at The Festival™, a race in which Sir Psycho (Paul Nicholls) finished fifth.
rainer Dan Skelton said: "Allmankind is in good form and Saturday's contest at Cheltenham has been the plan since the start of the season.
"The Masterson Holdings Hurdle is an ideal race to run in given it is against four-year-olds, so he can take on his age group one last time before he takes on the older horses.
"He has to carry a penalty, but he is a G1 winner. I would just like to see a bit of rain, but he is a planned runner at the moment. I am really happy with him at home and he is ready to start.
"He just ran quite flat at Cheltenham in the Triumph Hurdle. I am not saying he would have beaten Goshen in the Triumph Hurdle, but he just ran very flat in that race.
"There is no point dwelling on the past and we are looking forward to getting him started. It is a new season, with a new start and new objectives."
An intriguing contest could be further enhanced by Grand Roi (Gordon Elliott), successful in three of his four starts when with Nicky Henderson last season, and the potentially unexposed performers Botox Has (Gary Moore) and Monte Cristo (Nicky Henderson).
Fusil Raffles (Nicky Henderson), G1 winner at Punchestown in 2019, tops the 10 entries for the Best Odds At Matchbook Novices' Chase (2.40pm) over just under two and a half miles.
Mossy Fen (Nigel Twiston-Davies) landed the G2 Ballymore Leamington Novices' Hurdle at Warwick in January before going to finish fifth in the G1 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at The Festival™ and is likely to make his chasing debut at The Showcase.
Carl Hinchy, who owns Mossy Fen in partnership with Mark Scott, said today: "Mossy Fen is in fine form and the plan is to head to Cheltenham this weekend. He will either run on Friday [Matchbook Better Way To Bet Novices' Chase, 3m ½f] or on Saturday, but we haven't made a decision yet as to which race to target.
"Mossy Fen is a point-to-point winner and he has schooled very well. We are excited about getting his season underway, but we would not want to risk him to early in the season on watered ground. Rain is forecast so hopefully it will ease the ground so he can run."
This could also be another fascinating contest with the likes of recent Listed Chepstow winner Grand Sancy (Paul Nicholls) and Pileon (Philip Hobbs), the short-head runner-up in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle at The Festival™, also holding entries.
The Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (3.15pm, 32 entries) over three miles is the first race in the series of qualifiers for the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle at The Festival™. Horses need to finish in the first six in a qualifier to be eligible for the contest at The Festival™. Tobefair (Debra Hamer), the neck runner-up in the 2019 contest at The Festival™, won this qualifying contest 12 months ago and is entered once again.
Completing Saturday's programme are the Showcase Novices' Hurdle (4.25pm, 3m, 11 entries), the Ryman Stationery Cheltenham Business Club Amateur Jockeys' Handicap Chase (5.00pm, 3m 1f, 20 entries) and the concluding Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (5.35pm, 22 entries).
Friday's programme at The Showcase runs from 1.50pm through to 5.15pm and is headlined by the £48,000 October Handicap Chase (3.35pm, 17 entries). This contest was previously run on the Saturday of The Showcase. The weights are headed by G2-placed Dolos (Paul Nicholls), who is entered alongside stablemate Getaway Trump, runner-up in G1 company over hurdles and the comfortable winner of a beginners' chase at Warwick on 1 October.
The going at Cheltenham is currently Good. The forecast is for an unsettled week, with rain at times. Racing at The Showcase takes place on the Old Course.
Cheltenham Racecourse, together with the British Horseracing Authority, have today confirmed that the new Grade 2 Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Steeple Chase to be run at The Festival 2021 will replace the Listed Novices’ Handicap Chase, which was traditionally run on the opening day.
A decision as to which race would be replaced by the inaugural running of the 2m 4f Grade 2 mares’ chase was made after consultation with key stakeholders, including trainers from Britain and Ireland over several months.
Recognising the importance of the Listed Novices’ Handicap Chase to the Jump racing season, the BHA Jump Pattern Committee has given permission for the race to be staged at Sandown Park as part of the Paddy Power Imperial Cup meeting just days before The Festival.
The new Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase will be run on Gold Cup day, with the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Steeple Chase moving to the Wednesday and the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle moving to the opening day.
Cheltenham Racecourse Clerk of the Course, Simon Claisse, explained:
“We’re looking forward to being able to bring the Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase into the racing calendar for The Festival 2021. Not only is this a great example of the sport working together to boost the mares’ race programme in Britain to benefit the industry, but we also now have an improved mares’ population providing quality competition.
“Deciding which race to replace was not an easy decision and it was important that we took into account all the factors and feedback we received. But when we evaluated the other Novice Chase opportunities at The Festival, as well as the importance of maintaining the current balance of Chases and Hurdles over the four days, this was considered the best option.”
Ruby Walsh, winner of 59 races at The Festival, added:
“The Mares’ Chase will prove a great addition to The Festival, especially when it beds in over a three or four year period. Jumps horses rarely have a financial value when they finish racing but for owners who are lucky enough to have a good mare, they can be worth a considerable amount as brood mares and thus owners get some return on their investment.
“Therefore the need for mares-only races is paramount for the value of unraced fillies, to encourage owners to buy them as racehorses. Having the Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase to go along with the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle adds to the attraction of purchasing a filly. Cheltenham are showing their support to the breeding industry by adding this race and in my opinion showing a loyalty to the whole horseracing industry and not just the sport.”
Paul Mallon, Paddy Power’s Head of Brand, said:
“The race is brilliant in providing further opportunities to those racing mares under National Hunt rules and hopefully the winners of our race will go on to emulate the great Dawn Run by scooping the Cheltenham Gold Cup.”
Annie Mc from the Jonjo O'Neill stables could be one of the runners in the new race.
Leading bookmaker Paddy Power will return as sponsors of The November Meeting’s feature race, the G3 Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham Racecourse on Paddy Power Day, Saturday 14th November 2020.
The race, which is the showpiece of Britain’s third most popular jumps fixture, was sponsored by Paddy Power for 13 consecutive years from 2003 until 2015, during which time winners included Imperial Commander, Our Vic and Al Ferof. The bookmaker has now signed a three-year sponsorship deal for the 2020, 2021 and 2022 renewals.
The Grade 3 Handicap chase is worth £130,000 and attracts a high class field each year. In 2019 fans were treated to a thrilling finish up the famous Cheltenham Hill as Happy Diva held off Brelan D’As on the line by just a neck.
The race takes place on the second day of what is traditionally the third most attended Jump racing fixture in the UK, behind only The Festival™ at Cheltenham in March and the Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree in April.
Ruby Walsh, the winning-most jockey at the Cheltenham Festival, said: “The Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham is an early highlight in the National Hunt season. I always felt the November meeting really signalled the beginning of the jumps season proper. There’s not many Grade One horses who contest handicaps any more but the Paddy Power Gold Cup comes at a time in the season when people might take a chance. But not all work out let’s remember - Frodon, Thisthatandtother and Long Run all failed here before achieving glory in March and others have succeeded like Imperial Commander and Our Vic. Either way, plenty of future Grade One names crop up at the November meeting in a bid to scoop a good pot in handicap company as a stepping stone to the top level.”
ITV Racing’s Mick Fitzgerald, who won the race in 2003 aboard Fondmort, added: “The Paddy Power Gold Cup is one of the highlights of the Jump season. When I won it in 2003 it meant an awful lot to me because it was another one of the big ones that I had ticked off the list. To win it on Fondmort was special as he was just a very special horse and to add that race to my CV meant plenty.”
As well as the Gold Cup, Paddy Power will sponsor four other races at The November Meeting:
Friday 13 November
13:50 The Paddy Power Handicap Chase (0-150) (Class 2)
Saturday 14 November
13:50 The Paddy Power Arkle Challenge Trophy Trial Novices Steeple Chase (Grade 2)
14:25 The Paddy Power Gold Cup Steeplechase (Grade 3)
15:00 The Paddy Power Handicap Hurdle Race (Listed)
15:30 The Paddy Power Intermediate Handicap Hurdle Race (0-140) (Class 2)
Ian Renton, The Jockey Club’s Regional Director, Cheltenham & the South West, said: “The November Meeting has become a huge event for us and is considered a key milestone in the Jump racing calendar, particularly the feature race on day two, now known as Paddy Power Day.
“It is wonderful to be able to welcome Paddy Power back as our lead sponsors over the meeting to help us showcase three of the most exciting days of racing our sport has to offer.”
Carey Weeks, Regional Head of Partnerships, added: “Paddy Power was a huge part of The November Meeting and synonymous with the fixture’s Gold Cup race for many years so we’re delighted to be partnering with them again.
“We thoroughly enjoy working with the team and we’re excited to see how they help bring to life the November Meeting. No doubt they will have some tricks up their sleeve!”
Paul Mallon, Paddy Power’s Head of Brand, said: “We returned to sponsorship at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day 2020 and the success of these initiatives, including subsequent Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Santini landing the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase and Lisnagar Oscar scoring in our jewel in the crown Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle at The Festival, meant as a company with a huge racing tradition supporting the Paddy Power Gold Cup again wasn’t too hard a sell to the Powers that be.”
Paddy Power (himself) added: “England fans have spent a lot of time singing ‘It’s coming home,’ over the last few years, but unlike them, I feel it actually has for us! We loved sponsoring the Paddy Power Gold Cup, which don’t forget went to a later Cheltenham Gold Cup hero in Imperial Commander in 2008, and I’m absolutely over the moon at being associated with my favourite race again. We’d like to thank the previous sponsors for keeping it warm for us.”
The November Meeting takes place from Friday 13th November to Sunday 15th November.
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