Beaufort & Blake: Top 5 Tips for Winter Racing at Cheltenham
The racing season is hotting up (if only the weather was as well) and with The Open at Cheltenham just around the corner, we’ve pulled together our top five tips to help ensure you have a successful day at the home of jump racing.
The warmer times we shared at The Gold Cup, Grand National and Glorious Goodwood are now long gone – winter is officially here! So, to get the most from your day at Cheltenham’s Open meeting we recommend you don quite a few layers. This is not, however, an opportunity to wedge a puffa jacket under a smart jacket. Instead, it should be seen as opportunity to combine your favourite brushed-cotton, cashmere and tweed layers into one perfect winter ensemble. As with most race meetings, we strongly recommend a smart tie and a suitably sharp race hat, especially if raining.
The Open meeting involves three days of high quality horse racing and is a real highlight on the horse racing calendar. Some of the top horses from around Europe compete throughout the weekend which makes for some really competitive betting opportunities. Whilst you might be tempted by the larger races like the BetVictor Gold Cup on the Saturday, we get more excited by the prospects of the Sharp Novices’ Hurdle race on Friday’s Countryside Day. The grade two race for 4 year olds and over provides not just an excellent spectacle but also some interesting betting opportunities.
Be sure to do your research on the weather ahead of The Open weekend. With a period of unsettled weather on the way, the going is likely to dictate which horses you back across the three days. Horses, like humans, can prefer a softer or firmer ground – so don’t be suckered by a catchy name and study both the form and the going.
As with any winter race meet, a hip flask is essential. Would you even consider a day in the brisk cold without one? With many a tipple to choose from, we’ve narrowed it down to one – The Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso. This is a cask-strength whisky that has been solely matured in first-fill oloroso sherry casks. The result is a full-bodied, beautifully sherry sweetened dram that will help take the edge off both the cold and any serious losses.
ROUNDING OFF THE DAY
Unlike The Gold Cup, Cheltenham’s Open meeting doesn’t offer up a huge selection of great places to eat. With this in mind, we recommend that at the end of the day you head into the heart of Cheltenham and wile away your evening at No. 131 – dubbed one of the coolest places to eat in England by Tatler. Before you know it you’ll be enough gin & tonics into considering booking a room at the Georgian Townhouse. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!