Cheltenham Festival

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18 Jan 14 22:16
Date Joined: 29 Jul 04
| Topic/replies: 1,632 | Blogger: tomdeane's blog
About time we had one of these threads as they always make for good reading in the run-up to the Festival.

My offering is to be disciplined when it comes to punting in the last couple of weeks leading up to Cheltenham. Every year the bookies get more and more competitive in trying to get your money, which means there are always some sensational bets on offer. The bigger firms always try to take at least one favourite on by offering a stupidly big price, and then there are money back offers all over the place if you look (e.g. the Bot Victur one that returns your losses as bet credit if you back a loser in the Supreme).

It's worth thinking a lot about a bet every time you make one now, especially about the shorter-priced ones. In most cases you will find an opportunity to get a (sometimes much) bigger price in the days before, or even on the day.
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Report tomdeane January 18, 2014 10:18 PM GMT
Given how competitive and hard the Champion Hurdle is to weigh up, I'm pretty sure bookies will go out on a limb with a few of the fancied ones. Wouldn't be at all surprised if we see 5-1 or bigger the top 3 in the next few weeks as different books look to balance their takings and get punters in their doors.
Report alleged22 January 18, 2014 10:31 PM GMT
for those that go with spouses, when they go to the toilet arrange a meeting place and collect any winnings while they are gone Cool
Report rogerthebutler January 19, 2014 10:05 AM GMT
Big breakfast and therefore avoid as much as possible paying the rip off food prices at the course.

Also on Day one (definitely) and possibly others, you can get a racecard free in the Irish Independent newspaper they sell aroud the course.
Report buddeliea January 19, 2014 10:15 AM GMT
Nice one Tom, some good advice there mate.
Report Joist January 19, 2014 10:53 AM GMT
When your under-the-radar 20/1 shot hacks up in one of the handicaps, Lumiére is an excellent place to have a celebratory dinner.
Report Ekbalco January 19, 2014 2:15 PM GMT
During the course of the week put aside 3 hours for a good session in the Guinness Village.

The Pizzas from the van at the top of the paddock are delish and reasonable value given racecourse economics.
Report Aidan In Berlin January 19, 2014 2:18 PM GMT
Thought you went for the racing??? you can eat and drink at anytime!!
Report Ekbalco January 19, 2014 2:23 PM GMT
The racing is part of the whole experience Berlers - an important part,but is not the be all and end all of the week imv.
Report Aidan In Berlin January 19, 2014 2:27 PM GMT
When i´m coming over, i take as much in as i can,a quick hot whiskey and maybe 1 pint in the village. then on the lash in the town laterHappy
Report jasey January 19, 2014 3:34 PM GMT
Do not go in the Best Mate tent,jam packed full of hooligans
Report CVByrne January 19, 2014 4:27 PM GMT
Wait till the 5 day decs before placing bets on the handicaps
Report tipptop January 19, 2014 6:17 PM GMT
Spencer's cafe for a great breakfast every morning!

Take the bus out/back from racecourse only 2quid and very efficient!

Tullamore Dew stand for a few hot ones before racing!

One thing I have always wondered is why they close the bars at approx 6 every evening when the thing is only getting going from my point of view!??? I don't drink once racing starts! You would imagine if they stayed going until later the money they would make would be make it very worthwhile!
Report The RealDeal January 19, 2014 6:28 PM GMT
The walk to the course from Prestbury village, over the fields and round the path next to the back straight up to the Best Mate car park.

It means that you walk towards the front of the grandstand and see the track which helps to build the atmosphere before you get to the entrance.

7 weeks on Tuesday.......
Report foolsgold123 January 19, 2014 6:33 PM GMT
Don't forgot ure free £2 hills bet in the mirror on the Tuesday.
Report onehundredandeighty January 19, 2014 6:52 PM GMT
If you're going on the Tuesday finish off with a pint upstairs adjacent to the centaur (balcony overlooking the entrance to the course) where they replay all the days races.The crowds disperse then you can walk or catch the bus easier to town.Take in the atmosphere win lose or draw because that's only day 1 done so plenty more time to look forward in anticipation as well as congratulating yourself on picking the winner of the supreme ages ago Cool

Good thread Tomdeane
Report Simonw1981 January 19, 2014 7:09 PM GMT
Get there as early as you can to soak up the atmosphere.

The Thai noodle truck is lovely. I especially like the drunken noodles.

Take a hip flask and some whiskey so you can still have a drink whilst keeping your place for the big race. A lot of people leave after the main race of the day.
Report bigblockhead January 19, 2014 7:19 PM GMT
don't take the missus! the 3 nights and 3 days (go home Thursday after racing as all the gold cup toffs arrive on Friday) are a lads holiday in all but the cheap flight and the sunshine, can't beat the craic around the whole place wouldn't change a thing!!!
if anyone could suggest a quality place to spend the evenings (preferably with live irish music!) around the town centre that would be a treat as nothing better than relaxing after the battle with a Guinness and some soft tones... enjoy peeps and the starter is next Saturday...!
Report Desmond Orchard January 20, 2014 12:22 PM GMT
The course is configured so that anyone in Tatts/Club doesn't get the horses thundering past. If you like that sort of thing, and few things quicken the pulse like it, it's worth choosing a race on which you can get out into the middle of the course. 2m chase advised.
Report fats waller January 20, 2014 10:01 PM GMT

If you can get to the middle of the course for a chase, do it. To hear the roar of the grandstand whilst being by the last will make anyone's hair stand on end.
Report onehundredandeighty January 21, 2014 7:30 AM GMT
Been going for years now but never done this,where do they let you across? im presuming they still check badges on the way back in? Confused
Report festivalfanatic January 21, 2014 8:54 AM GMT
I think you can only do this from Club. The gate is in the bottom corner of the member's lawn, just by the shute.
Report tomdeane January 21, 2014 10:59 AM GMT
Yep, that's right. I certainly agree with this suggestion; it's a real thrill watching them approach the final fence and then hear the roar from the crowd up that hill. I usually go over for the Hunter Chase straight after the Gold Cup.
Report Winnerallrite January 25, 2014 8:01 PM GMT
I would agree totally with you, I do it myself, Best is to wait and see what offers and value appears and they will they always will.
9 days before the festival you will get some firm offering 9/1 about a previous 4/1 shot, 8 days to go another offer etc.
Also on the day you will get money back if you horse finishes 2nd in all races of the day or money back if some "fancied" runner wins.

There is a ton of value and great offers to be had if you sit back and be patient instead of trying to be clever and backing some eventual non runners that eat up your betting bank in my opinion.
Report mushroom23 January 26, 2014 3:32 PM GMT
Great thread lads
Report Posh Paddy January 26, 2014 3:48 PM GMT
If you are mad enough to go with your kids, 5 yrs ago I took my eldest when she was 6 mths old (if can avoid it do so at all costs) there is an indoor play area/creche, however they do not have a TV in there showing the racingCrazy.  The Mrs missed seeing her only winner she backed that day (American Trilogy at 20-1) while she was in there.Cry
Report the dancing giraffe January 31, 2014 7:53 AM GMT
Been going 27 years have just about got it right,arrive Monday night to further build the excitement and have a gentle game of cards.Taxi in early get the free racecard don't take the paper.Spot a gaping gill for good luck.Spend Tue in Guinness Village great atmosphere,don't go silly on the first race or the first day,always do a permed placepot.Be very very  careful backing favourites.Tuesday night Queens for a few, Italian, then night of poker.Wed bar overlooking entrance sitting on the floor struggling through first pint sorting days bets out,big night out with queens curry and pub crawl.Thursday get seat in Centaur mull over card with a coffee not feeling 100% but still up for the day.Go home after racing get good nights sleep and enjoy Gold Cup day from my armchair.Have a good Christmas whatever you do.
Report Fallen Angel January 31, 2014 5:17 PM GMT
My best advice for the festival avoid friday at all costs as the gold cup is the least enjoyable of the three days due to the abnormal crowd levels.

My other piece of advice would be don't drive into Cheltenham and if possible get there early enough not to have to worry about the buses. Can build up your excitement with a brisk walk and a few well earned pub stops between the train station and the course.
Report Howdi January 31, 2014 5:59 PM GMT
Get yourself in the Best Mate Marque (for Best Mate members) like myself Cool Guaranteed a seat all week and tv too
Report Howdi January 31, 2014 6:06 PM GMT
avoid the irish lucky clover sellers. It doesn't work I tried it last year.
Report Can't Catch Me January 31, 2014 7:04 PM GMT
Any good new restaurants opened anyone? For those of you who like  Indian food, Prithvi is up there with the very best Indian food I've ever eaten.
Report Tory January 31, 2014 7:06 PM GMT
We're going to head into Montpellier on the Monday night this year - anyone have any suggestions for restaurants and bars?
Report Steamship January 31, 2014 7:20 PM GMT
Anyone know of any reasonably priced B&Bs or hotels that have availability? I got an email for cheap train fares the other day and can now do Monday night till Wed night. Any help would be appreciated
Report illinois_riki January 31, 2014 8:40 PM GMT
Tory - Flynns is always good
Report Tory January 31, 2014 8:53 PM GMT
Cheers pal.

Top tip from me which happened 2yrs ago! Do not, under any circumstances, end up in the student night at one of the clubs on the Monday. Do not think 2 for 1 drinks is a good idea, and do not order 4 treble g&t's between 2 of you, whilst forgetting its 2 for 1. You will not remember watching his morning line in the morning, and you will feel **** until you hit the Guinness village!
Report ronnie rails January 31, 2014 11:06 PM GMT

Go to every meeting and always stop in Montpellier, Flynn's is good but you cant always get in last minute if its less than a table of four, Shezan is good for a balti and they will fit u in even if your on our own, went for the January meeting to Montpellier wine bar with the other half and it was very good, so was tarragon but it wasn't for a bloke or a set of lads on their own, fantastic food but aimed at couples, strada's always ok as is ask round the corner. the best bars are Montpellier wine bar if you don't mind the mac brigade looking for the birds looking for a bit of dosh, soho next door not as popular as when it was the Salisbury and not as much atmosphere but still a good place, if your prepared for a few minutes walk the retreat's always bouncing as is the beehive round the corner from it and a little gem in my opinion is the bar in the hotel du vin, keep out of the irish bar one of the roughest dives going, rotundas good fun!! as is the queens bar. personally I will probably end up in all of them as usual, so go enjoy and all the best Ronnie.
Report Tory January 31, 2014 11:24 PM GMT
Thanks, that's really useful and loads of info
Report gravy February 1, 2014 9:44 PM GMT
Great thread Tom.
Never get the buses to and from the town. Full of absolute muppets and, if you do, never listen to the loudmouth who tells you he's got a tip for one on the AW at 7.40pm that night. There is always someone who says that, in between singing a stupid song which bursts your ears.
Never watch the live football at night. This is racing week and spunking dosh on the football is madness.
Have a big breakfast, unless you want to pay £8 for a burger which is like a slice of plywood between two dry bits of sandpaper.
If you are not a Guinness drinker, take spare boxers in yer inside pocket.
Someone at some point of the day will thrust a pint of the cold road tar into your hand and, if you are not used to it, a wet fart/follow through is a near certainty in the subsequent hour which follows.
Always grab one of the freesheets with the next day's fields on it when you leave.
Even though we know inside out what will be running, it starts the build-up for the next day immediately.
On that note, while getting swept away on the day, do remember the decs come at 12 noon for the next day.
Might be a chance to burgle some value if the fields cut up, with most folks' attention taken up by the day immediately ahead.
On the walk back to town, don't use those wee green portaloos. My old man got stuck in one once when the door jammed locked shut.
Hilarious, but left me freezing and robbed me 30 minutes drinking time.
And finally, win, lose or draw, never ever forget to soak up every single second of being because it really is a magical experience which we all live for.
Report onehundredandeighty February 2, 2014 9:05 AM GMT
Haha literally different Gravy ^
Report The Sawyer February 2, 2014 12:41 PM GMT
There is a new Indian opened next to the wine bar at Montpellier called the Ballroom. Not been yet but I am going into Chelt tomorrow and will call into the Rotunda and ask for the locals view.

My own opinion is that the Indian next to Sohos/Salisbury is the worst in Cheltenham (Voodoos?).

CCM you are right about Prithvi. If you are a lover of Indian nosh then definitely try here - it is across the road from the original Wetherspoons in Cheltenham at the bottom of the Bath road. It is owned by the same firm who have the Spice Lodge (a little further up the Bath Road next to the Eagle Tower monstrosity).

At the top end of the Bath road there are a fair few pubs and a couple more Indians. One is a BYO called Baltiwalla: there is a coop or Sainsurys handy and again I think the same family have this as Prithvi and Spice Lodge. I am a big fan of BW but I must admit to soiling myself on the way home on the bus the last time I visited but this probably had more to do with the cider than the crate of lime pickle I consumed.
Report Can't Catch Me February 2, 2014 1:08 PM GMT
Do you know any good Chinese's mate? Used to go to Ruby's but it was dreadful last year. Is the other one the Mayflower? Heard that's garbage too, Haven't been to a good one in Cheltenham since Mandarin Kite.
Report The Sawyer February 2, 2014 2:16 PM GMT
The MK was a triad shop in Montpellier which is now the Voodoo or whatever.

The Mayflower is in the centre of town opposite the newer Wetherspoons. Both that and the Ruby would be the more "upmarket" Chinese and both would be rammed during race week, maybe why you had a poor meal. As far as I now there is nothing of the Mk's class in town or nearby - sorry.

Plenty of Indos tho Happy
Report Can't Catch Me February 2, 2014 2:24 PM GMT
No worries, thanks anyway mate.
Report ronnie rails February 2, 2014 5:44 PM GMT
Ruby is no more its now an Indian, mayflower I have been twice and have to speak as you find and both times it was a really good meal with decent service.

its always surprised me Cheltenham has so many Indians but only a few Chinese.

The two Thai restaurants are ok but just ok.
Report Joan of Arc February 3, 2014 6:30 PM GMT
Book the Best mate season ticket. Only about 20 people in there all week. Chairs, tv, tables and a bar that is empty.
Report bonnie February 3, 2014 8:21 PM GMT
simply the greatest experience ever, from the 3 hour drive to chelt on monday morning, buzzing with anticipation, to the journey home on saturday morning reliving the weeks high (and low) lights, its a week that cannot be beaten.
just reading this excellent thread gets me going !!!!

my tip is gloucester based, cafe renee, excellent food - perfect place for the monday evening.
Report thornton reed February 24, 2014 6:06 PM GMT

Great thread lads.

Going with a few lads for the Friday (I know, I know, I wanted to go the Tuesday again personally).

Does anyone have any suggestions for a pub before/after racing? We're all young(ish) so somewhere with a good atmosphere before racing (not full of drunks) and en route from the station. And preferably something a bit more lively for after.

Also when do you suggest getting to the course? I was thinking about 12. Gives us an hour and a half before racing to get in the mood before the Triumph.
Report bonnie February 24, 2014 6:37 PM GMT
copa bar in town gets lively in the evening, get the shuttle bus to and from the course, we normally get the bus about 11.30.
Report thornton reed February 24, 2014 9:49 PM GMT
Cheers Bonnie. Was thinking of walking to the course this year though.
Report abbott February 24, 2014 11:29 PM GMT
Whilst on course make sure you have a pint in as many different bars with as many different groups of people as you can. It's a great time to meet old friends and make some new ones.
Watch the chase races down at the 2nd last in front of the Guinness village and the hurdle races from the finish line. Watch the occasional handicap from the centaur but not on Friday.
Always have at least one life changeling bet, it might never happen but the excitement when the first of your treble comes in is worth the money alone.
Bet with your friends, there is nothing better than being on the same winner.
Placepots nearly always pay big at Cheltenham!
Don't go to nightclubs they are always jam packed with old guys and you wake up in the morning unable to read the form.
Go to the Hollow Bottom at least once, a fantastic racing  pub who run a free mini bus service back to town. Hugh the owner will make sure you are looked after and if one of Nigel's Twiston Davies  wins it will be a party all night.
The Italian across from the Montpelier Wine bar is good for a winning night, think it might be a chain restaurant but the service is great and they keep the champagne flowing.
I could be here all night but my last one is e/w trebles, back them with just the place part in mind. You can be onto a healthy win for a relatively small out lay.
Stay lucky
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