Described as ‘four days of extraordinary’, record crowds of 266,779 flocked to The Festival™ presented by Magners 2019 – thrilling fans of Jump racing from around the world and beating last year’s total of 262,637.
The official attendance on the sold-out Gold Cup Day 2019 was 71,816, a new record for the climax of The Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse, compared to 70,684 in 2018.
St Patrick’s Thursday 2019 reached 67,821, a new record figure for the third day since The Festival became a four-day extravaganza in 2005. The attendance was up 1,439 on the same day in 2018, which saw 66,382 pass through the gates.
Last year’s total on the Wednesday reached 58,959, with Ladies Day 2019 attendance reaching 59,209 – and setting a new record for the second day of The Festival since the meeting switched to a four-day format.
Plus, there was a record crowd on the opening day of The Festival 2019, with 67,934 attending on Champion Day, up from 66,632 last year.
Ian Renton, The Jockey Club’s Regional Director, Cheltenham and South West Racecourses, said: ‘It’s been absolutely wonderful, and the most extraordinary four days of Jump racing. The Thursday, in particular, will live long in the memory of everyone that was here to witness it.
‘It has been a challenging Festival – in the lead-up we had equine flu, which caused a bit of a stop-start for a few days, and internally we were a little concerned about the forecast for windy Wednesday…
‘In terms of stories surrounding the winners I cannot remember a better Festival. Tiger Roll’s win in the Glenfarclas Cross-Country Chase, his fourth at the meeting, was wonderful, and Altior’s victory in the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase was a great illustration of an outstanding steeplechaser. For Gavin Cromwell’s first Festival win to come in the Unibet Champion Hurdle [with Espoir D’Allen] was quite a rarity.
‘We have all been waiting for Willie Mullins to win the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup, so the victory by Al Boum Photo, who he trains, was a delight for everyone who follows Jump racing.
‘Finding a personal highlight is not easy, but to see Bryony [Frost] presenting Frodon at the fences in the Ryanair Chase, and watching her proving to be such an accomplished jockey is hard to beat… from Thursday afternoon, the win for Paisley Park in the Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle, and the dignified way his [blind] owner, Andrew Gemmell, showed his delight, was great for the sport.’
Monday 18 March 2019
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