The thrill of horse racing is inherently a part of Cheltenham. Now the place for the prestigious Champion hurdle, Stayers Hurdle, the Queen Mother Champion chase and the home of the legendary Gold Cup in March the town prides itself on the festival it throws for these exhilarating 4 days.
It also draws people to live in the town. In Cheltenham houses for sale are usually snapped up pretty quickly so it’s a good idea to get ahead of the game and look at http://www.completepropertygroup.co.uk/ for some bargains. Whatever you do though don’t go during Race week. The Town is completely manic and is very busy. The roads around the town require a lot of management and many people take the week off work not only to enjoy the festival but also to avoid the queues. It brings a lot of employment opportunities to the town and you will regularly see University of Gloucestershire students supplementing their student loan with Bar and waitress work.
The Course was established in 1815 with the first races at the current site in 1818. With its Spa water Cheltenham was always a bit of a Georgian and Victorian party town so it was natural that there would be provision for the “sport of Kings” at some point. One of the best features of the course is the back drop. Cheltenham is not in the Cotswolds, but it is on the edge of it. The scarp outline makes for a dramatic and evocative background as the horses round the slope and come charging down the hill for the finishing straight.
There were detractors. The Reverend Francis Close, who the University of Gloucestershire have a campus named after, was solidly against it and led a band of fervent believers to spoil the proceedings as it was clear that people were enjoying themselves . Burning the Grandstand to the ground may have been a step to far though. Its fair to say that the Reverend would not be pleased then to learn that over £150 million pounds was bet last year. The congregation would also find it quite hard to burn down the new Princess Royal Grandstand as its mainly glass and concrete. It does give off the most amazing panoramic views of the surrounding countryside that you can’t help thinking they might let it off.
The slow and gradual development of the course has taken place at a measured pace. Cheltenham is a special or at least think it is and it requires a lot more thought in its planning than other racecourses. It now has better facilities to view the horses before the race, so you can have a good look at them before you place your bet and also better stables for their welfare and care. See you at the finish line!