As the sun rose over a misty Prestbury Park, the scent of Spring was in the air and not only that, the appetite of racegoers to be back at the ‘Olympics of horse racing’ was insatiable! Yes, it was that special time of year again when the eyes of the sporting world turn to the Cotswolds countryside for the most highly anticipated Cheltenham Festival in a generation and of course, the one and only Green Room was the only place to be for four days of the best National Hunt jump racing you’ll find anywhere in the world.
From our enviable position overlooking the Parade Ring with sweeping views across the stunning Cleve Hill, The Green Room was back and what better way to begin The Festival than with Champions Day on Tuesday. The big race of the day was the Champion Hurdle, the favourite was Honeysuckle ridden by the star of Cheltenham 2021 Rachael Blackmore and the atmosphere in the Green Room could not have been better. Stars like Laura Woods, Dom Joly and Georgie Bingham mingled with racing legend Sir AP McCoy and former rugby stars Austin Healey, Mike Tindall, James Haskell, and James Simpson-Daniel as the racing got underway. As the Cheltenham roar went up for the first time in two years, over 60,000 avid racegoers got their first fix of the action and Green Room guests soaked up every bit of the atmosphere. The biggest cheer of the day though was for Rachael Blackmore, who cantered to a mesmerising victory in the Champion Hurdle.
Day Two at Cheltenham is Ladies Day and whilst the style and fashion were out in full force, so was the British weather which sadly poured for much of the day! In The Green Room though it was the Champagne and Guinness that was being poured throughout the day as guests were treat to another sparkling day of banter and hospitality. Sir AP MCoy and Jonjo O’Neill Jr. were on fine form as always and they were joined in The Green Room by Zara Tindall, Lawrence Dallaglio, chef Ollie Dabbous and SkySports boxing trio Matt Macklin, Spencer Oliver, and Adam Smith. The big race of the day was the Cross-Country Chase featuring fan favourite and 2-time Grand National winner Tiger Roll who was being retired after The Festival. Despite support from practically everyone at the racecourse Tiger Roll sadly finished second behind stablemate Delta Work. The result did not however dampen spirits in the The Green Room as day two ended.
St.Patricks Day Thursday at Cheltenham is renowned for the atmosphere delivered by the huge Irish contingent at The Festival and the 2022 edition was no different as revellers started early on what is one of the most popular race days anywhere in the world with over 70,000 people due to attend. The big race of the day was the Stayers’ Hurdle featuring our ambassador Jonjo O’Neill Jr. aboard the much- favoured Champ. Building up to the big race and watching the action from The Green Room were Harry Potter star Oliver Phelps and Love Island winner Greg O’Shea who were clearly enjoying The Green Room vibe. Unfortunately, Champ could not live up to his name and Jonjo O’Neill Jr. wasn’t able to clinch that elusive Cheltenham victory.
The final day of The Cheltenham Festival is Gold Cup Day and with it, brings the opportunity to win one of the most sought-after prizes in all of racing. The excitement was palpable and the question on everybody’s lips was whether Rachael Blackmore could complete a historic Champion Hurdle/Gold Cup double. Certainly Sir AP McCoy believed she was the favourite aboard Plus Tard and Green Room guests David Flatman, Amy Williams, Tom Curry and Zara Tindall all fancied Blackmore for the victory too. As guests enjoyed yet more delicious food and the Guinness flowed freely, race time was soon upon us and the famed Cheltenham roar as the horses came down the home straight was simply unbelievable – the raucous applause was of course for Rachael Blackmore who made history in becoming the first female jockey ever to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Her victory rounded off an absolutely spectacular week and we’re already chomping at the bit to get back to Cheltenham in 2023.
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