By Holly Hunt for Insider Sport — The Jockey Club is lining up an expansion of the Cheltenham Festival from 2023 onwards, with plans to include a fifth day of the National Hunt race meeting, according to The Telegraph.
In its present format, the event includes a total of 28 races, or seven per day spanning Tuesday to Friday. However, expanding the Cheltenham Festival would see the meeting revert to six races per day, with the addition of two new races.
Nonetheless, the UK newspaper report added that the Gold Cup would still be held on Friday.
A Jockey Club spokesman explained: “The last time this was discussed in earnest in public some key stakeholders in our sport expressed their desire for a fifth day.
“We always explore every option to improve the Festival and British racing but we have made no decision to extend the length.”
According to The Telegraph, the Jockey Club would argue that the decision to expand Cheltenham to a five-day festival is ‘not a straight financial one or as a direct result of the pandemic’, which cost the course’s owner a significant £90 million in 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis, whilst the 2015 redevelopment of the Princes Royal stand to up the capacity to 6,500 for £45 million has also raised the appeal.