By HRI Foreign Staff — The sport of horse racing is one that contains many famous events. In the US, for example, you have the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. Racing is a global sport though, and this means that there are some other very famous events that happen all around the planet each year. A great example of this is the Cheltenham Festival in the UK.
Cheltenham is a 4-day feast of horse racing that takes place in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, each March. The famous individual Grade I races that are held over the 4 days include the Gold Cup, the Champion Hurdle, and the Queen Mother’s Champion Hurdle. As you would expect, sports betting is big at this event and hundreds of millions of pounds are wagered at the course each year. There is, of course, a lot more money bet on Cheltenham from overseas punters and those in the UK watching from home too!
Although 2022’s edition has been and gone now, recent news involving the next festival in 2023 has caught the eyes of many. This involves a cap on numbers at Cheltenham Festival in 2023 and festival organizers deciding to limit how many people can attend the 4-day extravaganza in person.
Cap on racegoers confirmed for 2023 Cheltenham Festival
The Jockey Club has announced that the spectator capacity at Cheltenham racecourse will be limited to 68,500 people per day for the 2023 Cheltenham Festival. This decision is said to have been taken to enhance the overall experience of those who do attend and to avoid overcrowding. When you think that the 2022 Cheltenham Festival saw 73,754 people attend on the Thursday and 73,875 on the Friday, you can see what a huge impact this announcement will have next year.
How has this decision from The Jockey Club come about?
Although 2022’s festival might have been only a few months ago, organizers are already planning for 2023’s version. As part of this, The Jockey Club asked for feedback from those who attended in 2022 and delved further into what their experience of the festival was.
The good news for the future of UK racing is that the majority of the feedback was very positive and highlighted the lively atmosphere, the high standard of racing, and the superb facilities that Cheltenham racecourse has. All of these factors bode well for the future of this event and have helped it become the popular attraction it is today.
One thing that did stick out though was complaints about the number of people on the course and the overcrowding that this generated. Many people also complained about the issues that the large crowds brought, with movement around the course being difficult and having to wait for facilities/service.
Cheltenham Festival back to its best in 2022
After an enforced break, Cheltenham Festival made a stunning return in 2022 and this saw more people than ever eager to get in on the action first-hand. While this is great news for racing, it did mean that huge crowds flocked to the course.
This did have something of a negative impact on certain areas and on how some racegoers viewed the whole event. To help mitigate this for future years, the cap on racegoers from 2023 will be in place. With Cheltenham Festival expanding in 2023 to possibly include 5 days of racing, it is an exciting time for racing fans.
What will a cap on racegoers mean for 2023’s festival?
Although horse racing fans might know about the incoming cap on attendance numbers for 2023’s festival in Cheltenham, they might wonder just what impact it will have. The major thing to remember is that this is being done to not only make it safer and easier to get around the course but also to enhance the whole experience.
For example, less people in attendance will mean shorter queues for food, shorter waits for drinks, and less hanging around in line for the bathroom! It should not have much impact on Cheltenham’s famous atmosphere either. Although there may not be quite as many people on the course as before, 68,500 people can still make a big noise. This means that those who attend should still be able to have a great time and feel the vibrant sense of magic in the air that this event is known for.
Don’t delay for Cheltenham 2023
The major takeaway from this story is to not hang around if you plan to attend this festival in person next year. It is reported that ticket sales are already popular and it is, therefore, key to book yours before they all go. If you cannot get there in person or do not get a ticket, there should be extensive coverage of this festival in the media.