Some 280,000 horse racing enthusiasts travelled to Gloucestershire for the 2022 Cheltenham Festival, breaking the record from 2019, when 260,000 fans attended. The fact that the 2021 Festival took place behind closed doors will certainly have had an impact, with Prestbury Park having been packed to the rafters throughout the four-day event this year.
Tickets for Friday’s Gold Cup sold out in early January, demonstrating that the Cheltenham Festival is still as popular as ever. St Patrick’s Day, Thursday, also sold out in advance, something that has never previously occurred. A lot of bets were made during the festival too, 40 million to be precise.
How the 2022 Cheltenham Festival Betting Went
The Cheltenham Festival is made up of 28 races, making the number of bets even more astounding. The likes of Betfair and Paddy Power were the main beneficiaries, despite many races having been won by the favourites. Examples included Constitution Hill’s victory in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and jockey Rachel Blackmore’s success in the Gold Cup. However, with Queen Mother Chase favourite, Shishkin, having ultimately failed to finish the race, the bookies clawed plenty of cash back there.
Of course, just a small proportion of bets were placed at the racecourse itself, with online bookmakers having catered for the needs of most punters. While well-known and experienced brands will have again profited, there is a long list of new bookmakers for 2022, who also made a significant impression on the festival.
Many fans were left disappointed after Tiger Roll failed to win on what was its 45th and final career appearance, with the Michael O’Leary-trained favourite having been beaten by Delta Work in the Cross Country Chase. Some 74,875 were present to see Blackmore become the first female jockey to win the Gold Cup just a day later, as she rode A Plus Tard to glory. This is despite ticket prices having risen between 3-5% since 2020.
Could a 5th Day be Added to the Cheltenham Festival?
The 2022 Cheltenham Festival certainly did little to dampen talk of a fifth day being added, which could take the number of fans to somewhere near 350,000! 2024 seems to be the earliest point at which this would come to fruition, with those at Jockey Club Racecourses still to iron out the finer details. Finances will undoubtedly play a part, with the Jockey Club having lost out on an estimated £100 million from the 2021 Festival.
Either way, the 2022 Festival has certainly left horse racing fans wanting more. With the Grand National and Royal Ascot to look forward to over the coming months, British racing has seemingly never been healthier. Meetings from these shores attract the interest of punters from around the world, many of whom place bets with offshore bookies. Just don’t forget to use vpn in case of need!
Why Those at Home Also Enjoyed the 2022 Cheltenham Festival
It was not just at Presbury Park where records were broken, with broadcaster ITV having attracted 17% of people watching television across the four days, on average. Some 1.6 million tuned in to watch the Gold Cup on the Friday, while the peak average viewing figures were up 11% from 2020, at 1.5 million. The fact that the 2021 Cheltenham Festival took place with no fans in attendance, due to the coronavirus pandemic, demonstrates why viewing figures from this year are obsolete.
Many fans will have followed the action through betting sites’ live streaming services, which are perfect for those who are constantly on the go and wish to watch their picks from a mobile or tablet.