Cheltenham Expecting Fewer Irish To Visit Festival

Tagged under: 6 The Festival Meeting

It is a sign of the difficult times facing the Irish economy that Cheltenham Racecourse have taken the decision to cut back on it's traditional marketing of the Festival in Ireland .

Cheltenham Managing Director confirmed that there is a pronounced fall in those expected to travel from the Republic and said "It's clear the ability of the Irish to come has been badly hit by economic reasons.We are being realistic and not promoting the Festival as actively over there as we have done in the past ."

Cheltenham are instead hoping to attract a larger number of English based Irish customers and have launched an intensive campaign among Britain's Irish communities to attract visitors to the meeting particularly on St Patricks Day which falls on the Thursday of the Cheltenham Festival . A St Patricks Day Derby Charity Race is one of the features of the day and the 12 celebrity riders will be announced next week .

Cheltenham were able to announce some good news yesterday however with more than 75 000 tickets already sold and hospitality bookings eight per cent ahead of the same stage last year .

With nine weeks to the start of the most eagerly anticipated race meeting of the year the build up to the 2011 Cheltenham Festival starts in earnest tomorrow when the postponed King George VI Chase is ran at Kempton featuring the favourite and dual winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup , Kauto Star .

If Kauto Star wins as expected tomorrow he will almost certainly regain favouritism to win his third Gold Cup and the countdown to the Festival will really begin .

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