Cheltenham festival – On the other side of the fence

17/03/2015 | By | Reply More

Sometimes, enjoying the sport you normally trade can be just as must fun! Dave gives us an insight to his experience of a day at Cheltenham…..

As many of you know, my health has been an issue for many years now. I wake up every morning and within 30 seconds I know if it is going to be a struggle or if I can be okay. I rarely get a good, or what many call a normal day, so I accept the okay days with open arms. So why am I saying this? Well when I woke on Thursday 12/03/15 there was a big day ahead. I had an invite to the Cheltenham Festival from Betfair so when I waited for 30 seconds to pass I was ecstatic to know I had a fighting chance.

Living in Cheltenham I know how special the Festival is and I also know how lucky I am to be invited to an all-expenses paid day.  I’m aware that, despite Peter getting invited to many events, he still prefers to spend his time behind the desk during big meetings, so a big thank you to Peter Webb for arranging it and to Betfair for making the offer.

I left home at around 11:00 and we were dropped near the course. We joined the thousands of racing fans and made our way to collect our passes. I was accompanied by my Uncle, Pete Williams, he’s more like a brother and not much older than me. In fact it’s his 60th birthday soon so he was delighted to join me.

The crowds were building even at that time and in the Guinness Village there was a great atmosphere with many enjoying the live music….oh and some pints of the black stuff!  We arrived at The Lounge and staff greeted us and gave us an idea of what to expect. The setup was just right, smart casual dress and a relaxed attitude to seating. We took a seat and the waitress gave us a welcome glass of Champagne; don’t mind if I do!


Timeform cards were on the table so we had a quick look at the form. There were Apple Macs lining the wall so access to your Betfair account was easy enough. They also gave us an amazing Wi-Fi connection – super fast in all aspects! The information kept coming and the host was Sean “Boycie” Boyce from At the Races. I like his style on the TV so it was good to finally meet him having exchanged plenty of emails. We were then given an excellent talk by Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls. His information was good and was good to get an insight into plans for his horses that day. He was honest about their chances and that is very helpful when you are playing on Betfair. The information continued with special guests including “The Voice of Ireland” Gary O’Brien who have us a view on the Irish horses.

tent 02

The drinks were flowing and the dinner was a great idea. Small “taster” portions of 8 different main meals so you could choose what you wanted. The waiting staff soon realised I was willing to eat anything so if other guests said no thank you, they made their way to my table!

I managed to trade a few races from my iPhone but my overall betting was pretty abysmal to be honest! But it was much better than most. It was really interesting to note just how few people in the tent deployed anything more than a casual approach to more advanced strategies. My day was to get better when a person sat next to me, someone who I had seen many times but never had the privilege to meet. It was Clive Smith owner of the mighty Kauto Star and Master Minded to name just two. He was an absolute Gentleman and we spoke about his great days and his future plans.


Things were winding down and before we knew it the racing had finished. The Betfair staff were brilliant as were all the catering staff, they simply could not do enough for you. I think the Betfair slogan “This is Play” was very apt for the day; a well-run event which you could not fail to enjoy!

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Category: Horse Racing

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