Aside from being well known for hosting the Cheltenham Festival and several music events, Cheltenham as a place has an interesting history. Formerly an Anglo saxon Village it became a market town in 1226 and then laterly discovered it’s medicinal waters in the 18th century.
Following this it became known as a Spa town and received Royal recommendation from King George III. This spiraled the number of residents and visitors to the town, with many flocking to get a taste of the natural Spa waters.
Horse Racing Attraction
In addition to the Spa’s themselves there would often be several other attractions surrounding the tree lined walks. Visitors would often be treated to Music concerts, Theatre and Horse Racing for those with an interest. This is thought to be the initial move towards a wider racing culture in the area.
It wasn’t until 1860 we believe when the first ‘festival’ was known and it was actually held at Market Harborough. It’s first name was the ‘Grand national Hunt Meeting’ and was mostly held at Warwick Racecourse until it finally found its home in the early 20th century.
The Rise of Prestbury Park
When Prestbury Park was rebuilt in 1902 it staged the famous National Hunt race meeting in 1904 and 1905. It returned to Warwick after this until finally coming home to Cheltenham in 1911, where it has been run every year since.
Now known as the Cheltenham festival, it has blossomed into a four day bonanza of top class Horse Racing. The event attracts the best horses from the UK and Ireland all primed for the festival. The top Trainers and Jockey’s from both sides of the water compete over several jumping distances during the week. It is now a permanent feature to have a ‘BIG’ race per day from Tuesday to Friday culminating in the Gold Cup, the most prestigious race of the week.
2018 Native River
2017 Sizing John
2016 Don Cossack
2014 Lord Windermere
2013 Bobs Worth
2011 Long Run
2010 Imperial Commander
2009 Kauto Star