The Cheltenham Festival is one of the biggest horse racing events in the world with celebrities joining millions of racing fans looking forward to the meeting every year and over 200,000 racegoers visiting Cheltenham.
Originating back in 1860, it’s not only one of the most popular races but one of the oldest and with such rich history, it’s not surprising that many celebrities over the years have been to experience the action first hand.
Here are some of the most recent celebrities who have attended the Cheltenham Festival.
Like many celebrities in the public eye – who enjoy the glitz, glamour and magnums of champagne which comes with a day at the race – pop music mogul Simon Cowell is regularly spotted at most of the flat racing festivals, with Royal Ascot being one of the major gathering spots for celebrity racegoers.
Cowell has given his trips to the races a little more impetus by becoming a shareholders in several different ownership syndicates. Although some have proved successful, others haven’t. It’s A Yes From Me, a horse owned by Cowell and two of his former employees, Ant and Dec, ran six times in 2014, but fifth was the best finished he was able to record – sadly, the gelding didn’t have the X-Factor Cowell was looking for.
Legendary film director, Steven Spielberg is well known for his love of horses and horse racing. He regularly attends most major racing events across America and has been pictured at the Breeders Cup and watching the Belmont Stakes in New York. He also ventured into ownership when he became a shareholder in the Delaware-based Biscuit Stables – one of his horse, Atswhatimtalknbout finished fourth in the 2003 Kentucky Derby.
Spielberg’s equine enthusiasm made him the perfect choice to direct War Horse, when Michael Morpurgo’s classic novel, about a young man trying to rescue his horse, was given a cinematic remaking.
Rolling Stones guitarist, Ronnie Wood has always had a great interest in horse racing and manages to find time between his bands globetrotting exploits to take in the best festival action – he’s attended Punchestown’s spring festival on several occasions, along with important meetings at the Curragh and also the Cheltenham Festival. He is sure to have his 2017 Cheltenham Festival tickets sorted.
He too has taken a step into ownership. His only charge, Sandymount Duke is trained by Jessica Harrington and has won seven races to date, along with a third placed finish in the Grade 1 Irish Daily Mirror Novice’ Hurdle at Punchestown.
Popular actress, Elizabeth Hurley has been an avid racegoer now for many years and always draws attention from the paparazzi when she ventures out for a day at the races.
She’s also a co-owner of several winning horses. She was pictured here congratulating Ryan Moore after he rode one of her charges, Census to victory at Bath, before he went on to win the Grade 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury the following summer.
Lee Westwood has been one of Europe’s top golfer for a long time now. His search for a maiden major championship will roll into another year in 2017, but his ventures into horse racing have proved a little more fruitful over the years.
Westwood, in partnership with his manager Chubby Chandler, owns a share in several flat racers – including Hoof It, who claimed the Heritage Handicap title at Glorious Goodwood in 2011.
He’s also part of the Masters Syndicate who own the Willie Mullins trainer mare Augusta Kate, who could be in for a successful spring with entries in several races at the Cheltenham Festival.
You’re never too far away from a member of the royal family if you’ve bought a ticket to one of the major horse racing festivals – it’s not called “The Sport of Kings” for nothing.
The Queen herself is in attendance every day of Royal Ascot and regularly visits other major festivals, on both the flat and National Hunt calendars throughout the season. Her sister, Princess Anne is a former European gold medallist in Eventing, paving a path for her daughter, Zara Philips to win World Championship gold in the same sport and be crowned Sports Personality of the Year in 2006.
Prince Charles, Prince Williams and other figures of royalty are often pictured at prestigious horse racing events. In the photo accompanying this section, Prince Harry congratulates Frankie Dettori, after he won the St. James’s Palace Stakes on board Galileo Gold at Royal Ascot last year.
The 2017 Cheltenham Festival takes place on the 14th, 15th, 16th& 17th March opening with Champion Day, followed by Ladies Day, St Patrick’s Day and finishing with the Cheltenham Gold Cup Day. Tickets are available to purchase online at Cheltenhamfestival.net although they have been known to sell out fast.