The Irish Invasion

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Cheltenham Festival Irish Invasion

The Cheltenham Festival has seen a great rivalry on and off the track between Britain and those crossing the Irish Sea for many years. The Irish pilgrimage that takes place each March sees 60,000 attend the Festival which makes up around 30% of those in attendance over the four days! The fact that the festival is usually held in the third week of March, coinciding with St Patrick’s Day, certainly doesn’t do it any harm!

Irish at Cheltenham – Fun Facts

  • Ryanair increase their flights by 30 over the course of Cheltenham week to accommodate the Irish influx
  • 265,000 pints of Guinness are consumed over the four days at an average with a huge amount sunk at the famous Guinness Village
  • Irish people spend more than €22m each year at the Cheltenham Festival
  • The average spend per Irish punter on entertainment is €556

The Prestbury Cup

Named after the village closest to Cheltenham racecourse, the Prestbury Cup is between Ireland and Great Britain to see which country can achieve the most winners from the 28 races over the four days.

The winning country is then presented with the cup – which features turf from the racecourse – on the final day of the festival!

The Irish have claimed the trophy in four of the last seven years with last year’s competition going down to the final race. Joseph O’Brien’s Dallas Des Pictons claimed the Martin Pipe Conditional Hurdle to level it up at 14-14.

Who will come out on top in 2020?

The current MansionBet odds for the Prestbury Cup are as follows:

  • Ireland – 4/7
  • Great Britain – 15/8
  • Tie – 11/2

The British will be keen to regain the title for the first time since 2015 and will be looking to the likes of Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls and Colin Tizzard to fire them to victory over their Irish counterparts, but that won’t be easy!

Ireland’s Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott and Joseph O’Brien will once again arrive at Cheltenham with great strength in depth and with the likes of Henry de Bromhead and Patrick Kelly likely to provide additional ammunition, the Prestbury Cup could once again be returning to the Emerald Isle.

According to the latest MansionBet odds, 16 ante-post favourites are trained in Britain with 11 ante-post races headed by runners trained in Ireland, including Benie Des Dieux, Envoi Allen and Tiger Roll. MansionBet view the Gold Cup as too close to call and cannot split Ireland’s Al Boum Photo and Britain’s Santini, with both generally available at 7/2.

Best of luck, or as they say in Ireland, Is fearr de luck!

All odds correct at time of publication.

Get ready for the action at the upcoming meeting with expert Cheltenham Festival tips.

George once harboured ambitions to be a jockey but he now works in the horse racing industry representing a number of jockeys and trainers.
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