The 2020 sporting calendar in the UK has been decimated due to the Covid-19 pandemic and it appears as though there will be a knock-on effect into at least the first quarter of 2021. Don’t be surprised to see this go on longer.
Events will be able to go ahead, but crowds are going to be limited, just by how much is anyone’s guess right now. One event that came under fire in 2020 was the Cheltenham Festival, criticised for going ahead, although hindsight is a wonderful thing.
The 2021 Cheltenham Festival will be in March, so expectations are that there will be a heavily limited crowd in attendance.
Does that mean the occasion will suffer, or will racegoers still get the full Cheltenham experience if they are lucky enough to get a ticket?
Crowds at the 2021 Festival
As things stand at the moment, there are a maximum of 4000 spectators allowed into outdoor sporting events, this is based on the stadium being inside the lowest of England’s tier system.
When you consider that over 200,000 people go through the gates over the four days of the festival, this reduction to 16,000 max based on current rules would be a huge drop.
However, there is optimism that the vaccine rollout in the UK will help to relax the rules as we move through 2021, if that comes in time for the festival then those numbers could rise.
Having said that, crowds at the 2021 meeting are going to be at the most half of what we would normally expect to see, and likely much smaller than that.
This will mean a quieter festival, which won’t please those who specifically go for the atmosphere.
One of The Most Popular Betting Events In The UK
The Cheltenham festival is one of the most popular betting events in the UK just behind the Grand National. The various betting markets make this event particularly popular for those looking for an online bet.
Cheltenham always brings free bets on outsiders because these horses come with long odds such as 5-1 up to 200-1. It’s the perfect way to give yourself a chance to back a favourite while also you don’t miss out on the chance for a big win by taking a punt on your favourite outsider.
The betting opportunities are also quite diverse. You can wager the winner, each way for first, second, and third place payouts, and there are also accumulator bets as the event has several races over the course of 4 days leading up to the Cheltenham Gold Cup main event on the last day!
Will the Festival Have the Same Structure?
If you are thinking of trying to get a ticket for the festival when they eventually go on sale, the news is that the 2021 meeting will follow the same path as the 2020 meeting.
This means four days of action from Tuesday to Friday, and each day there is a feature race which headlines the action.
Cheltenham day 1 races are always popular with punters, being the opening day while Wednesday is often the quietest, despite it being classed as Ladies Day. Thursday brings in the Irish punters as the day is used to celebrate St Patrick’s Day while Friday is Gold Cup day, one of the biggest races of the year.
Regardless of the total number of fans in attendance and how that works, the festival days and races are now set so we know what 2021 is going to look like when it finally arrives.
Food, Drink, Entertainment and Shopping
For many, the festival is about more than just horse racing. People take this meeting seriously, often browsing fashion tips to find the latest trends ahead of buying their outfits.
It is also a day where people like to book a table in a restaurant and enjoy food and drink. The hope is that this can go ahead as normal, though rules will have to be enforced in the same way as they are in restaurants on the high street.
After racing, there is normally live entertainment for fans to enjoy, so there is no rush to leave the racecourse. This may have to be postponed, though again, a decision will be made nearer the time. Lastly, there is the Cheltenham shopping village to think about, a place where many traders sell items to those wanting to indulge and spend their winnings.
No word has been said on these yet, much will depend on how restrictions look around the UK to decide what can take place inside the racecourse itself.