14 March 2011

Cheltenham 15th-18th March

The Cheltenham Festival is fast approaching. Between 15th-18th March owner, trainer and jockey will be putting their hearts and souls into 27 races. This year marks Cheltenham's centenary  - 100 years in a permanent location, proving the festival has come a long way since its beginnings and now has an overall winnings of £3,415,000.

The Cheltenham Festival attracts a very large number of Irish people and is an exciting prelude to St. Patrick's Day celebrations. This adds to the unique atmosphere. Clare Balding outlines this perfectly, "Ask people why they love Cheltenham and they will talk of the craic, the magic, the camaraderie of shared pleasure and pain".

This celebration kicks off today, "Centenary Day", which will remember the extensive history of Cheltenham and its evolution from from humble beginnings to over 200,00 people cheering the "Cheltenham roar"

The event has already had many shocks - the latest being last years winner of the Stan James Champion Hurdle being left out of the line up. Previous champion Binocular withdrew from the Hurdle after testing positive for medication used to treat an allergy earlier in the month. Binocular's trainer, Nicky Henderson explained, "As we were getting close to the most important race of the year, I thought it prudent to take a precautionary test which, devastatingly, has shown to be positive. We have therefore reluctantly had to take the BHA's advice that the only reasonable course is not to confirm the entry and he has consequently been withdrawn from the Champion Hurdle".

At The Wild Geese Irish Whiskey we're keeping our eye on Hurricane Fly, who will now be ridden by Ruby Walsh and as always will be looking out for the extraordinary - Men of Action.

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