It was kind of bizarre watching the crowds at Cheltenham yesterday and then at Anfield last night. Over 100,000 sports fans were gathered together in celebration and close quarters at a time when across Europe and around the world events are being cancelled or played behind closed doors.
Media reporting back to Ireland last night reported that there was a more restrained feel than normal to the Festival and given the pace at which change is happening, there is no absolute guarantee that the meeting will run to its conclusion though barring a government order that is the most likely outcome.
There is a strong Irish flavour to the sponsorship line up today with Ryanair and Paddy power attaching their brands to the two big races, the Ryanair Chase and the Paddy Power Stayers Hurdle.
Ryanair has been on board as a sponsor of their race since 2006 and extended it through to 2022 in a five-year deal back in 2018.
This is Paddy Power’s first year as a sponsor of the Stayers Hurdle, having had a long association with Cheltenham through a partnership on the November meeting but not having previously been on the card for the festival.
They also announced on Tuesday that they would be on board for the Annual trophy between Irish and British Horses over the four days.
The crowd yesterday was 56,943, down from last year’s record second-day attendance of 59,209
JP McManus, who owns Adare Manor that will host the Ryder Cup in 2026, has had an outstanding festival so far with five wins over the first two days putting him well clear as the leading owner.
Great Britain leads the battle with Ireland for the Paddy power sponsored Prestbury Cup by seven wins to six. France also secured one win yesterday.
Paddy Power and Ryanair are the sponsors of the two main races today.
Other sponsors on the day include Marsh, Brown Advisory Services, Daylesford organic food and Pertemps. Bulmers are the overall title sponsors of the festival for a second year in 2020.
Each day this week we will run the rule over the runners and riders and select four horse that might give you a run for your money. Tuesday’s selections hit the bar producing a second and two thirds. We moved up a spot yesterday with one winner and two seconds and today’s tentative selections are…
1330: Faugheen (5.0)
1530: Penhill (11.0)
1610: Deyrann De Carjac (17.0)
1650: Minella Melody (4.0)