It’s the Olympic Games, the World Cup and the All Ireland final all rolled into one as regards jump racing and the action for 2020 gets underway this afternoon.
The 2020 Festival is sponsored for a second year by Bulmers who have produced a new piece of online content looking at four of the different types of people that will be interested in the racing, all wrapped up under the banner of chasing Gold.
It has been viewed over 800,000 times on YouTube to date and that is likely to rise beyond the one million mark over the next four days.
The crowds are expected to be down slightly this year, at around 60,000 a day as opposed to 65,000 given fears over the coronavirus. Additional sanitising and hand washing as well as other hygiene measures have been put in place.
An estimated 265,000 pints of Guinness will be consumed at the racecourse and around the town. That is equivalent to five per cent of the total consumption in England over the course of the year.
English rider Nico De Boinville was the top rider at the 2019 Festival, the only time in the last decade that the honour dod not go to an Irish rider with Davy Russell, Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty sharing the spoils between them.
Paddy Power makes Paul Townend riding for Willie Mullins the favourite to be Top Jockey this year at odds of 3.0. He is followed in the betting by three more Irish jockeys with Davy Russell on 4.5, Rachael Blackmore on 5.0 and Barry Geraghty on the same price.
Unibet sponsors the main race of the day, the Champion Hurdle which will be run at 3.30 this afternoon.
Other sponsors on the day include the Racing Post which is celebrating eleven years since it first produced a special Irish edition in February 2010 and has done every day since.
Sky Bet, Close Brothers, Ultima and the Northern trust Company are the other sponsors.
Each day this week we will run the rule over the runners and riders and select three horse that might give you a run for your money.
1330: Chantry House (6.5)
1410: Notebook (4.0)
1530: Darver Star (13.0)
1610: Benie Des Dieux (1.66)