You can tell it is Gold Cup day. The first thing I saw as I entered the course this morning was a huge fork lift ferrying three or four dozen crates of Moet & Chandon. Let's hope there's good reason to be drinking Champagne later on.
Best of all we have the Gold Cup, the supreme test of the natural wonder that is the staying chaser. The moment of truth is upon us.
Just the one ride for Lizzie Kelly today, who has found time to explore the hat shops this morning. This hat was hand made by former Racing Post diarist Jonny Beardsall (pictured), whose business has won an award this week for the best dressed stand in the shopping village. Jonny makes most of the hats, starting at £495, while wife Janie is a sculptor, whose work is also for sale, and daughter Ruby is a fashion student whose hand made clutches are for sale.
It's a cold and foggy morning in Cheltenham but that hasn't stopped a fair few intrepid racegoers getting to the course very early indeed.
A reminder of how things stand in the BetBright Cup after Ireland's domination yesterday. All to play for!
“I had to go to the bank to get more cash,” said the 67-year-old as he stood next to his Pickwick pitch in the satellite ring above the winners’ enclosure.
“The results have been terrible. I’ve been betting here since 1999 and this is the worst year I’ve ever known. It’s been relentless. Yesterday, with Vautour, Thistlecrack and Limini it was like being in the sea and being pounded by wave after wave.”
After three days being hammered by short-priced favourites Gold is hoping things can turn the layers’ way today.He said: “I think it’s quite open and I hope there can be some longer-priced winners. Don Cossack has shortened up, but I just fear the whole Mullins and Walsh thing again. I circle them in the paper.”
Just because you owned a legendary staying hurdler, that's no guarantee that you will be able to get a half of shandy in the bar named after him, reports James Burn.
Andy Stewart, whose silks will be seen all over the world this afternoon courtesy of Victoria Pendleton, revealed before racing: "I've just been to the Big Buck's bar and they wouldn't let me in as there was no room."
Footpad would be the worst single result of the Festival should he win. Don Cossack is the strongest horse in the Gold Cup, with Djakadam the weakest of the front four. We’ve taken more bets on Victoria Pendleton’s mount Pacha Du Polder than any other horse in the Foxhunter – it appears to be a public punt.
Jockeys riding in the opener generally described the ground as good, though one or two reckoned it was slightly dead on the bends.
It's unbelievable. It's not really sunk in yet and it's hard to put into words. I was very hopeful but Barry was more confident than anyone.