Horse racing fans are already beginning to count down the days until the 2022 Cheltenham Festival, with the Prestbury Park meeting one of the most hotly anticipated events on the sporting calendar. Some of the world’s biggest races take place across the Festival’s four days, not least the Cheltenham Gold Cup — one of the most coveted prizes in all of horse racing.
Of course, this year’s Cheltenham Festival will be extra special as it will see the return of spectators to the stands and concourses for the first time since the 2020 edition, which was one of the last sporting events to welcome capacity crowds before the coronavirus pandemic took hold.
Plenty of horse racing fanatics will have been champing at the bit to return to Cheltenham and witness the event first-hand, and there will be a carnival atmosphere throughout the four days as everyone eagerly analyses the Cheltenham Festival betting.
Having been made to watch the 2021 Festival on our televisions last year, it has brought up the question of which is the better experience. Of course, everyone loves savouring live sporting action, but is there a case to be made that, through the sheer quality of broadcast coverage, watching from home can actually be a better way to consume the Cheltenham Festival? Let’s take a look at the merits of both.
Watching on TV
It must be said that there are few British sporting events that boast the kind of quality television coverage as the Cheltenham Festival. With a star-studded line-up of presenters and pundits, ITV always do a great job of showcasing the races, offering plenty of Cheltenham Festival tips to help inform your choices and predictions.
In terms of actually watching the races, and getting a sense for the tactics of the game and how the horses are performing, watching on TV usually offers the best experience. Yes, you miss out on the excitement of being there in the flesh to witness it all, but you get a strong sense of how each race was won or lost, which is only added to by the thoughts and opinions of those in the studio.
For that reason, it could be said that watching on TV is probably the better experience for those who are really interested in analysing the sport.
Attending in person
Of course, there’s nothing quite like being there. A day at the races is one of Britain’s most-loved days out, and Cheltenham is just about the cream of the crop when it comes to an event where you can get dressed up the nines and enjoy some top-class racing action.
While your view of the races themselves may be somewhat hampered by the sheer volume of fellow spectators, and the distance between the stands and the racecourse, you get that intangible feeling of being a part of it all. There is also the chance to experience, and be involved in, the famous Cheltenham roar as the horses bound up the home straight.
Visiting the Cheltenham Festival is a bucket-list item for many sports fans, and provides a day to remember for everyone who visits on one of the four days.