Friday, February 23, 2024

What Famous Sports Stars Might You See at Cheltenham Festival?

by SportsWriter
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Cheltenham Festival is set to kick off on the 12th of March, and already there’s a buzz of excitement for horse racing fans. 

Regarding horse racing, Cheltenham is one of the most significant events in the calendar year, full of drama and excitement that rivals even Epsom and Royal Ascot. 

This is exemplified by the celebrities, of course. You always know it’s a big event if A-lister stars and famous TV personalities are joining in with the fun! And if you’re planning on going to Cheltenham this month, you might bump into a few of the good ones.

We’re not talking about Carol Vorderman or Chris Evans – although we have nothing against them. Everyone speculates who the frontrunners are, giving their best Cheltenham tips in preparation for the most anticipated races. 

We’re talking sports stars, the stars you have grown up watching, glued to your television screens, cheering them on. So, which sports stars can you expect to bump into while you’re there? We’ve rounded up some of the regulars below.

Princess Anne

Is Princess Anne a sports star? Yes! Lest we forget, once upon a time, Princess Anne was a competitive horse racer and the first ever member of the British royal family to compete in the Olympic Games. Since then, she’s been a massive advocate for the sport. 

With the royals often enjoying a day at the Cheltenham races, you will likely spot her watching from the Royal Box. The chances of that happening, however, are a little slimmer!

Mike Tindall

Sticking with the royal family, Mike Tindall is also a Cheltenham regular. While he is now married to Zara Phillips, Queen Elizabeth II’s granddaughter, he is best known for tearing up the rugby field in England’s glory days. 

Being part of the Rugby World Cup 2003 squad, he knows a thing or two about what it takes to win the big tournaments, and we’re a little envious that he’ll be passing on that wisdom to others in the royal box. Now, that’s a betting tip!

Alex Ferguson

Ah, Fergie. This is another sports legend who knows what it takes to win, having led Manchester United to 13 Premier League trophies, five FA Cup victories, and two Champions League titles. 

Regarded as one of the best managers ever to grace the world of football, he is also a big fan and a regular at Cheltenham Festival. He even has 32 horses, with his first-ever runner competing in the Bahrain International Trophy last year. It isn’t like Alex Ferguson to miss a game like this, so you’ll likely see him milling among the other sporting elite while you’re there.

Andy Murray

From football to tennis, Wimbledon winner Andy Murray is also known to enjoy a day at the Cheltenham Racecourse, having led the celebrity arrivals on the second day of the 2019 tournament. 

We can’t be 100% sure whether he will appear during 2023, as he recently got knocked out of the first round of the Australian Open and might be using the time to get some more game time before Wimbledon 2024. But you never know who you might spot!

Jonny Bairstow

Jonny Bairstow is yet another World Cup winner who loves the Cheltenham Festival. Of course, his own World Cup glory was just a short time ago. He was part of the England team that took apart New Zealand in that barmy World Cup Final in 2019 – we’re still scratching our heads over precisely what happened there! 

For his performance at Lord’s – and many other performances, of course – he’s considered to be one of the best cricket players in the world right now. And he’s also a massive racing fan. Having fallen in love with the sport over a decade ago, Bairstow had made regular appearances at the races, with his favorite memory apparently being the Champion Chase in 2013, when Sprinter Sacre took the win. 

Among all the other sports stars, he’s the one that you’re most likely to spot. But try to keep your eyes on the races, too!

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