Cheltenham: Big business at the races

Over a quarter of a million pints of Guinness, five tons of cheese and we're just getting started with the crazy stats...

Cheltenham: Big business at the races

Kauto Star ridden by Ruby Walsh celebrates winning the Gold Cup ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

As the first day's jockeys and their trusty steeds come racing out of the gates at Cheltenham, its worth noting that there's plenty of action going on off the track.

The National Hunt meeting that comes only second to the Grand National on the horse racing calendar and the four-day festival brings a cool £100 million (€127 million) into the local area of Gloucestershire each year.

That's thanks to the influx of approximately 62,000 punters daily, each looking to be fed, watered (with champagne, of course) and possibly have a flutter if time allows.

The 2016 edition is already a record-breaker in racing terms, as prize money exceeds £4 million for the first time.

Paddy Power is offering odds of 8/11 that attendance will be over 250,000 in total. With that, pints purchased and bets placed should rise.

Cheltenham's traditional connection with Ireland doesn't end with the heralded riders like Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh (pictured) or the event's proximity to St. Patrick's Day, either.

Over 10,000 of the daily attendees figure will hail from this side of the Irish Sea. That strong presence bears out in some of the more mind-boggling official stats supplied by organisers. Here are the highlights:

  • 150 – the amount, in millions of pounds sterling, bet on every year
  • 265,000 – the number of pints of Guinness knocked back in 2015
  • 120,000 – bottles of wine drunk
  • 20,000 – bottles of house champagne sold
  • 45,000 – Afternoon teas served
  • 8 – Number of Guinness-only bars
  • 45,000 – bread rolls eaten at The Festival in 2015
  • 40,000 – hospitality meals served
  • 9 – tons of potatoes consumed
  • 5 – tons of cheese
  • 5 – tons of smoked and fresh salmon
  • 350 – number of chefs on site
  • 30 – extra flights put on by Ryanair on the Dublin to Birmingham route during The Festival period (around 20,000 customers will use Ryanair)
  • 105,000 – people using Cheltenham Spa train station over the four days of racing
  • 68,000 – the maximum capacity on Cheltenham Gold Cup Day (when all temporary facilities are open)
  • 6,000 – staff employed
  • 45 – the amount spent in million on the redevelopment of Cheltenham Racecourse. This project was concluded in November 2015