Cheltenham Festival anti-social behaviour ‘substantially decreased’


Cheltenham Borough Council has reported a decrease in anti-social behaviour during this year’s Cheltenham Festival, with complaints substantially lower than last year. Despite this, officials have emphasised that continued efforts will be needed to reduce disturbances in the town during jump racing’s biggest meeting.

Gloucestershire police recorded 547 incidents over the four-day event, with reports indicating that the town had a better handle on its anti-social behaviour problem following a collective effort by police, the local council, and the racecourse. Additional toilets and police patrols led to a drop in public urination incidents, one of the more common offences last year. The number of incidents at the racecourse was also lower, although ten arrests were made, including two staff members suspected of stealing money. Several altercations were reported, with one man arrested for knocking another’s tooth out.

Chris Nelson, Gloucestershire’s police and crime commissioner, expressed satisfaction with the overall decrease in incidents. Nevertheless, instances of violence and intimidation against women and girls remained a significant concern.

Nelson, Gloucestershire’s police and crime commissioner, said: “After the disgusting anti-social behaviour that marred last year’s festival, and the years of disruption faced by local residents, I was very clear that enough was enough and that we needed a real focus to crack down on this sort of unacceptable behaviour. That’s why I called together all of those involved and asked for a new focus on the impact on the community caused by the festival, and that has led to the joined-up action and better grip on the situation that we saw this year.

“Unfortunately some clearly still haven’t got the message but we have a good foundation from which to learn for next year, and show continued commitment to making sure the festival is a safe and enjoyable event for everyone.”

A police statement issued this week said that evidence would be reviewed to identify any patterns. While fewer complaints have been registered with the council, incident numbers during the festival remained higher than during a typical week in Cheltenham, where there were 245 fewer incidents in the week before the event.

Finally, attendance was down during this year’s Cheltenham Festival, with almost 40,000 fewer people in attendance than during previous years. The reasons for this decline are unclear, and it remains to be seen how the festival’s organisers will respond to the challenge of attracting visitors in the coming years.



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“A very good result” surprise as Paddy Power boosted by Galopin Des Champs win.

An all-too-predictable Willie Mullins big-race double ought to have turned the tide firmly against the layers on the final day of the meeting if an unpredictable Thursday had allowed bookmakers to draw back to about the same level as Cheltenham Festival punters.

However, established businesses’ responses were somewhat more mixed. Paddy Power depicted the triumph of Galopin Des Champions in the Boodles Gold Cup as “an excellent outcome,” while William Slope portrayed the 7-5 victor as “not unreasonably solid.” Coral described the festival as “one to remember for many punters” at the conclusion of the final day.

In the betting for the JCB Triumph Hurdle, Mullins had the first three horses, and earlier in the week, Blood Destiny had overtaken Lossiemouth as the market leader. Lossiemouth went into the day as a 13-8 favorite, and the crowd barely wavered in their support for Paul Townend’s horse, who was roared home at 11-8.

Before Mullins and Townend made no mistake with the classy Galopin Des Champs, bookmakers received some respite with 33-1 winners of the County Hurdle and 18-1 winners of the Albert Bartlett, respectively.

Coral’s David Stevens: “Lossiemouth gave favourite backers the perfect start to the busiest betting day of the festival and while the next two winners, Faivoir and Stay Away Fay, were much harder to find, Galopin Des Champs’ many backers had plenty of time to cheer the seven-year-old home as he went clear up the famous hill.

“A winning favourite in the second biggest betting race of the entire year is never going to be a good result for the bookmakers and the Lossiemouth-Galopin Des Champs double was also extremely popular, ensuring this year’s festival will be one to remember for many punters.”

Constitution Hill, the shortest-priced winner in the history of the Champion Hurdle, won the National Hunt Chase and the championship races on Tuesday and Wednesday, while El Fabiolo, trained by Mullins, justified his 11-10 odds in the Arkle.

The losses of Powerful Potter and Shishkin on Thursday provided the challenge with some similarity to value, before Friday by and by turned reasonably definitively for supporters.

Given that the well-backed 15-8 second favorite Impervious defeated the Mullins and Townend favorite Allegorie De Vassy in the Mrs. Paddy Power Mares’ Chase, even the defeat of Allegorie De Vassy provided little comfort to bookmakers. However, William Hill and Paddy Power reported surprising victories on the day.

Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield said: “Irish eyes must have been smiling on the bookies all right in the Gold Cup as despite the winner being favourite, amazingly it was a very good result for us, although some shrewd punters did have some ante-post run-ups on him.”

William Hill’s Lee Phelps was of a similar sentiment, saying: “Favourite Galopin Des Champs winning the Gold Cup wasn’t a bad result at all. He was wrapped up in a few costly multiples, but in the race itself he wasn’t overly strong.

“It was a tricky day for punters, with turn-ups in the Albert Bartlett, County and Hunter Chase, and we’ve ended the festival in front. The costliest thing for us this year has been long-standing ante-post multiples. We’ve seen a number of punters pocketing tens and even hundreds of thousands of pounds thanks to some well-judged accumulators and that has taken the gloss off what has been a solid week.”

Among the organisations costlier liabilities was a six-figure payout thanks to two long-range wagers that happened as expected on Friday for a similar foresighted client.

The client received £26,520 from a £10 each-way double placed on Christmas Eve 2021 with Constitution Hill at 25-1 and Galopin Des Champs at 33-1. The client also received £74,722 from a £10 four-fold placed in March on the same two horses and Desert Crown to win the Derby and Tuesday in the Oaks.



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After the Gold Cup masterclass, McCoy lavishes praise on Townend, describing his ride as “as brilliant as I’ve ever seen in any horserace.”

After leading the hot favourite Galopin Des Champs to victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday, Paul Townend was praised by multiple champion jockey Sir Anthony McCoy for providing “as brilliant a ride as I have ever seen in a horserace.”

Galopin Des Champs, who was at the back of the field, picked off his rivals one by one to get through and challenge Bravemansgame at the last fence before soaring up the hill to win the race for Townend for the third time.

The skill and patience shown by Townend was extolled by McCoy. Asked what he made of the performance, he said: “As brilliant a ride as I have ever seen in a horserace – talk about riding a horse with bottle. Oh my god.

“Talk about pressure – the privilege of pressure – and oh my god he’s coped with it better than anyone I’ve ever seen.”

Townend has been criticised at various points throughout the week for his rides on the likes of Facile Vega in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Appreciate It in the Turners Novices’ Chase, while Galopin Des Champs was a faller at the final fence when clear in the Turners Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last year.

Ruby Walsh praised Townend’s ability to ignore criticism and ride like he did on Galopin Des Champs, the Cheltenham Gold Cup’s market leader.

“I echo AP’s words completely,” he said. “You come to Cheltenham with all the pressure and to drop him in and ride him the way he rode him [was brilliant].

“He’s probably been listening to people like me giving out all week when he does something wrong, so to be able to put that all away and go and do what he’s just done I’m delighted for him. He deserves every plaudit he gets.”

He added: “There was brilliant race riding in there too. Harry Cobden [on Bravemansgame] kept it all tight off the home turn – it was a compelling race to watch. You wanted Bravemansgame and Galopin Des Champs going at it to the last – that’s what horseracing’s about. I thought it was magic.”

Winning trainer Willie Mullins said: “Paul is so good under pressure and I’ve been putting him under some fair pressure this week. It was a huge ride from Paul I thought – ride of the week anyway.”



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“A Plus Tard is back”: De Bromhead takes positives from the defending champion’s unlucky Gold Cup run.

Despite being pulled up in the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup, Henry de Bromhead insists that A Plus Tard demonstrated that he was “back” and blames the interference from two fallers for costing him a better chance to defend his crown.

The winner from last year was a 4-1 shot when he was sent off. He was in the back and seemed to be going well until he was severely hampered in a fight at the 17th fence. Ahoy Senor tumbled, bringing down Sounds Russian in A Plus Tard’s path. Having lost his situation, the nine-year-old was pulled up by Rachael Blackmore before the third-last.

However, De Bromhead benefited from the performance. An Or more Tard had not been seen since floundering in the Betfair Pursue at Haydock in November and could now go to Aintree in about a month to challenge the Bowl.

The trainer said: “I thought he was very unlucky. He had to jump two horses sadly and that was it. Rachael said she was really happy with him at the time, tracking Paul [Townend on Galopin Des Champs], and all was good. But it’s the luck of the draw.

“I’m happy. He looks back now and it was just unlucky. He needs to go left-handed, so I suppose maybe Aintree [is an option]. Rachael did the right thing. She pulled him up as she knew he wouldn’t win.”

The coach’s other previous champ Minella Indo was pulled up with a circuit to go and De Bromhead faulted the race start for demolishing his opportunity. Nico de Boinville, a late replacement for Mark Walsh, was reportedly furious when the ten-year-old had to be pushed along when trailing at the start.

“Nico was livid with the start. He said it shouldn’t [have started],” De Bromhead said. “We’re really annoyed by that. I think his chance was gone then. We’ll get him home and see [what to do next].”

After the Gold Cup, all six of the horses that didn’t finish were fine, including Hewick, who fell hard at the second turn. The Galway Plate and American Terrific Public champ was becoming dull of dispute while descending.

Jockey Jordan Gainford said: “It was unbelievable. He’s a tough horse. Even when Derek [Fox, jockey of Ahoy Senor] fell, I was safe away. He was just unlucky on his landing at the second-last. He ran a cracker and I’m delighted with him.”

Before coming down six from home, Ahoy Senor jockey Derek Fox was pleased with how his mount was traveling ahead.

Fox said: “He was travelling nicely until it happened but hopefully he’ll be okay for another day.”

Sean Quinlan, who was brought down on Sounds Russian, said: “I was probably in top gear the whole way. His jumping was keeping him in it, but he was probably getting a little bit tired when he got brought down.”



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