Will we have a five-day Cheltenham Festival? Nicky Henderson has his say 🗣

Sandown - Nicky Henderson

There will be a Zoom call next week and on that call, people in the industry will be discussing the possibility of a five-day Cheltenham Festival. It seems at this stage that it is hugely likely to happen no matter what the consequences are for racing.

Many proper horse racing traditionalists would rather see a three-day festival again, never mind keeping it at four. So, to many, a five-day Cheltenham Festival is simply unfathomable.

Interestingly, Nicky Henderson, who has a reputation of going against the curve, has had his say.

Nicky Henderson has his say

Henderson said: “I’ve always been in favour of it and everyone knows I have been. I’m on Zoom with the people who are doing the research for it next week.

“I feel there’s room for it as you’ll only have two extra races and let’s face it, racing’s finances need all the help they can get. It’s the four biggest days of the whole year and one of the few things that makes the sport any money, so why not?”

Royal Ascot, who introduced a fifth day in 2002, enhanced the meeting’s profile according to the Seven Barrows handler and he is firmly in favour of doing the same at Cheltenham.

“It was an outstanding success,” he added. “Racing on a Saturday means a whole lot of people can then go who can’t get the time off during the week.

“You might get a completely different crowd at Cheltenham, and maybe a younger one as well, that’s what happened at Ascot.

“I suppose the big question will be whether to put the Gold Cup on Friday or Saturday. That’ll be a big issue. I don’t really mind myself. You will need a five-star race on the Saturday, though, it needs to be as good as every other day.”

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