Cheltenham Festival 2013: Tuesday live updates. All the winners and Zara Phillips left saying: "Don't you know who I am?"
Thousands of people enjoyed a fabulous day of racing as Cheltenham Festival got underway with a bang today.
The freezing temperatures did nothing to deter racegoers as hats, scarfs and more than a little tweed kept everyone warm against the elements.
Covers for the racecourse have now gone back on with temperatures expected to drop well below zero overnight.
The Met Office has forecast temperatures to fall to -3C (26.6F), but the mercury is expected to rise to about 4C (39.2F) before the first race tomorrow.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
A precautionary inspection of the track has been scheduled for 8am tomorrow.
Races were delayed for about 35 minutes today, after a mid-morning inspection.
Meanwhile, the cross country race, which was postponed today, has been moved to 5.15pm on Thursday.
Here is how the day unfolded:
In the last race of the day, the Rewards4Racing Novices' Handicap Chase, Rajdhani Express came home first.
Denis Coffey, 44, of Dublin, said: “I managed to win £22 on the last race. It wasn’t expected. Today has been good because I won in two races. I’ve been quite lucky and the atmosphere has been simply amazing. I really enjoy it. I’ve been coming here for the last 10 years and hope my luck picks up for the rest of the festival.”
Racing reporter Jonathan Herbert had picked The Druid's Nephew.
Zara Phillips was apparently left fuming after a security guard stopped her from entering the enclosure at Cheltenham.
According to the Daily Mail, she was left arguing with the bouncer after he failed to recognise her.
Watched by her rugby star husband Mike Tindall, who enjoyed a laugh at the situation, she was forced to explain to the guard who she was.
But after finally being allowed in, she was soon smiling again as she watched the races.
Police also reported a good first day, with only one arrest made during the day's racing.
The 20-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of theft by employee and is currently in police custody.
The only other incident reported to police was suspected counterfeit currency being used on the site, which officers are investigating.
Superintendent Neil Mantle said: “Nearly 60,000 people have passed through the Racecourse gates today and we’re pleased to report that only one arrested has been needed.
“This is thanks to not only our police officers but all the staff at the racecourse who are working together with the same aim of facilitating a safe and enjoyable festival."
Echo reporter Michael Yong is on hand with more from the racecourse.
For Irish whiskey bartender Natasha Perkins, the start of the Festival has been a busy day.
She said: “There have been lots of people from different places, like Scotland, Jersey and more. We’ve sold quite a lot of whiskey today, it’s been very popular because it’s been so cold. I think business will pick up during the week especially Thursday and Friday.
“All the customers have been very friendly and we’ve had no problems at all.”
Silver Commander Andy Cumming is in charge of the operations for the St John Ambulance Brigade this year. The 43-year-old from Gloucester has been working at the Festival since he was 16. He has moved on from being a cadet to head of operations, something he said he was very pleased with.
He added: “When I first started I was just working along the racecourse because at that time there was first aid cover on the fences. I grew up in Cheltenham Festival and come here every year. I’ve had a very interesting point of view having worked here for nearly my entire life.
“There are a lot of things to take care of to make sure everything runs smoothly. It’s great to see many familiar faces and many old friends.”
He is in charge of 36 first aid volunteers and five ambulance crews to respond to any emergencies.
He is very excited about the rest of the Festival and hopes there will be no major accidents.
He said: “It’s important to keep the crew’s morale up and to make sure they are warm enough. We’ve had no major incidents and the crew are working reasonably hard but at the same time enjoying themselves.”
Twenty-six-year-old Victoria Smith from Cheltenham has problems walking since she was young when she was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Prematurely born Victoria was in a wheelchair today as she watched the races. The young lady was with her good friend Kate Sturley also from Cheltenham, as they took in the races.
Victoria, who rides with the Cotswold RDA, said: “It’s been a good day and a good season. The Festival is probably the crown of it and I love coming here every year. I’m hoping for a good few races. I’ve been a member of the racecourse since last year.
“All the staff have been very helpful and the racecourse has been set up for disabled people quite well, except for maybe the toilets.
“I do enjoy sports and riding which are a big part of my life.”
Quevega has won the OLBG Mares' Hurdle.
Racing reporter Jonathan Herbert had picked Quevega to come home in first place.
Echo reporter Michael Yong is on hand with the latest from the racecourse.
Good friends Martin Lee, 60, from Bath and Mel Coggins, 65, from Melksham have been unlucky not to win in every single race today.
Martin said: “It has been a great atmosphere considering how cold it has been. We’ve been coming now for 20-odd years and I’m loving it as always.
“I’ve been a little bit unlucky, it’s just one of those days where sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Anyway we always come up on the first day as traditionally it’s the best day besides Gold Cup day.”
Mel said: “Unlucky today, but still great fun. All the excitement comes on the first day and I’ve enjoyed it generally.”
Sixty-six-year-old Jeff Taylor from Preston just missed out on top spot but has enjoyed it. He said: “Not a winner so far but it’s been a brilliant day and there’s nothing quite like it anywhere else. I just missed out on top spot but will be trying a few more rounds.”
HURRICANE Fly wins the fourth race of the day.
Racing reporter Jonathan Herbert had picked Rock On Ruby to cross the line first.
Report by Michael Yong, at the racecourse:
INDEPENDENT clothing company Cousins is celebrating its 30th anniversary of bringing ladies fashion to the Cheltenham Festival.
Alan Cousins, owner of the Montpellier company, said he was delighted to be one of the first to set up shop during the festival 30 years ago.
The shop stocks ladies fashion items such as tweed and handbags.
Alan, 62, who was a flat racing jockey between the ages of 16 and 30 said it was important for him to bring his shop to the festival every year.
He added: “My grandfather started the company many years ago and I took over the business after my father died.
"It has been very important for my family and to me personally to bring it to the festival.
“When my time had come and I had to leave the horse racing arena, I got involved in the business. I took it over with the help of my wife and brought it to the festival.
“Because of my racing days and my history I wanted to be one of the first here. Look at how it’s come on so far.
“The number of shops during the festival grows every year. I saw an opportunity 30 years ago. There were all of these people, some of them have come a long way just to get to Cheltenham and I wanted to do something outside the box.”
He mentioned that the town was very lucky to have the festival.
With more than 200,000 people expected at this year’s festival, Alan is expecting business in Cheltenham to pick up.
He said: “The importance of the festival to Cheltenham is immense. If every visitor spends about £10 that is a huge amount.
"Everyone does well during the festival - hotels, restaurants, taxi drivers, bed and breakfasts - everybody loves it. We are very lucky to have it here.
“We’ve had difficult times in recent years because of the recession, but we’ve worked hard and worked out the plus and minuses and I have a great team who work together to make it happen. We’ve managed to do that quite well.
“Trade has been good today and it’s been a good first day for us, although it’s a bit cold.
"We’ll be here for the rest of the festival for anyone who might need us.
“I love it here and come every year. It’s something I look forward to, having been born and brought up in Cheltenham.”
GOLDEN Chieftain wins the third race of the day, ending Jonathan Herbert's streak of picking winners.
SIMONSIG wins the second race of the day, making racing reporter Jonathan Herbert two for two with correct predictions.
GLOUCESTER Rugby star James Simpson-Daniel is one of the sporting stars at the races today.
THE final race of today, the Cross Country at 5.45pm, has apparently been cancelled.
CHAMPAGNE Fever wins the first race of the Cheltenham Festival.
Jonathan Herbert, the Echo and Citizen's racing reporter, tipped the horse to win.
ACTOR Nathaniel Parker, from the The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, is among the famous faces at the racecourse today.
Report by Michael Yong at the racecourse:
LEGENDARY jockey Lester Piggott and horse racing commentator Sir Peter O’Sullevan were at Cheltenham Racecourse today to sign copies of their books.
They proved one of the star attractions on the first day of the festival.
The pair were at the Arkle book shop in the middle of Prestbury Park to greet fans.
It was arranged by Bob Sutton, owner of Arkle book stall, from Warwick.
He said: “I am good friends with Sir Peter and he has been helping me with the book signings for the last three years and ever since Lester’s book, Lester’s Derby, has come out we have been promoting it.
“Lester normally comes on Gold Cup day but he decided to come for the first day and we are very excited to see him here.
“The reception has been brilliant and there was a lot of cameras anticipating his arrival. It is great to be part of the festival.”
TRAFFIC is now flowing smoothly on most routes around the very chilly racecourse.
Report by Michael Yong, at the racecourse:
THOUSANDS of people have flooded into the racecourse in one of the jewels of British racing.
Stalls have been set up all across the racecourse as visitors from across the country come to Cheltenham for one of the greatest sporting events.
Despite temperatures staying close to freezing, spectators have not been deterred, and the snow has now given way to blue skies.
Despite assurances from organisers that the races would go ahead, all races have been pushed back by about half an hour.
Roger Mudge, 50, from Wiltshire has been coming to the festival for the past 11 years.
He said: “I’m just hoping for a nice week and to enjoy the great atmosphere and to minimise my losses”.
Nigel Dimmer and his wife Sally, both from Cheltenham, have been involved with the racecourse for the last 30 years.
Nigel used to take care of the trophies and organise the prize giving for the racecourse.
He is excited as this is his first time back at Cheltenham Festival as a spectator.
He said: “It’s great to be back at the racecourse and see many familiar faces.
"I’ve been involved for the last 30 years and worked here for more than 35 years.
"I had no problems coming in this morning and still have many friends here.
"It’s going to be a great week for us.”
His wife Sally added: “It’s great to be back here - we’ve been here for the last 30 years and it looks like the cold has lifted a little bit.”
TRAFFIC on Princess Elizabeth Way is currently queuing between Benhall roundabout and the PC World roundabout.
On the A40, traffic is heavy but moving from the Holy Apostles church to the racecourse.
Evesham Road is busy but vehicles are moving slowly in both directions.
The south car park at the racecourse is full. Vehicles will now be directed to the north car park.
There are now no major problems on the M5.
THE south car park at the racecourse is now full. Vehicles are now being directed to the north car park.
RACE times today are now 2.05pm, 2.40pm, 3.20pm, 4pm (Champion Hurdle), 4.40pm, 5.15pm and 5.45pm
TRAFFIC is currently queuing back to the Benhall roundabout on Princess Elizabeth Way.
The A435 from Cleeve towards the Newlands Traffic lights is flowing freely.
Stationary traffic has cleared from the M5 sliproad for the moment.
TRAFFIC is stationary heading towards Cheltenham Racecourse on the M5 sliproad at junction 10.
RACING is officially on, festival bosses confirm, just before the course inspection was due to take place at 10.30am.
The first race is at 2:05pm, and there will be a further inspection of the cross country course at 2:15pm. The Cross Country race is scheduled for 5:45pm.
PUNTERS, jockeys and horses are preparing for the first day of the Cheltenham Festival, but there is still uncertainty over whether today's racing will take place.
Sections of the track are frozen, and a course inspection will take place at 10.30am.
At the moment, the going is soft (Chase & Hurdle courses), frozen in a few places under the covers, and also soft on the Cross Country course, which is frozen in a few places too.Simon Claisse, head of racing, south west region and Cheltenham's clerk of the course, said: "It was minus 12C in the wind chill just before midnight according to our weather station and it was still minus 9C at 5am.
"That enabled the frost to get under the covers a bit. 90 per cent of the course is fine but obviously we cannot clear the course as fit to race until everything is 100 per cent OK.
"The problem areas tend to be on some of the take-offs and landings, on the slightly wider ground. We have fresh ground - seven to eight yards on the inside.
"We just have to be a bit careful of a horse going a little bit wide - it is on those areas that were worn a little bit in October, November, December which are frozen"
He was asked whether problem areas like that can be by-passed if necessary.
Claisse replied: "We will look at everything that we could possibly do to ensure that the meeting goes ahead today.
"Previously, we have forked crusty areas and, if we had to, we would go around any hurdles and fences but it is not easy to make a full assessment while the covers are still on.
"We will begin to strip them at 10am. The good news is that the temperature has risen a degree or so in the air - though it might not feel it in the wind.
"The forecast is for plus one1C by 10am and plus 3C by noon if the sun comes out. If that happens, we should be OK.
"We are not running on the Cross Country Course until 4pm and again the afternoon temperatures are meant to reach plus 4C or plus 5C. That course may take a bit longer to get fit when the sun comes out but it should be all right by 4pm.
"I remain optimistic about racing going ahead but you never quite know what is happening with this weather.
"Our experiences last night were beyond anything we had ever seen before."