The Cheltenham Festival 2015 Breaks Attendance Record

March 13, 2015

A record 248,521 spectators attended The Cheltenham Festival 2015, Cheltenham Racecourse announced today, after 68,918 people attended Gold Cup Day, up from 67,814 in 2014.

The previous record crowd for the annual four days of world-class Jump racing that make up The Festival was 237,369. This was recorded in 2012 and before Jockey Club Racecourses capped attendance capacity on Gold Cup Day as part of enhancing the customer experience on offer.

The first three days of The Festival in 2015 attracted record crowds of 63,249 (Tues), 55,859 (Weds), 60,495 (Thurs), followed by a sold out Friday of 68,918.

Ian Renton, who runs Cheltenham Racecourse as South West Regional Director for Jockey Club Racecourses, said: “We have had fantastic crowds – a record on each of the first three days and significantly up on previous years while today has been a sell-out since March 3.

“Racegoers are really happy with the changes we are making here. As part of our £45 million redevelopment, we have tried to create more space behind the main grandstands and at the same time redevelop the tented village to provide a more spacious area.

“Even with a crowd of 63,000 on the first day of The Festival, Tuesday, and nearly 61,000 yesterday (Thursday), everyone felt comfortable. The bars have worked, the queues are less and people feel it is a much easier environment to enjoy their racing.”

Feedback from the public attending each day has been excellent, Renton commented. “It has been lovely – not only have we had tremendous racing, but the reaction of the racegoers has been great. I have had literally hundreds of people coming up to say how pleased they are with the changes and how it has transformed Cheltenham.”

Among the improvements for this year have been new restaurants, additional viewing space around the paddock and a new Brightwells pavilion for owners and trainers. The new grandstand is under construction, with the ground floor being used for a temporary bar this year and the 156 toilets on the lower ground floor in use.

Renton said: “By next year’s Festival, we will have the Cheltenham Club on the top floor, which will be a wonderful facility for people to buy a year-round experience of Cheltenham. The annual boxes are largely all sold, then below that we have fantastic facilities for all categories of racegoers.

“The owners and trainers will have an area with viewing, a bar and a dining facility, and the people who were in the A&R boxes have got a facility on the same floor which will allow them viewing and tables throughout the year.

“Moving down through the stand, a there will be a great facility for annual members overlooking the course, and a new champagne bar, and finally the ground floor bar will be properly kitted out and will be a really fantastic bar for all Club racegoers. We’ll have it all in really good shape for next year.”

Paul Fisher, Group Managing Director of Jockey Club Racecourses, said: “Crowds at The Festival are often an indication of interest levels in our sport generally, so we’re absolutely delighted with the last four days on many levels. Ian and his team deserve huge credit; on his watch The Festival is reaching new heights in popularity and that bodes well for Jump racing as a whole.

“And as Cheltenham is part of The Jockey Club, every penny of profit made will get reinvested back into the sport. It’s been a fantastic four days.”