But from my point of view, purely as an avid racing fan, I enjoy the fact that Cheltenham is elitist and the be all and end all for most, that the season builds to one almighty climax and that as a result you can tune in to the four days of The Festival safe in the knowledge that you are seeing the best of the best available at that time and what you’re viewing is someone’s dream unfolding, crashing out or coming true right in front of you.
The Cheltenham Festival should be for the equine elite, it should be a Championship week because it then gives us a narrative for the whole season, something to string each piece of the jigsaw together with, a way to tell and (more importantly) sell the story of the jump racing season to a wider audience.
The Festival is the first of three big jump racing meeting in the spring – it is closely followed by the Aintree National Meeting and then a few weeks later we have the marathon that is the Punchestown Festival too. There are Grade One races to be won there as well as big handicaps and top prize money. By the big guns targeting Cheltenham so heavily I actually believe it gives smaller trainers a chance to get their hands on great prizes elsewhere.