One man’s mission to capture the Cheltenham Festival atmosphere at home

One man's mission to capture the Cheltenham Festival atmosphere at home

There might have been around 60,000 hardy souls at Cheltenham, but there are hundreds of thousands more who follow from pubs, sofas and bookies around the country. So can the Cheltenham atmosphere be recreated a hundred miles away from Cleeve Hill?

I have a sofa, I have a selection of refreshments, and I plan to find out. I also have the princely sum of £20 with which to gamble. And I am not afraid to use it.

The day begins with some diligent study of the selections from experts at Telegraph Sport; I will be employing the traditional mixture of poring over the form, selecting horses I like the look of, and the blind, clueless optimism that makes bookmaking such an enduringly profitable industry.

I fire up the television, where there is a nice early boost for ITV viewers when professional silly billy Matt Chapman attempts to hurdle one of the track rails and falls over. I feel it is sure to be a good day.

As the rain hammers down, the award-winning presenting team of Ed Chamberlin and Francesca Cumani look like they would happily swap their recent Sports Journalists’ Association gongs for a good cagoule apiece.

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