Cheltenham Festival 2016: Where to people-watch and be seen at the races this week

Edith Hancock
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Cheltenham Festival - St Patrick's Thursday
Rich Ricci is a regular fixture at Cheltenham (Source: Getty)

“In terms of the City, it’s huge," was the view of Peter Burrell, chief exec of jockey Frankie Dettori’s manager Seven Stars, on the topic of Cheltenham Festival when The Capitalist caught up with him last week. Ascot may have royal prestige, but the races in Gloucestershire are designed with city slickers in mind.

Whether it’s lunch at the Final Fence restaurant with bookie bosses or the after-parties in neighbouring towns, there’s always a chance to see and bee seen by the City’s racing big-guns.

The Capitalist hears that former Barclays man Rich Ricci, possibly the biggest name in racing with a banking background, will be rubbing shoulders with execs from Betfair on Wednesday. Ricci’s own thoroughbreds are racing today and Thursday, so he’ll be taking a well-earned break from watching how they perform with bated breath.

If the hospitality in the grandstand doesn’t finish you off, it’s worth trying to crash an after-party in town. Leisure group Arena, which owns fifteen UK racecourses, is having a get-together in fashionable district Montpellier after the Ladies’ Day festivities.

It must be the luck of the Irish that made Cheltenham’s celebration of St Patrick’s Day take place on the day itself this year. If live music from The Dublin Legends at the grandstand doesn’t tempt, tipsters suggest watching out for the World Hurdle and Chase races in the afternoon.

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