Timothy Barber
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ONE of the City’s great hospitality jamborees, the Cheltenham Festival, kicks off in just under a month. It’s centenary year for the festival this time round, but you don’t have to be in Cheltenham – or squashed round a telly in the pub on your lunch break – to enjoy the action.

On 15 March, the first day of the festival, one of the City’s grander dining rooms, Green’s Restaurant on Cornhill, is going to be converted into the Square Mile’s own corner of the famous racecourse for a lunch reception called Cheltenham in the City.

Owner Simon Parker Bowles will be laying on a gourmet meal for 200 people, with each table of ten going for £1,750. As well as sumptuous dining, guests will be able to enjoy the racing action with screens providing live streaming of the races, while getting into the betting spirit thanks to a tote betting process on each race run by Ladbrokes. Guests can buy tickets for selected horses and the money goes into the pot for the race, to be paid out to lucky winners afterwards.

The day’s not just about winning however – the proceeds from the lunch will be going to Great Ormond Street Hospital children’s charity as part of a fund raising initiative between the hospital and the gaming industry, titled Raising the Stakes. Chaired by Ladbrokes CEO Richard Glynn and involving several high-level players int he industry, the aim is to raise £500,000 to fund a four bed high dependency bay in the hospital’s cardiac critical care unit.

Tuesday 15 March, 12pm-6pm, Green’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar, 14 Cornhill, EC3V 3ND. For more information and to purchase tables please contact Rebecca Hannawin on 020 7239 3174 or email Rebecca.hannawin@gosh.org


WHERE Ascot is as much about the spectacle and the fashion as it is about charging nags, at Cheltenham the racing is centre stage. The Festival is the premier jump racing event, meaning longer, harder races from the most famous names in the sport.

Kauto Star, Denman and Imperial Commander are the heroes contending this year’s epic Gold Cup on the final day. But first time attendees might want to head to the earlier days when there are a few less people to fight one’s way through – tickets are available on entrance as well as in advance.

Tweed is out in force at Cheltenham but there’s no need to dress up too much – jeans are fine, though prizes are nevertheless dished out for the best-dressed women on Ladies’ Day. However, bear in mind that Cheltenham in March is rather colder than Ascot in June, so bring a coat.

Races start at 1.30pm each day, though gates open at 10.30 – if you’re driving, arrive as early as possible to avoid a queue. There are seven races a day, and you won’t want to miss a moment.

The festival runs 15-18 March.