Cheltenham Festival RACING

Cheltenham Festival horse owner lauds atmosphere at Prestbury Park and issues advice to racegoers

Cheltenham Festival horse owner Len Jakeman believes the festival has “improved considerably” for keepers as this year’s event reaches a climax on its third day.

Jakeman, who resides in Upton upon Severn, took horse Tea for Two to the famous festival four times, seeing mixed success in Gloucestershire.

Now one of the racecourse’s annual members, the 66-year-old regularly attends the greatest show on turf and has returned this year.

“Racing is very much my passion,” Jakeman explained.

“The sport is where I’ve found lots of joy and I’ve spent a lot of time there.

“I’ve had a second, a third, and a fourth at the festival, but never a winner.

“For a little owner, the money I actually spent on him [Tea for Two], compared to others – he was the horse of a lifetime.”

Jakeman also believes that despite the dwindling attendances at the four-day competition, the owner’s section has upgraded from his early days in the Tattersalls Pavilion.

“The owner’s part of Cheltenham has improved considerably.

“About 10 years ago, if you had a runner in the big races you’d be treated very well in the owners section.

“If you had a runner in the handicap races, it was very much crack on and enjoy yourself but we don’t want to know you.

“Cheltenham has improved considerably for owners and it looks after its owners.

“Everyone always talks about the lunch and how great it was, but if your horse finishes last it can be quite an expensive lunch.

“When you’re in the owner’s part, it’s great because you’ve got someone to cheer for all of the time.

“I’ve been as both and the members’ section I watch from now is far better than the non-members’ part.”

The Upton resident also insists that the magic of the festival is still very much alive, as he looks forward to mingling with the great and good of the horse racing landscape.

“The atmosphere is fantastic, because I stand in the same place I get to know lots of random people.

“It’s great going because I know I’ll meet people from Yorkshire, London, South Wales, the West Country too.

“You tend to find people alike you, so the people around you don’t necessarily want to focus on the drinking – more so the races.

“I like a drink but certainly not at the races, if you go for a drink, chances are you’ll miss the race.

“I’ll have a few bets but I’m not much of a gambler, maybe not 20 years ago, I’d have bet more.

“The two bits of advice I’d give to someone going to Cheltenham, is always remember to find a place to meet up and remember to have fun.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *