PicAFor the racing fan nothing quite matches the thrill and sense of expectation of the Cheltenham Festival and with only days to go the excitement and anticipation continues to build as thousands of Irish devotees prepare to descend on Prestbury Park. The Cheltenham Festival is simply the Olympics of racing (although thankfully it takes place every year), the pinnacle of the sport, the finest four days of national hunt action anywhere in the world, an experience rather than an event.

For those of us who are massive racing fans the four days of the Cheltenham Festival is the highlight of the sporting year. Judging by the huge numbers who packed into the Woodlands Hotel for last week’s Waterford preview evening there are plenty of us around.

Along with the hype and the build up to the Cheltenham Festival the phenomenon of the preview meeting continues to grow.Despite recessionary times 700 fans paid €20 a head last week (to the grateful appreciation of the benefitting charities) to listen to some very interesting debate on next week’s racing.

Last week’s preview was as much about the entertainment and craic (and there was plenty of it) as it was about finding winners.