This time two weeks we will be sitting in our arm chairs /punters dens digesting day one of the Cheltenham festival.
Will Willie Mullins dominate day 1 once again? Will Altior have racing fans frothing at the mouth with a spectacular Arkle round of jumping? Or will the new generation of David Mullins/Jack Kennedy have got on the board to bag their 1st ever festival winner?
Cheltenham is the Olympics of horse racing and over the next two weeks racing fans will attend preview nights to discuss, speculate and indeed help select their NAP’s for the festival 2017.
Where are the best preview nights in Ireland?
Ladbrokes Cheltenham preview night Woodlands hotel 7:30pm Thursday 2nd March – Waterford City, tickets on the door €20.
This one looks like the stand out event. There is serious depth to this panel, the headline personality will be ex U.K champion jockey and Channel 4 pundit John Francome. This will be in fact Francome’s sole Irish preview night appearance of 2017.
The panel covers all angles from Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott’s powerhouses aswel the whole Gigginstown operation with guests such as David Casey , Katie Walsh & young gun Jack Kennedy.
Henry De Bromhead sends arguably his strongest team yet to a Cheltenham festival, headed by leading Irish Champion Hurdle hope Petit Mouchoir. Henry will make up the panel adding a local voice on the night.
If you can at all, book the Friday off work, this one looks like it will be well worth it. The Woodlands hotel is booked up but the Tower hotel and leisure centre looks a decent option if you want to make a night of it and rooms are going for 60 euro including the breakfast.
Paddy Power sponsored in Aid of Down Syndrome Ireland Trim Castle hotel 7pm Sunday 5th March – Trim Co. Meath, tickets €20.
Star presenter Matt Chapman is sure to make this an entertaining night, he always does. The panel doesn’t quite cover the angle’s that Woodlands preview might, but never the less it’s still an exciting looking line up.
Gordon Elliott leads the Irish trainer’s championship and being a Trim local himself he’s sure to be on his best behaviour on Sunday. Also on the panel is ATR tipster Gary O’Brien nicknamed “The Voice” he’s always worth a listen, anybody who follows his tipping column on At The Races will know Gary’s knowledge of the game.
Former champion jockey Davy Russell makes up the list. Davy has been known to tip up some decent priced handicapped winners at these preview nights along with an annual whinge about the Triumph hurdle.
THE FINAL FURLONG Cheltenham preview night. Goat pub Dublin. Monday 6th March – Tickets sold out live stream facebook.com/attheraces.
Tickets have sold out for this one unfortunately but you can stream it live on facebook.com/attheraces . The Final Furlong podcast team are a breath of fresh air.
Every Wednesday night for the last three seasons I look forward to hearing the podcast team of Emmet Kennedy, Kevin Blake, Rory Delargy, Tony Keenan and Vanessa Ryle as they catch up on the week in racing constantly building towards a crescendo that is Cheltenham.
An infamous moment from the podcast team was the constant tipping of Don Poli for the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup, so they are out to redeem themselves. All in all they do a bring great debate across all levels of racing discussing weekend action, Cheltenham ante-post and deeper issues such as bookmaker rule 4 manipulation, closing of race tracks etc.
If you’re a racing fan and you have been too busy to watch racing over the weekend or you were working, the Final Furlong is a great way to catch up briefly on the world of racing, keep in touch or build a tracker.
On the night itself expect winners to be tipped and the banter to be flying. Kevin Blake is a journalist well worth following and for any racing fans that haven’t listened to this podcast or follow them on Twitter I’d strongly recommend The Final Furlong.
By Barry Doyle 21:04 – 28/02/2017