The black legend

The black legend

The black legend of thoroughbreds

A cuppa in Cheltenham is almost an act of faith this week. First, because you have to prepare your wallet, as in any posh retreat that boasts chic. And second, because you have to open hollow elbowed on the terraces. This city WestEnglandIt is in high season although these days the thermometer does not rise eight degrees and the sun have to look closely. Since Tuesday, celebrates its biggest annual event, horse racing.

Some history

1911 is the date official the first race of the Cheltenham Festival as we know it today.

Against all odds. The appointment is a classic of the horse racing calendar. Only it has been suspended five times: in 1931 by ice in 1937 by floods in 1943 and 1944 by the Second World War and in 2001 by FMD.

The event, which takes place since 1911, brings together the ‘jet set’ of the country in a charming and elegantJockey Club racecourse who runs the largest British charity race horses. But there is not only talk about horses, too, or rather, above all, talking about money. “It is everywhere where you look,” describes Greg Wood, the specialist newspaper ‘The Guardian’ in this sport. The racecourse becomes something like a bag where tickets change hands as easily as the ‘jockeys’ ride and descabalgan, the bartender serving pints of Guinness He will consume about 265,000 this year and waiters spread potato dishes and smoked salmon. It is estimated that nine five tons of each of these products, respectively devour these four days. Businesses should be whet the appetite of the English.

The cause of so much concern about the portfolio bets. Last year they played in Cheltenham about 190 million euros. And that winning is not easy. In the stands of the racecourse “have forged many fortunes, but have lost many more,” Wood continues. The reason? The huge competitive racing. Although not attract big international openwork blocks beyond Ireland, France and Germany, the festival five million distributed among the winners of each competition (there are about thirty). Anyone who is on the block a thoroughbred with a minimum chance to do something it takes … if it sounds the flute. Of this total amount in prizes, half a million is allocated exclusively to the winner of the Gold Cup, the big race, which is always held the last day.

The picture of men and women hand notes celebrating the victory of a horse, or llorándola, is almost as classic as the victorious horse with laurel wreath around his neck … Or that of a wounded animal on the track. Behind Cheltenham there is also a dark legend that grows year after year. “It’s a graveyard for horses,” summarizes Dene Stansall, spokesman for the Animal Aid Association.

Lady and the ruffian

In the past 15 years, on the slopes of this Racecourse Gloucestershire he has died fifty animals. On the opening day of this year, the statistical black added three more bodies: those of The Govaness, a beautiful mare seven years he could not jump the last hurdle despite being well placed, Pont Alexandre, who broke a leg and he had to be sacrificed, and Rezorbi, who was badly wounded in a competition for beginners. However, these numbers are far from those recorded in 2006. That year, eleven horses, six of them on the same day, March 16, a tragedy died. “I do not want to deal with this situation,” the members of Animal Aid lament, very belligerent with the British Horseracing Authority (BHA).