The opening day of The November Meeting at the world-famous Cheltenham Racecourse (15 November) will be Countryside Day again this year – with a fabulous day of racing, countryside attractions and shopping on the card.
But this year’s event will be even more special as some of the country’s top riders will be there, raising vital funds to make sure the British Equestrian teams get to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. And some have even agreed to cook dinners and open their yards to visitors in money-can’t-buy auction lots!
Cheltenham Countryside Day is a firm favourite in the sporting calendar, with a full card of National Hunt racing, complemented by hounds, ferrets, gun dogs and fabulous shopping. Gates open at 10.40am and the first of six high-quality races is at 12.40pm, with the feature event being the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase over the twists and turns of Cheltenham’s unique cross-country course.
Some of the UK’s biggest equine names will parade at Cheltenham – including Nick Skelton’s double Olympic gold-winning ride Big Star, Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin’s incomparable twice gold-winner Valegro and William Fox-Pitt’s Rio ride and Badminton winner Chilli Morning.
And top riders will give demonstrations, still to be confirmed.
The big fundraiser will be the silent auction - which runs online from 26 October and boasts some amazing lots. Final bids will be taken on the day.
From the opportunity to spend a morning with Carl Hester and Charlotte Dujardin at their yard, to an exclusive tour of the Royal Mews or dinner cooked and served by William and Alice Fox Pitt, Ben Maher and Spencer Wilton, there’s something for every horse sport fan.
There will also be plenty of opportunity to steal a march on your Christmas shopping in the Cheltenham Shopping Village, where stalls will be selling everything from clothing and country sports equipment, to fine art, sculpture and jewellery.
Alliance members can take advantage of an exclusive members-only area beside the shopping village, where refreshments will be available to purchase and there will be plenty of seating and a shop and drop area.
Organiser Sara Rutherford said: “Cheltenham Countryside Day has been a day not to be missed for more than two decades, however this year is even more important as we aim to raise as much as we can towards the British Equestrian Team Tokyo2020’s £250,000 fundraising target.”
And Ian Renton, regional director for The Jockey Club, South-West, said: “Our Countryside Raceday is hugely popular and we are all really proud of how much we raise for charity each year. This year there will be a real incentive to boost the funds for the British Equestrian Olympic hopes and I am sure that everyone will be hugely supportive. We have lots of exciting things planned for the day and I expect the crowd to number well over 20,000.”
For details of the Countryside Alliance members' area and FREE tickets for Countryside Alliance Gold Members, please click here.