Cheltenham is one of the biggest events in racing and it’s been that way for decades. The festival’s roots stretch back to 1860 and, during that time, it has evolved significantly. The Cheltenham Gold Cup became the main attraction in 1924 and, since then, the race has captured the public’s attention.
One of the reasons it’s remained a hit in recent years is technology. Today, anyone from casual racegoers to hardcore fans can go online and access a wealth of content. Racing previews, reviews and tips are always popular when a big event like Cheltenham rolls around. These go hand-in-hand with a plethora of betting markets.
As ever, a lot of betting at Cheltenham will take place online in 2023. From specials on the number of Irish winners to race odds for runners such as Delta Work, there are betting markets galore. Where technology is significant in this context is the ease at which anyone with a computer or smartphone can access the betting markets.
Making Racing Appealing to the Masses
This means horse racing odds for Cheltenham and every other major event have to cover a variety of outcomes, such as Gordon Elliott to train 3+ winners at 7/1. Why? The ease with which people can go online and place bets means the sport is appealing to all types of people. Casual fans who place a few bets a year on major races probably only want outright win markets. Seasoned punters might want something a little more nuanced, such as a certain jockey to ride a particular number of winners.
In this regard, technology has shaped Cheltenham over the last two decades. It’s contributed to the festival’s transition from a hardcore racing event to a mainstream spectacle. The rise of online betting apps isn’t the only way tech has shaped the Cheltenham Festival. In fact, beyond the obvious innovations, such as live streams and online betting, there are some less obvious ways in which tech is improving the event. For example, as part of the racecourse’s £45 million renovation project, the new grandstand was fitted with heat pumps.
Hidden Tech is Improving the Cheltenham Experience
The decision to install Viessmann Vitocal 300-G heat pumps was based on three main factors: cost, efficiency and sustainability. The Jockey Club asked BaileyGomm Ltd to provide a cost-effective heating and cooling system for the new grandstand. As well as being cost-effective, the system needed to reduce the racecourse’s carbon footprint. Ground source heat pumps were seen as the best way to make Cheltenham a festival that offers racegoers comfortable conditions, whatever the weather. Moreover, these pumps are suitable for the sustainable age.
Another useful but, perhaps, unappreciated technological update that’s made the Cheltenham racing experience better in recent years is what3words. The global addressing technology was introduced in 2022 and allows racegoers to send someone their exact location using three unique words. Even with the venue reducing the daily cap in 2023, there will still be 68,500 people attending each day. Combine this with multiple entry points, and locating friends or grabbing a taxi isn’t easy. Therefore, even if it’s a subtle change, what3words is another example of how technology is shaping the event and making it better for fans.