Bookmakers across Derbyshire are gearing up for what is set to be one of the busiest days of the horse racing calender as the world famous Cheltenham Festival gets underway this afternoon.
With thousands of people expected at the West Country racecourse and even more betting from home over the next four days bookmakers across the county can expect increased business as racing fever hits with a staggering £6billion expected to be wagered across the festival’s 28 races.
Today will feature what is arguably the most important hurdle race of the festival and the season as a whole, the Stan James Champion Hurdle which takes place at 3.20pm this afternoon with horses Hurricane Fly and My Tent or Yours hot favourites for a first placed finish.
Bookmakers across Derbyshire have been preparing for what will undoubtedly be a manic afternoon as a high volume of excited punters are expected to flock to stores.
A Ladbrokes spokesperson said: “Shops across the country are gearing for an absolutely huge day today.
“We’ve had to draft in extra staff to deal with the increased number of customers we’re expecting, as well as stocking up on drinks, snacks and balloons to create a festival atmosphere.
“We like to go the extra mile on days like today as we know we’ll have plenty of customers who are coming in for the first time and we want to make them feel welcome.
“Bookmakers across Derbyshire will be doing their upmost to make sure their stores are the next best place to be during the races other than Cheltenham itself.”
The first race of the day will be the Surpreme Novices’ Hurdle which takes place at 1.30pm with six races to follow until 5:15pm this evening.