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Friday, February 19, 2010



LET BATTLE COMMENCE: CHELTENHAM RACECOURSE LAYS DOWN THE ONLINE GAUNTLET




Cheltenham Racecourse is celebrating involving over 5,400 fans so far on its Facebook Page with an interactive project that encourages people to pick sides in the hottest debate in Jump racing.

Champion racehorses Kauto Star and Denman are the front-runners for this year’s £475,000 totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup in what is the most eagerly-awaited clash in years.

Kauto Star, looking to retain his 2009 title, is odds-on favourite to claim the prize again. Denman drifted in the betting for the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup and is now 11/4 with totesport after unseating Tony McCoy at Newbury on Saturday, but his convincing win in the Hennessy Gold Cup in November and his excellent record at Cheltenham (four wins, two seconds) point to a stunning renewal of the Gold Cup on Friday, March 19.

“Although, of course, nothing is ever certain when it comes to the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup, the outstanding quality of both these horses will make for a special race,” said Cheltenham Racecourse Sales Manager Craig Staddon. “The rivalry means there is a great opportunity for debate among race fans, and we want our Facebook page to be the place where people make a stand and commit to Kauto Star or Denman”

Cheltenham Racecourse has published images of the two champions, stating ‘I’m in Team Kauto’ and ‘I’m in Team Denman’. Fans are encouraged to tag themselves on the picture of their chosen horse and change their profile pictures to show their support.


One lucky fan will be rewarded for choosing correctly with a picture of the winning horse signed by the jockey. Those who get involved will also be given opportunities to win scarves in their chosen horse’s colours, along with loads of other Cheltenham merchandise in the run-up to The Festival.


Kauto Star is trying to join four horses who have won the Cheltenham Gold Cup three times - Best Mate, Arkle, Cottage Rake and Golden Miller - and last year he claimed a place in racing history by being the first horse to regain the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup, having first won it in 2007.


He then finished second to Denman in 2008 before gaining revenge over his stable companion last year.


Both horses are trained by Paul Nicholls and this year is showdown time. A media visit to Paul Nicholls’ stables in Somerset is being organised by Cheltenham Racecourse next week.


The huge level of interest in this year’s totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup can be gauged by the fact that the Best Mate and Tattersalls Enclosures have both sold out already for Friday, March 19, leaving space only in the Club Enclosure. There are tickets available for all enclosures on the other three days of The Festival - Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, March 16, 17 & 18 - www.cheltenham.co.uk

“Kauto Star is one of the best chasers we’ve seen in decades,” said Dave Bushnell, one of the 5,415 Facebook fans, “But Denman is ‘the Tank’! It is brilliant for the sport to see these two champions go head to head in the biggest race of the year next month.”

The Cheltenham Racecourse Official Facebook page has been active since October, 2009, and allows a community of racegoers and race fans to discuss their passion for the sport of Jump racing and Cheltenham.

It also acts as an up-to-the-minute hub for course information and offers exclusive discounts and competitions to subscribed fans.

Here are some facts about the page:

• 55% of fans are male and 45% are female. This is a slight shift compared to active racegoers, of whom 60% are male (source).


• The largest group is males aged 25-34 (19%).


• The city with the highest number of fans is Dublin.


• Most fans live in Britain or Ireland, but the page is visited by racing fans from all over the world including Norway, India and South Africa.


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