Belfast Telegraph

Cheltenham festival gets underway this afternoon

Thousands of Irish punters are set to descend on Cheltenham today for the start of the annual four-day racing festival.

Travel firms say the numbers heading to the festival are down on previous years, but Irish racegoers are still expected to make up around one-quarter of the crowd.

The action begins at 1.30pm today, with the feature Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle going to post at 3.20pm.

Four previous winners, three of them from Ireland, are among the field for the race, with Binocular and Tony McCory the short-price favourite.

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