Cheltenham 2022: Punters accuse organisers of ‘daylight robbery’ after being charged £7 for Guinness

Cheltenham 2022: Punters accuse organisers of 'daylight robbery' after being charged £7 for Guinness 2
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Furious Cheltenham racegoers have slammed ‘p***-take’ alcohol prices at this year’s Gloucestershire festival, with revellers complaining of £7 pints of Guinness and £14 Irish coffees.

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Visitors to the famous racecourse have been left in shock after being charged ‘eye-watering’ sums for booze at the four-day festival, including £8.50 for wine in plastic cups and £14 for a double gin and tonic.

According to social media posts showing a drinks menu at Cheltenham, Guinness, 500ml of Doom Bar bitter, and Aspalls cider cost £7, while bottles of ‘house champagne’ will set back revellers a whopping £65.

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Punters have now accused organisers of ‘daylight robbery’ over the sums – numbers likely to fuel despair among revellers who will hope to win big if they want to enjoy a couple of drinks.

This morning, horse racing enthusiasts queued in the rain to get inside, with 250,000 fans set to descend on the track over the course of the four-day festival in a return to pre-Covid normality.

A Cheltenham Racecourse spokesperson said: ‘We work hard to absorb inflationary costs wherever we can. However, current inflation rises in relation to goods and labour have led to an increase in prices for some of the items we serve. Despite this our prices are comparable to other major events, with all our profits reinvested back into British Horseracing.’

Police also responded to four incidents at Cheltenham Racecourse, including two reports of assault and two reports of pick pocketing. 

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Furious Cheltenham racegoers have slammed ‘p***-take’ alcohol prices at this year’s Gloucestershire festival, with revellers complaining of £7 pints of Guinness and £14 Irish coffees

Furious Cheltenham racegoers have slammed ‘p***-take’ alcohol prices at this year’s Gloucestershire festival, with revellers complaining of £7 pints of Guinness and £14 Irish coffees

According to social media posts showing a drinks menu at Cheltenham, Guinness, 500ml of Doom Bar bitter, and Aspalls cider cost £7, while bottles of ‘house champagne’ will set back revellers a whopping £65

According to social media posts showing a drinks menu at Cheltenham, Guinness, 500ml of Doom Bar bitter, and Aspalls cider cost £7, while bottles of ‘house champagne’ will set back revellers a whopping £65

Visitors to the famous racecourse have been left in shock after being charged ‘eye-watering’ sums for booze at the four-day festival, including £8.50 for wine in plastic cups and £14 for a double gin and tonic

Visitors to the famous racecourse have been left in shock after being charged ‘eye-watering’ sums for booze at the four-day festival, including £8.50 for wine in plastic cups and £14 for a double gin and tonic

Racegoers arrive in the rain during day two of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse

Racegoers arrive in the rain during day two of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse

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Race Fans spotted on day two of the Cheltenham festival in Cheltenham, March 16, 2022

Race Fans spotted on day two of the Cheltenham festival in Cheltenham, March 16, 2022

Racegoers take shelter under umbrellas as they queue ahead of entry on day two of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse

Racegoers take shelter under umbrellas as they queue ahead of entry on day two of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse

Racegoers take shelter under umbrellas at the queue ahead of entry on day two of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse

Racegoers take shelter under umbrellas at the queue ahead of entry on day two of the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse

Racegoers queue ahead of entry on day two of the Cheltenham Festival

Racegoers queue ahead of entry on day two of the Cheltenham Festival

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In a statement, Gloucestershire Constabulary said: ‘Police responded to two reports of assaults within the grounds of Cheltenham Racecourse during the afternoon. The first was reported by the parade ring at 4.40pm and it was stated that a man had been punched in the face. He was offered medical treatment but did not accept.

‘The second assault was reported in the taxi rank at 6.30pm. It was stated that a man had been punched in an altercation. He sustained head and facial injuries and was taken to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital for treatment.

‘Enquiries are ongoing into both assaults and no arrests have been made at this stage.

‘Police also attended two reports of pick pocketing within the betting areas on the main grandstand. It was reported that one person had £700 in cash stolen from them, and a second had £1,000 taken.

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Why was Cheltenham 2020 accused of being a super-spreader event? 

Cheltenham was given the green light to open to fans in March 2020 despite calls to postpone the event due to the emergence of Covid-19.

At the time Italy was already in lockdown, while mass gatherings were banned in England three days later.

More than 60,000 fans a day were packed into the stands, bars, toilets and queues for the food vans with little protection apart from some hand sanitiser stations dotted around the racetrack. 

Meanwhile, one fan claimed fans were ‘packed in like sardines’ during the four day festival. 

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While organisers stressed the event followed guidelines at the time, the festival came in for criticism, including from Sir David King, the government’s chief scientific adviser from 2000 to 2007, who said it was ‘the best possible way to accelerate the spread of the virus’.

A report by MPs later linked 41 Covid deaths to Cheltenham, and a further 37 to the decision to stage Liverpool’s Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid in March 2020.

MPs said that it was not clear if the deaths were a direct result of being at the events themselves, or whether they came from associated activities like travelling or people congregating in pubs.

‘It is believed they were targeted after collecting winnings and enquiries are ongoing to identify those responsible.’

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Cheltenham was one of the last major sporting events to be held with spectators before the Covid lockdown in March 2020.

And it was accused of being a super-spreader, with Camilla’s ex-husband Andrew Parker Bowles, comedian Lee Mack and footballer Charlie Austin among those to catch the virus two years ago.

With the country under tight Covid restrictions, last year’s event was held behind closed doors. 

And so there has been much anticipation for this year’s four-day festival – the first to be held in front of fans in two years.

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It comes as the Duchess of Cornwall dramatically cancelled a visit to Cheltenham after recovering from Covid.

Camilla was due to present the trophy to the winning owner, jockey and trainer of the Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase on day two of the popular Gloucestershire race on Wednesday.

The duchess has recently recovered from a bout of the virus but has been left with a slight cough and it is understood she is pacing herself after her illness.

On Tuesday she visited the Irish Cultural Centre in west London with the Prince of Wales and the couple celebrated Irish culture ahead of St Patrick’s Day.

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But she cancelled an appearance at an evening event on Monday, when she was due to meet High Commissioners and Commonwealth Secretariat staff with Charles. They both attended the Commonwealth Day service earlier in the day.

Clarence House confirmed the duchess would not be attending the Cheltenham Festival but declined to comment further.

Last week, the duchess revealed she has been left with a slight cough in the aftermath of the virus.

When she met a group of record-breaking charity rowers at Clarence House, she told them: ‘Well, it’s taken me three weeks and I still can’t get shot of it. Probably my voice might suddenly go coughing and spluttering.’

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The festival, first run in 1860, has grown to become the biggest four days of the jumps season.

Held at Cheltenham Racecourse in Gloucestershire, the event regularly welcomes more than 250,000 people each year. It features a series of ‘Championship’ races, which decide who are the best horses of the year.

The main races are the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday, the Champion Chase on Wednesday, Thursday’s Stayers’ Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.

Despite rising Covid cases in March 2020, and calls to cancel the festival, the event was given to the green-light to go-ahead.

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Glamorous female racegoers didn't let the rainy weather conditions stop them from putting their best fashion foot forward as they arrived for Ladies' Day

Glamorous female racegoers didn’t let the rainy weather conditions stop them from putting their best fashion foot forward as they arrived for Ladies’ Day

Lovely bubbly! A group of women show off their glasses filled with champagne as they enjoy a drink at the races today

Lovely bubbly! A group of women show off their glasses filled with champagne as they enjoy a drink at the races today 

Forget umbrellas! Some racegoers relied on their hats and coats to keep themselves dry during the second day of racing action

That's one option: A woman used her coat to keep her locks dry

Forget umbrellas! Some racegoers relied on their hats and coats to keep themselves dry during the second day of racing action

Here come the boys! A group of men all wearing a similar outfit of navy trousers and check shirts arrive at the festival

Here come the boys! A group of men all wearing a similar outfit of navy trousers and check shirts arrive at the festival

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Wrapping up warm: Not every racegoer opted for a flimsy get up, with some choosing to stay warm and dry instead thanks to coats and umbrellas

Prepared: A woman arrives with an umbrella and a coat to combat the chilly weather

Wrapping up warm: Not every racegoer opted for a flimsy get up, with some choosing to stay warm and dry instead thanks to coats and umbrellas

Fur and prints! These friends made sure their outfits complemented one another by sporting similar prints and boots

Fur and prints! These friends made sure their outfits complemented one another by sporting similar prints and boots

Luckily, most revellers had come prepared with umbrellas, turning the racecourse into a sea of different colours as the brollies were unfurled

Luckily, most revellers had come prepared with umbrellas, turning the racecourse into a sea of different colours as the brollies were unfurled

At the time Italy was already in lockdown, while mass gatherings were banned in England three days later.

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More than 60,000 fans a day were packed into the stands, bars, toilets and queues for the food vans with little protection apart from some hand sanitiser stations dotted around the racetrack.

Meanwhile, one fan claimed fans were ‘packed in like sardines’ during the four day festival.

While organisers stressed the event followed guidelines at the time, the festival came in for criticism, including from Sir David King, the government’s chief scientific adviser from 2000 to 2007, who said it was ‘the best possible way to accelerate the spread of the virus’.

A report by MPs later linked 41 Covid deaths to Cheltenham, and a further 37 to the decision to stage Liverpool’s Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid in March 2020.

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MPs said that it was not clear if the deaths were a direct result of being at the events themselves, or whether they came from associated activities like travelling or people congregating in pubs.

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