Cheltenham Festival under way in front of empty stands in stark contrast to 2020

PA Sport Staff
·1-min read

The Cheltenham Festival got under way on Tuesday without the vast crowds who usually attend the biggest racing event of the year.

The coronavirus pandemic was just beginning to take hold when the blue-riband meeting took place 12 months ago.

This year the stands are empty, in line with the Government’s Covid-19 restrictions.

Here, the PA news agency looks at what a difference a year makes at the Festival.

Cheltenham Festival 2021 – Day One – Cheltenham Racecourse
The backdrop to the Festival is in stark contrast to last year (PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2020 – Gold Cup Day – Cheltenham Racecourse
The parade ring is normally buzzing before a race (Tim Goode/PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2021 – Day One – Cheltenham Racecourse
The 2021 version is eerily quiet (Tim Goode/PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2020 – Gold Cup Day – Cheltenham Racecourse
Winning horses and jockeys are usually cheered to the rafters (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2021 – Day One – Cheltenham Racecourse
This year the reception is very different (Tim Goode/PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2020 – Gold Cup Day – Cheltenham Racecourse
The grandstands were packed out by racegoers last year (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2021 – Day One – Cheltenham Racecourse
Now just trainers, their teams and other essential participants occupy the seats (Tim Goode/PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2020 – Ladies Day – Cheltenham Racecourse
On-course bookmakers usually enjoy their busiest week of the year (Tim Goode/PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2021 – Day One – Cheltenham Racecourse
This year the bookies’ stalls are deserted (Tim Goode/PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2020 – Gold Cup Day – Cheltenham Racecourse
The Guinness Village is always a popular hang-out (Tim Goode/PA)
Cheltenham Festival Gallops – March 15th
Now it is unrecognisable from last year (David Davies/PA)
Cheltenham Festival 2021 – Day One – Cheltenham Racecourse
The home straight, 12 months ago and now (PA)