England cricketer Jonny Bairstow reveals what Cheltenham means to him

FESTIVAL FEVER: England cricketer and racing fan Jonny Bairstow reveals what Cheltenham means to him, his favourite race of the week and his banker bet

  • Jonny Bairstow is a World Cup-winning cricketer but is also a huge racing fan
  • Bairstow has revealed what the Cheltenham Festival means to him personally
  • Click here for the latest Cheltenham Festival news, schedule and race results

England World Cup winner Jonny Bairstow will be taking in all the action at Cheltenham this week.

The 33-year-old has become a fixture in England’s side over the past decade, but will be focusing on the race track over the next few days. Here he reveals what the iconic festival means to him, his favourite race of the four-day event and his banker bet.

What does Cheltenham mean to you?

It’s simply a sporting spectacle like no other. It’s very special to me and so many people. It brings thousands from Ireland to England and so many people from all over the country to the town of Cheltenham. I love it.

What is your best memory of the Festival and which winner did you celebrate the most?

My favourite memory is when Sprinter Sacre won the 2013 Champion Chase. I was in the winner’s enclosure and pre-parade ring, which made it very special. 

Jonny Bairstow has been to Cheltenham before and insists he will be there again this year

Bairstow enjoyed watching Rachael Blackmore ride Honeysuckle to glory back in 2021

But my favourite winner was when Lord Windermere won the Gold Cup in 2014. It was two lengths off the back with a lap to go and I thought it was finished but it came through to win at 20-1!

Which is your favourite race of the four days?

That’s not easy! I like them all. I’ll always remember the Champion Hurdle when Rachael Blackmore won on Honeysuckle in 2021, even though it was behind closed doors. She had an amazing Festival that year and inspired so many women to get into racing. It was awesome.

Will you be going? If not, where will you be watching?

Cricket usually scuppers me getting there but my recovery from injury is going well and I’m going to get there this year. I’ll be down there at some point!

Your banker bet for the week?

Back On The Lash in the Cross Country on Wednesday! It’s owned by a friend of mine and won last time out. And it’s just such a brilliant name!

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