Cheltenham Festival confessions: Paddy’s new poll lifts the lid on UK & Irish racegoer secrets

Paddy's poll exposes punter's trackside traits ahead of a mega Cheltenham Festival week.

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Faking a fondness for bubbly, flashing cash, wearing tweed, and rocking a flat cap.

These are among some of the top confessions from racegoers revealed in a poll commissioned by Paddy Power which sheds light on punters habits once they hit the racetrack. 

The bookmaker carried out a survey of 1000 horse racing fans, split equally across the UK and Ireland, ahead of the Cheltenham Festival. All were quizzed about the things they do while attending a race meeting that they wouldn’t normally do in their everyday lives. 

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According to the poll almost 19% of Irish punters admitted that, while they wouldn’t touch the stuff under normal circumstances, they regularly swig prosecco or champagne when they go racing. A higher number (23%) of UK respondents confessed to faking a fondness for bubbles.

And that’s not all…

  • Irish punters are just as likely as their UK counterparts to channel their inner Peaky Blinder and wear tweed
  • Irish punters consider the jockey first, then horses name, it’s appearance, followed by number and colour of jockeys silks when making selections    
  • UK punters prefer to look to the horses name over the jockey when picking a horse, followed by how the horse looks, colour of silks and number of the horse

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In fact, faking a fancy for fizz was the most popular answer by punters across the pond when asked what they do at racing that they don’t normally do in their day-to-day life. While the most popular answer in Ireland was that they’re more likely to carry cash instead of a card (30%) – just 19% of British racing fans said the same.

Back home, more than one in ten (11%) Irish punters sup pints of the black stuff, when normally they wouldn’t opt for Guinness in their local boozer. Over in the UK, almost double that number (19%) of racegoers said they put away pints of the creamy brew when they head to a meeting.

13% of home-bred racing fans said they wear a flat cap to the races, with 16% in the UK doing the same.

And while the Peaky Blinders inspired trend may be mostly associated with UK racing attendees, it turns out that both Irish and UK punters sit at level pegging (8%) when it comes to embarrassing their mates and donning tweed at the track. 

Irish and UK Punters are at odds in how they make their selections

When it comes to the serious subject of betting, the poll revealed that outside of the form, Irish and UK punters lean in very different directions when it comes to making their selections.

Half of UK punters (50%) make their selection based on the name of a horse.

And just 21% say they’ll pick one being ridden by a jockey familiar to them.

11% said are swayed by the appearance of a horse, with 10% basing their pick on the colour of the jockeys silks, and only 8% picking by the number. 

While, the bulk of Irish punters (41%) opt to rely on their knowledge of a well-known jockey, they were split on the best way to make a choice with 38% saying they’ll go on the name of a horse. Just 8% will go on how the horse looks, with the number of the horse (7%) and the colour of the jockeys silks (6%) bringing up the rear.

Top 5 things Irish punters do when they hit the track but don’t do at home

  1. Carry cash instead of card (30%)
  2. Drink prosecco/champagne (19%)
  3. Wear a flat cap (13%)
  4. Drink Guinness (11%)
  5. Wear tweed (8%)

Top 5 things UK punters do when they hit the track but don’t do at home

  1. Drink prosecco/champagne (23%)
  2. Drink Guinness (19%)
  3. Carry cash instead of card (18%)
  4. Wear a flat cap (16%)
  5. Wear tweed (8%)

How Irish punters pick out a horse to be on

  1. Well-known jockey (41%)
  2. Name of horse (38%)
  3. How the horse looks (8%)
  4. Number of horse (7%)
  5. Colour of silks (6%)

How UK punters pick out a horse to bet on

  1. Name of the horse (50%)
  2. Well-known jockey (21%)
  3. How the horse looks (11%)
  4. Colour of silks (10%)
  5. Number of horse (8%)

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