Cheltenham Festival

  • Race fans are under starter's orders for the opening day of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival.

    A huge cheer will go up at Prestbury Park, when the first of this year's 28 races gets underway at 1.30.

    The Willie Mullins-trained 'Klassical Dream' is set to go off favourite in the opener, the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, one of four Grade One contests down for decision this afternoon.

    The Champion Hurdle is the highlight of Day 1.

    The Nicky Henderson-trained 'Buveur d'Air' is aiming to become the first horse since the great Istabraq to win the race for the third year in a row.

    Gordon Elliott's 'Apples Jade' is expected to go off favourite under 19 year old jockey Jack Kennedy.

  • The number of Mayo people who travelled to Cheltenham in March, compared to Galway residents, may be one of the reasons that so many people in Mayo have tested positive for Covid-19, compared to people in Galway.

    That was a view expressed by HSE West management at a tele-conference meeting held earlier this week with Mayo TDs and councillors, according to the Cathaoirleach of Castlebar Municipal District Michael Kilcoyne who took part in the meeting.

    Cllr Kilcoyne has for weeks now, been highlighting concerns over the high incidents of confirmed Covid 19 cases in Mayo compared to other Connaught counties, particularly county Galway with a much higher population.

    The Cathaoirleach also raised his concern that six weeks into the government Covid-19 lockdown, some patients at Mayo University Hospital are still being treated in 6-bedded wards, where maintaining 2 metre social distancing between patients is not realistic.

    He sought specific information from HSE management on the number of new staff that have been hired by the HSE at Mayo University Hospital since the pandemic broke, information on the numbers and frequency of staff dealing with Covid-19 patients that are being tested themselves for the virus, the shower facilities at the hospital for staff dealing with Covid-19 patients, and the number of deaths in the hospital where the patients have tested positive for the virus.

    HSE management failed to provide any of the answers to these specific questions on Wednesday and assured the Cathaoirleach they will come back with answers.

    Speaking to Midwest News today the Independent councillor began by outlining reasons, Hospital management offered as to why there are so many more cases of people in Mayo with confirmed Covid 19, relative to Galway.


  • The second day of the Cheltenham Festival goes ahead as planned.

    The Ladies Day card was under threat as high winds had been forecast for the Prestbury Park area, but those have subsided.

    The course passed a preliminary inspection two hours earlier than expected.

    The Queen Mother Champion Chase is the feature race today -