As the pressure is mounting ahead of The Festival™, The OLBG Festival Preview gives the opportunity to hear the thoughts and opinions of some of the leading industry figures. The panel for 2018 will be hosted Jeremy Kyle with guests John Francome, Ruby Walsh, Fergal O’Brien and Cornelius Lysaght.
Doors open 6:30pm, event starts 7pm, event closes approximately 10pm.
Note: Annual Members receive free entry. Please look out for your next Morse Code for further details.
About the panel:
Jeremy Kyle is an English television and radio presenter, best known for hosting The Jeremy Kyle Show on ITV since 2005. A huge racing enthusiast, he has enjoyed significant success as an owner.
In partnership with the Stewart and Brooks families, he currently owns two smart performers with Paul Nicholls – the hurdler Old Guard and Black Corton, who was partnered to success by Bryony Frost in the G1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton Park on Boxing Day 2017.
John Francome MBE has had many roles including champion Jump jockey, television pundit and author. He joined Fred Winter in 1970 and remained with the Lambourn handler throughout his riding career. He partnered 1,138 winners up to his retirement from the saddle in April, 1985 and was awarded the MBE for services to racing the following year.
Francome was champion Jump jockey seven times in all between 1976 and 1985, while his 10 successes at The Festival included the Cheltenham Gold Cup (Midnight Court 1978) and the Champion Hurdle (Sea Pigeon 1981). He trained briefly before becoming a pundit for Channel 4 Racing, a job which lasted until 2012. He owns Beechdown Farm Stables in Lambourn where Clive Cox trains from.
He has penned racing-themed thrillers, mainly with a co-writer, and is strongly involved with the Injured Jockeys Fund, having been President from 2012 to 2016, and is now a Vice Patron.
Fergal O’Brien trains at the Upper Yard, Grange Hill Farm in the heart of the Cotswolds between Guiting Power and Naunton. He was head lad for fellow trainer and close neighbour Nigel Twiston-Davies for 19 years before launching his own training career at the end of September, 2011 from jockey Timmy Murphy’s yard at Cilldara Stud near Northleach. He saddled a career-best total of 60 winners in the 2016/17 season, but is well on the way to overhauling that figure this season.
He enjoyed a first Grade One victory when Poetic Rhythm won the Challow Hurdle at Newbury on December 30, 2017, while he has also had major wins this season with Colin’s Sister (G2 bet365 Hurdle at Wetherby) and Perfect Candidate (G3 BetVictor Handicap Chase at Cheltenham).
Rupert "Ruby" Walsh, a top Irish Jump jockey, is the eldest son of champion amateur jockey, trainer and broadcaster Ted Walsh. Showing talent from an early age, Walsh won the Irish amateur riders’ title twice, in 1996/97 (aged 18) and 1997/98, before turning professional. He captured the Grand National at Aintree in 2000 on his first attempt, aged 20, on Papillon, a horse trained by his father. Walsh is the only current jockey to have won the Grand National twice, having added a second success on Hedgehunter from the Willie Mullins stable in 2005.
Walsh has ridden well over 2,500 winners, including a record 56 at The Festival, and has won the Boodles-sponsored leading rider's award 11 times over the four days in the last 14 years. At The Festival in 2009, Walsh partnered a record-breaking seven winners, a total which he equalled at The Festival in 2016. His biggest successes at The Festival include the 2004 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase on Azertyuiop, the 2007 and 2009 Timico Cheltenham Gold Cups on the incomparable Kauto Star and two subsequent Queen Mother successes in 2008 and 2009 on the brilliant Master Minded. He has partnered a record-equaling four winners of the Unibet Champion Hurdle courtesy of Hurricane Fly (2011 & 2013), Faugheen (2015) and Annie Power (2016) and won a record five Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdles with victories on Big Buck’s (2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012) and Nichols Canyon (2017).
Walsh has been champion Irish Jump jockey champion 12 times. Based in Calverstown, County Kildare, where he lives with his wife Gillian and children, he rides predominantly for Willie Mullins, the champion Jump trainer in Ireland. He used to, for many seasons, also partner the best horses for Britain’s 10-time champion Jump trainer Paul Nicholls.
Cornelius Lysaght is the BBC horseracing correspondent, a position he has held since 2001, and he was among the first heard on BBC Radio 5 when it commenced broadcasting in 1990. He started out as a broadcaster with radio stations Severn Sound (Gloucester) and Southern Sound (Brighton) plus the telephone commentary service Racecall. At the forefront of reporting on racing, he has broken plenty of news stories, from the plane crash that nearly killed Frankie Dettori to the furious reaction among jockeys over new whip rules.
Cornelius led the BBC 5 Live racing team to success at radio’s Oscars, the Sony Awards, for coverage of The Festival in 2003. He is one of BBC Sport’s most prolific exponents of Twitter and is in demand for voice-overs and after-dinner speaking.
Thanks to our loyal sponsors, OLBG.
OLBG are delighted to continue their sponsorship of the official Cheltenham Festival Preview evening and further strengthen their long association with the Cheltenham Festival. OLBG were instrumental in putting together and building the OLBG Mares’ Road to Cheltenham. It has grown in stature year on year leading to a fantastic race last year, one of the most watched and most bet on races of the festival. Outside of supporting racing, OLBG has grown a community of knowledgeable sports bettors who share their expertise to help others to improve their betting. With profitable tipsters across 18 + sports, whichever sporting event you want to bet on, the OLBG tipsters have researched the best bets for you. The easiest way to access these tips for free is through the award winning app. Over 800,000 installs already, with average star ratings across the stores of over 4.5/5.0 suggest that OLBG really is helping sports bettors to find more winners.
For those who can’t attend, OLBG will be streaming the preview evening live and exclusively on the Cheltenham Section of their website.
Entry to the Festival preview night, featuring racing professionals on Sunday 11th March.
Follow us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Follow us on Instagram