Probably Britain’s oldest racing fan is looking forward to attending Cheltenham Festival (13-16 March) for the first time in decades.
Ralph Hoare, Britain’s third-oldest man at the age of 109, has always loved racing and is particularly excited to watch this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup in person.
Mr Hoare enjoys placing a 10p bet most Saturdays, but it’s been a while since he attended the races.
“I’m very much looking forward to it,” he told H&H. “I like to have a small bet and to see the horse winning.”
Mr Hoare has his sights set on Might Bite for Gold Cup victory, but will be taking a closer look at the line-up the day before he places his bet.
“I haven’t got up to the runners and riders yet,” he added.
Mr Hoare last attended the Festival for Arkle’s gold cup victory in 1964.
This year he will be going to Cheltenham with his daughter, Kate Hughes.
“He’s always been a racing fan,” she told H&H.
“I’ve started watching it with him since I’ve been looking after him and he can’t see well enough to do the bets by himself any more.
“He used to do it over the phone, but then I had to buy him a tablet when they increased the minimum bet.
“He doesn’t get out much now full stop, so it will be quite a big occasion.
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“I’ve got to prepare for all eventualities and tell him to behave. He will sleep well the next day.”
Mr Hoare has been having good luck at the festival so far, backing three winners on the first day.
A Jockey Club spokesman said Cheltenham was “delighted” to welcome Mr Hoare on Gold Cup Day.
“We hope that he and his daughter have a wonderful time,” he told H&H. “To be 109 and to want to come to Cheltenham is pretty amazing.”
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