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Ana Domecq San Gil

Student blog

A great day out at the races

Ana Domecq

Hi, my name is Ana Domecq San Gil, and I’m a second-year BSc Equine Performance and Rehabilitation student from Spain. I’m a showjumper and currently have my horse at Hartpury University.

I compete regularly alongside my course, which is one of the things I love about Hartpury – as well as getting to know people from all around the world. While we’re all from different backgrounds and cultures, we have one big interest in common; horses!

The home of Jump Racing is just around the corner

Cheltenham is at the heart of Jump Racing and hosts one of the biggest festivals on the calendar; The Cheltenham Festival, which over four extraordinary days attracts 265,000 racing fanatics to watch the greatest horses in the industry

And the best part? It’s just 25 minutes from Hartpury by car, bus or train. Many students make time in their busy schedules to go to the races – it’s a great local day out.

Internationally known – it’s for everyone!

Cheltenham Festival is world-famous, with people travelling from Europe and further afield to live this magical experience.

This year, my family and friends travelled all the way from Spain just for the races. We had a great time and created some amazing memories.

It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience I’d recommend it to anyone living in – or visiting – the UK.

My top 5 tips for having a great day

  1. Go with friends: Not only will you have an amazing experience watching some of the top horses in the racing industry, but you’ll also enjoy spending time together. It’s an excellent opportunity to meet people from other local universities and make new friends too.
  2. Arrive early: While the races don’t start until 1.30pm, it’s a good idea to get there early to learn your way around, get some refreshments, and see the horses in the parade ring before they start racing.
  3. Plan in advance: The tickets sell out quickly, so book early to avoid missing out. If you’re coming from far away, organise accommodation and transport in advance too, as everything gets fully booked during festival week.
  4. Explore Cheltenham: It’s a beautiful town, so make sure you have time after the races to walk around and get something to eat. It also has amazing nightlife, especially during race week, so you might also fancy going out for some drinks with your friends.

Industry insights and social life all in one

As an equine student at Hartpury myself, I can tell you that all the equine students are very passionate about horses – we’re studying here to turn our passion into a career doing something we love.

The Festival at Cheltenham is a great opportunity to gain insights into the racing industry – to see how the relationships between owners, trainers and jockeys work.

Moreover, it’s a great opportunity to watch top performance horses move, which is really helpful within the science aspect of equine courses.

The Festival at Cheltenham is such a fantastic opportunity for young people from different universities and cities to come together. I had an amazing experience and made lots of new friends that I’m sure I’ll be seeing again soon.

The atmosphere was unbeatable and I can't wait to go back.

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