The Cheltenham Festival is nowadays the biggest event in the racing year – in visitor numbers eclipsing Royal Ascot, the Grand National or the Derby. In 2011 it is a hundred years since the 1911 running of the National Hunt Chase marked the birth of the Festival, providing the perfect occasion for Robin Oakley’ s new history. This is a work of both history and celebration – telling the story of how three days of jump racing beneath Cleeve Hill in Cheltenham became a vast sporting event attracting an average of 50,000 spectators per day. Before the War it saw legendary horses like Golden Miller; after the War the Irish invasion began – both horses and spectators; in the Sixties, Arkle, the greatest jumps horse of all time duelling with Mill House in the Gold Cup. In recent years there have been Cheltenham favourites like Desert Orchid, winning a gruelling Gold Cup in the mud, Dawn Run, Best Mate (2 Gold Cups), hurdlers like Istabraq and Persian War, and the grey hero One Man. But also it is a story of the craic and the characters, like the Irishman who won enough on Istabraq to pay off his mortgage, then lost it again on the Champion Chase, and reflected, “ Ach, it was only a small house anyway… ” This is a book for both the committed Festival-goer, Guinness in hand, and every armchair racing fan.