Cheltenham Festival fever set to grip Jed as preview panel gallops into view

SBSR Ryan Mania Parade
SBSR Ryan Mania Parade

Racing fans in the Borders could be on to a winner – thanks to the inaugural Cheltenham Festival Preview Night in Jedburgh Town Hall on March 3.

An expert panel – including Galashiels’ Grand National-winning jockey Ryan Mania – will take to the stage to analyse and assess the likely winners (and losers) at this year’s National Hunt event which takes place on March 10-13.

Brian Harding, who rode One Man to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the 1998 festival, is also in the line-up, which will be chaired by national newspaper columnist and Racing UK pundit Ed Watson. Michael Shinners, of bookmakers Sky Bet, who are sponsoring the evening, and esteemed racing journalist and tipster John Budden complete the panel.

There will also be live interviews with leading UK stables Paul Nicholls and David Pipe throughout the evening.

Mania, a regular at the festival prior to his retirement late last year, believes the Preview Night will give local racing fans a taste of the action, without actually going to Cheltenham.

He said: “I’m proud and excited to be part of the team for the Borders-based Cheltenham Festival Preview Night.

“I just hope I can help the people who come along to pick a few winners at the best festival racing has to offer.”

Watson, who pens a weekly “Talking Horses with Mr Ed” column in the Scottish Sun and is a regular face on the Racing UK television channel, believes a Borders-based Preview Night is long overdue.

“As a regular at Kelso Races, I’m well aware of the passion, knowledge and keen eye for spotting a winner that punters in these parts have for jump racing,” he added.

“They deserve to have a Preview Night on their own doorstep and I’m looking forward to prising a winner or two out of each of our panellists on March 3.”

Tickets cost £15 and include a £5 free bet from Sky Bet. A number of prizes will also be up for grabs via a raffle in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund.

For more information or to buy tickets for the Jedburgh event, call 07591 212 972 or email