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Book racing tickets now for the Cheltenham Festival

One of the finest sights in the 2011 sporting year was Long Run making its impressive run-in to win the Gold Cup at Cheltenham. To see whether the horse can defend its crown in 2012, it's time to pre-book racing tickets for the meeting. The atmosphere makes it so much more memorable than watching on TV.

The Cheltenham Festival 2012 begins on Tuesday March 13, with the climax of the Gold Cup on Friday March 16. You can buy tickets direct online at the Cheltenham website (cheltenham.co.uk) or from a dedicated ticket outlet listed on Sports Index (sports-index.co.uk).

For most days, tickets start at £20 for admission to the Best Mate Enclosure offering a great view of the racing, a variety of food stalls, betting facilities and bars. At The Festival, the live entertainment will include leading cover bands. On Gold Cup day admission will start at £35.

If you want to make a day of it, Festival packages are available that include a host of extras. A dining day in the Long Run restaurant includes admission to the Club enclosure, car parking and an official racecard. Your table is booked for the whole day, with morning coffee and biscuits on arrival, a 4 course lunch, afternoon tea and a dedicated hospitality team on hand. Packages start at £359 per person plus VAT, or £469 plus VAT on Gold Cup day. Check availability on 01242 537653, or online.

Even more lavish race day packages are available in the Panoramic restaurant overlooking the finishing post. Enjoy a 5 course meal while taking in all the action from an unrivaled vantage point, for perfect views of the racing. Tickets for this package start at £565 plus VAT per person.

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