Betway has launched its new promotional campaign for the 2022 Cheltenham Festival.
Uploaded on YouTube, the campaign consists of a series of videos, each one bringing football stars and their horse racing counterparts together to talk about the horse racing week.
The first episode, titled “The Trainers”, sees West Ham manager David Moyes discussing the event with Betway ambassador and proclaimed horse trainer Ross O’Sullivan.
Talking about the ‘luck of the Irish’ and David Moyes’s observation of the Irish being ‘so good’ at Cheltenham, O’Sullivan appropriately described it as being like football.
“It kind of goes in cycles. It’s a bit like a football club, having a great run for a couple of seasons, and then just a bit of a change,” O’Sullivan said.
“We’ve been scratching our heads over here. The horses definitely have been staying in Ireland, whereas before they used to be sold because the money wasn’t in Ireland. We didn’t have the investors to keep them.”
Moving forward into the discussion, Moyes tackled the topic of pressure building up from high expectations both for football managers and horse trainers:
“Sometimes you see the managers like Pep in Manchester City and the teams who do so well. Sometimes you think ‘it must be easy for them’. But they’re under great pressure, because they’re pressured to win.
“So, I’m guessing the big horse trainers who spend the big money on the horses and turn up, they must be under huge pressure from the owners to get results for them and train the horses well.”
O’Sullivan replied: “It’s the same as anything, it’s expectancy. If you have a great year this year, and you finish in the top four, and next year you don’t finish in the top four, what happened?
“It’s the same with a trainer. If you train 25 winners this year, next year you want to train 30 winners, or 35 winners. And if you don’t train 25 winners like the season you had before, what happened?”
Moyes then made a comical remark, making O’Sullivan burst into laughter: “But you don’t get chanted you’re getting sacked in the morning, do you? The horses can’t chant that to you, you know what I mean?”
In episode two of the series, titled “The Athletes”, West Ham players Jarrod Bowen, Aaron Cresswell, and Mark Noble are joined by Betway ambassador and 2018 Champion Bumper winner Katie Walsh.
On the question of whether she’s feeling ready for the Cheltenham Festival, Walsh said: “Can’t wait for it. Counting down the days. It’s the pinnacle of our sport. It’s the Olympics of horse racing, and it’s great to have the crowds back. I’m sure you’re probably feeling the same.”
Cresswell then asked whether horse racers talk to each other before a race or if they’re ‘completely zoned-in’.
Walsh commented: “Some of the lads are different. I would’ve been very talkative. It’s history, if you start thinking about what happened in the first race, you can’t let it affect what’s going to happen for the rest of the day. They’re all supportive to be honest with you.
“Really, it’s an individual sport, but these lads are racing with each other 365 days in a year. They see each other, they’re racing against each other. And out there, they don’t give an inch, and they’ll cut the snot off each other, there’ll be rows.
Asked about when does the actual pressure on race day comes into play, Walsh answered:
“The first roar really that happens is before every race, when you’re down to start, when the white flag goes down and the race is off. And then, as the action gets closer towards the end – as soon as you turn for home you can hear it. You can really feel the crowd.”
Following appropriately, Cresswell pointed to the lack of a crowd at the Cheltenham Festival over the past couple of years. He then proceeded to ask Walsh how special it is for such events.
“It’s great to have the crowds back, I’m sure that’s the same for you guys as well,” Walsh said.
Mark Noble then jokingly added: “Thing is Katie, you probably can’t hear your manager or your trainer screaming at you. When we had no crowd, we could hear our manager the whole game.”
To which Katie added: “Yeah, but funny enough though, when it’s not going right you have a fair idea what they’re saying.”
The full videos are available for viewers on Betway’s YouTube channel.