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Preview Evening 2016

Cheltenham Festival 2016 Preview Evening - 9th March at SWAY bar, Holborn, London

2016 Charities

This time of year is pretty miserable as we drag the inflated belly out of bed during darkness for work and smile politely as your third mate asks to sponsor them for not drinking/being any fun. Allow us to brighten up your day and set pulses racing for the greatest week of the year by confirming this year's CFI Cheltenham Preview Evening. Last year we received a write up in the Racing Post and we hope you can join us for this year's Festival warm up.

Please join us on Wednesday 9th March at SWAY Bar in London for an evening of Festival fever as our panel runs the rule through the major races and their handicap fancies. Last year Tony Calvin was the star of the show with his bet of the week (Cole Harden in the World Hurdle) obliging at odds of 20/1. Tony spoiled us with a strong word for Aux Ptits Soins "an aeroplane at home" in the Coral Cup, winning at 9/1 and most of the panel put up The Druids Nephew who landed the Ultima Chase at 8/1.

Rishi Persad, Tony Calvin, Lydia Hislop are joined by Geoff Banks and a surprise jockey. 


Tickets are still only £20 each and will include a glass of fizz on arrival. Please buy you raffle tickets when you register. Our panel will be promoting on social media from Friday so don't miss out!

This year's auction and raffle prizes are (if we do say so ourselves) amazing!

- Morning on the gallops followed by brunch with Alan King for 4

- Morning on the gallops followed by brunch with Nicky Henderson for 2

- Morning on the gallops followed by brunch with Venetia Williams for 4

- Morning on the gallops followed by brunch with Dan Skelton for 4

- Morning on the gallops followed by brunch with David Pipe for 4

- x10 £50 PaddyPower betting vouchers

- Racing biographies and more

Michael & Ronnie

The CFI Team


Rishi Persad - Our MC for the evening

Rishi Persad - MCRishi began his broadcasting career in May 2002 when attheraces was first launched. This was followed by a move to Racing UK where he introduced their first show in May 2004 from Kempton Park Racecourse and has continued to work for Racing UK since that time.

Rishi’s debut terrestrial appearance was for Channel 4 Racing at Haydock Park in January 2003 which saw him join the channel’s award winning coverage of that year's Cheltenham Festival before being recruited by BBC Sport in the spring of 2003.

Horse racing remains closest to his heart where Rishi has been fortunate enough to cover many of the major international racing events including the Breeders Cup at Arlington in 2002 and Santa Anita in 2003, Hong Kong International Meeting in 2004, The Dubai World for the past 12 years, The Prix De L'Arc De Triomphe, The Grand National, Cheltenham Festival, Derby Festival, Royal Ascot and QIPCO British Champions Day.

Rishi’s family bred and raced thoroughbreds in the West Indies and that is where his interest for the sport began. This was fostered by his father who encouraged Rishi to spend more time studying form and pedigree than anything academic!

We were delighted that Rishi has joined us for every CFI Preview Evening (2014 & 2015) and we again look forward to him taking the lead mic on the 9th March. We look forward to providing him with a few beers and some proper food once again, marshalling Tony, Lydia and co is some task. 


Lydia Hislop - Racing Journalist

Lydia HislopLydia Hislop has worked as a racing journalist since 1996. She has been a long-standing columnist for the Times and Evening Standard, also working as racing correspondent for the latter paper for five years. She has contributed to the Guardian, Independent, Racing Post and Sporting Life. Her broadcasting career encompasses the BBC, Channel 4 and the former racing channel. She has worked for Racing UK since its launch. Her obsession for the sport is inoperable.

Lydia is one of the most respected racing journalists, both in terms of her knowledge and application of the form to provide readers and viewers with measured reason. All racing fans should be familiar with Lydia's Road to Cheltenham series in that can be found on the Sporting Life website. Lydia put up More Of That for last season's World Hurdle and we look forward to welcoming her back once again as she joins Rishi and Tony in appearing in every CFI Preview Evening to date!


Geoff Banks - Bookie

Geoff BanksWe welcome Geoff for his maiden appearance at the CFI Cheltenham Preview Evening 2016. (We're looking forward to the banter with Tony to say the least!)

Geoff Banks is the son of legendary bookmaking pioneer John Banks, who was the highest profile bookmaker in the country, with a penchant for laying fearless wagers and paying out with a smile. Geoff took over his father's business in 1998 after working alongside for many years. Geoff's heart lies in horse racing. To that end he offers great deals for his clients - best odds guaranteed and photo specials, both refunded in cash, at seriously competitive odds.

As a true champion of traditional values with a passion in keeping bookmaking a fair an transparent business, Geoff can often be found with those same forthright views on Channel 4 Racing. 


Tony Calvin - Betting Columnist 

Tony Calvin

Tony Calvin has been in the racing and tipping business for over 25 years, encompassing a 12-year stint at the Racing Post and an 11-year spell as Head Of Media at Betfair.

He is regarded as one of the most knowledgeable and informed members of the press room, both on horse racing and betting-related matters.

Tony originally joined us for the 2014 CFI Preview night and provided a host of insights, including his charity bet Present View - who duly obliged the following week. Tony once again delivered at the 2015 CFI Preview Evening with his highlight tipping up Cole Harden at a tasty 20/1. We can't wait for a bucket full of gems this year Tony!

Tony writes the columns for Ryan Moore and Paul Nicholls. We have readied the bar and aim to keep the big man well oiled, as he points us in the right direction once again. 


For our 2015 review and write up, please click here 

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