The ‘Cheltenham Roar’ is, of course, the term used to describe the cacophony of noise, generated by a crowd of 65,000, or more, expectant racegoers, which greets the runners in the opening race of the Cheltenham Festival, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, as the starting tape goes up. Attendances on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival – and at the Festival, as a whole – have been increasing, so it is reasonable to assume that the ‘Roar’ is becoming louder, year-by-year.
Loudness of a sound is measured in decibels (dB) and the ‘Roar’ has been measured at 119dB or, in comparative terms, twice as loud as amplified music in, say, a night club or a rock concert, and very close to the noise levels associated with an ambulance siren, chain saw or firework display. Racegoers beware; exposure to noise at this level for more than a few seconds can potentially cause permanent hearing damage.
The simple answer is no, he did not. Martin Pipe, from whom the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival takes its name, was by far the most successful trainer in the history of National Hunt racing. Pipe retired, due ill health, at the age of 60 in April, 2006, but by the end of his career had saddled 4,180 winners and won the National Hunt Trainers’ Championship fifteen times, including ten years running between 1996 and 2005.
Pipe saddled a total of 34 winners at the Cheltenham Festival but, while he won the Champion Hurdle twice, with Granville Again in 1993 and Make A Stand in 1997, the closest he came to winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup was with Rushing Wild, ridden by Richard Dunwoody, who finished a 2-length second to Jodami in 1993. His other runners that year, Run For Free, ridden by Mark Perrett, and Chatham, ridden by Peter Scudamore, finished eighth and eleventh, respectively.