Cheltenham has "ruled out a long-mooted change" to the Festival schedule that would see the meeting finish on a Saturday, according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. The trend in recent years has been "to move premier racing fixtures to weekend slots to maximise TV viewing and attendance figures." The the idea of beginning the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday and "climaxing on Saturday has been repeatedly raised of late." Edward Gillespie, who stepped down last year after 32 years at the helm at the track, had previously said that it could happen by '12 or, "more likely, after a long-planned overhaul of the facilities at the Gloucestershire course that will begin this year." However, Cheltenham's new Managing Dir Ian Renton said that he is "firmly wedded to the current schedule," which begins with the Champion Hurdle this Tuesday and builds up to the Gold Cup on Friday. He said that any switch to Saturday "was off the agenda for the foreseeable future" (GUARDIAN, 3/10).
Events and Attractions
Madrid 2020 has promised to create 500 new businesses if it is awarded the right to host the 2020 Olympic Games. The promise was made by organizers as they announced a funding project for start-ups in partnership with its sponsors and the council called ‘2020 for 2020: StartUp Madrid’ (Madrid 2020). ... The Spanish Football Association (RFEF) announced the Santiago Bernabeu as the host of the Copa del Rey final on 17 May. The final will be contested by Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. Both sides will receive 30,000 tickets for the final. It is the first time the Berbabeu will host the final since Sevilla's victory in '07 (RFEF). ... Chelsea will follow on the heels of Arsenal as the second big-time club from England’s top flight to play in Jakarta this year, with the match scheduled for July 25. Sponsored by lender Bank Negara Indonesia, the 2012 European Champions League winner will face the Indonesia All Stars (JAKARTA GLOBE, 3/8). ... The Pakistan Cycling squad has been granted visas by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and left for India via the Wagha Border Saturday (PAKISTAN TODAY, 3/8).