I’ve done it all at Cheltenham from semi-naked ice bath to a proposal – there’s nothing like it, says ITV’s Chris Hughes
CHRIS HUGHES has pretty much seen and done it all at Cheltenham.
The former Love Island man jumped into an ice bath, set up a surprise proposal on live TV… and even pulled a sickie from school aged 12 just so he could go.
RexFormer Love Island star Hughes says Cheltenham is the best – even if it has seen him jump into an ice bath[/caption]
The ITV Racing presenter showed he was a good sport by leaping into the freezing water
This week he will return as part of the star-studded ITV Racing line-up.
Hughes, 30, says there’s no way in hell he’d miss his No 1 sporting event.
But for so many people it’s about more than just seeing the top horses in action.
There is the social aspect and, for Hughes and co-host Oli Bell, a very memorable (and cold) experience in front of the cameras two years ago.
With no winners in the ITV tipping competition, they fulfilled their promise to hop into freezing water poured into a tiny plastic tub.
And there was the live on-air proposal Chris co-ordinated at a meeting later that same year.
Most read in Sport
HOW TO GET FREE BETS ON THE CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL
It all adds to the legend of Cheltenham – something Coral ambassador Chris says he’ll never miss.
He told Sun Racing: “You wake up, have a full English and a pint of Guinness with your mates. It’s a full day and you can never do it just once.
“I will be there for the rest of my life. I won’t miss one until I’m gone.
“It offers so much, the racing, the food, the betting, the shopping and the drinking.
“The ice bath weas so cold it’s actually a memory I have tried to erase…
“But we want to bring an element of how much joy the day brings rather than just showcase the racing.
“I did a wedding proposal as well. We had it all set up and I grabbed the bloke and chatted to him like it was a normal interview.
“I asked him what his girlfriend thought about the race.
“I said, ‘that was my question to you’ and then turned to her and said, ‘I think someone has a question for you’.
“Then he went down on one knee. It was by the betting ring with all the rowdy punters cheering him on.”
All the details on Cheltenham Festival 2023 from tickets to cost of a pint
Chris has the friendly appeal that makes him a hit with punters and TV audiences.
But he’s also very knowledgeable about his racing.
He was co-owner of Annie Mc, a brilliant mare who retired last month with seven wins and more than £120,000 to her name.
Then again, growing up 15 minutes from the course and with a host of top jockeys as mates, how could he not be?
His love for racing is one he hopes he can pass onto new punters watching for the first time.
He said: “I went to the Festival when I was 12, I took a sickie off school and it was class.
“Being there then took my love of it to a whole new level – and that goes for all the punters too.”
Chris Hughes is ambassador for Coral Racing – see free bet offers
FREE BETS GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HERE
Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to The Sun. 18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org
Remember to gamble responsibly
A responsible gambler is someone who:
Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
Never chases their losses
Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org