The Cheltenham Festival in art: Gold Cup Day

The Grandstand as the evening sun dipped below the roof after The Gold Cup was complete.

The Grandstand as the evening sun dipped below the roof after The Gold Cup was complete. - Credit: Archant

Alexander Small, a third-year Illustration student at the University of Gloucestershire in Cheltenham, has been busy documenting this year’s Cheltenham Festival in a series of illustrations - here are his latest drawings from the final day of The Races, Gold Cup Friday.

The Gold Cup and the close finish

The Gold Cup and the close finish - Credit: Archant

Rain or shine, Alexander Small documents the comings and goings, the highs and the lows, the wide-ranging characters, both human and equestrian, to be found at the Races.

The drawings, which can be seen on his blog site, will form the basis of his final major project at university.

Alex said: “The aim of these drawings is to capture the character of racing at Cheltenham from the viewpoint of the punter and spectator. All the drawings are done at the Racecourse during meetings. Everything is drawn from life, although the imagination is occasionally required to fill in the gaps when my subject has disappeared from view!”

This year, he has attended every day of The Cheltenham Festival, capturing the event in the sketchbooks he takes with him. Click the gallery at the top right of this page to see his latest work from the Final day of The Races, The Gold Cup, on Friday March 14.

Alex said: “Friday is Gold Cup Day at the Cheltenham Festival, hosting the most prestigious race in the jump racing calendar, the 3 mile 2 furlongs Cheltenham Gold Cup. As such, it’s the busiest day of the Festival by far, making the previous crowds seem easy in comparison. Over 70,000 people were packed into the course on Friday, which made it difficult for me to find anywhere with enough space to draw.”


His original drawings are for sale and he is planning on having a series of them made into prints.

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Visit to read Alex’s blog and see more of his lively drawings of life at Cheltenham Racecourse.