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all the tips 'The only thing that will stop me going next year is I won't be alive!' - Ivan Yates on Cheltenham

Ivan Yates talks to sundayworld.com ahead of his Cheltenham shows on Virgin Media Two

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Ivan Yates, presenter of The Green Room, on Virgin Media. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ivan Yates, presenter of The Green Room, on Virgin Media. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ivan Yates, presenter of The Green Room, on Virgin Media. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Ivan Yates admits Cheltenham 2021 will lack a sparkle without the crowds that always make it the best racing week of the year, but he is convinced we are all still in for a great show in the coming days.

Speaking exclusively to sundayworld.com, Ivan shared the sentiments of so many racing lovers as he admitted the pain of not be able to attend the Cheltenham Festival this year will be felt when the action gets underway on Tuesday.

Yet the broadcasting giant is determined to do his bit to help us enjoy the Festival from the comfort of our living rooms as he prepares to hose nightly specials of his Green Room show with Paddy Power, as he admits he is already looking forward to making a return to Cheltenham in person next year.

"The only thing that will stop me going to Cheltenham next year is that I won't be alive, you can rest assured of that," told us.

"It's a real downer that we are not going to be there in person, but it feels like the Irish are up for the best Cheltenham ever after everything we have been through in the last few months.

"I'm normally in the Cotswolds for this week of the year and it's heartbreaking not to be there this time.

"The Guinness village at Cheltenham, the buzz around it, St Patrick's Day in the middle of it... this is all part of the week and it will be extraordinary for it to be going ahead without the crowd.

"The roar will be missing, the scenes as the winners come back and are given the adulation of spectators won't be there, but let's see how it all looks.

"Whether it is flat without spectators remains to be seen, but racing behind closed doors has been operating for the last ten months relatively successful and we have to make the most of what we are getting."

Ivan will be hosting an evening tipping show with Paddy Power and special guest Barry Geraghty, which will aim to give viewers the ultimate preview of the racing day ahead.

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10 March 2020; Jockey Barry Geraghty celebrates with the cup after winning the Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy on Epatante on Day One of the Cheltenham Racing Festival at Prestbury Park in Cheltenham, England. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

10 March 2020; Jockey Barry Geraghty celebrates with the cup after winning the Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy on Epatante on Day One of the Cheltenham Racing Festival at Prestbury Park in Cheltenham, England. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

10 March 2020; Jockey Barry Geraghty celebrates with the cup after winning the Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy on Epatante on Day One of the Cheltenham Racing Festival at Prestbury Park in Cheltenham, England. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

"There is a lot of expectation that of the 28 races, there may be 18 that Ireland could win, which is the way the betting market is trending," he added.

"So we are really looking forward to it and the great thing about talking about races the night before they happen is nobody can be wrong with their tips at that point!

"We are going to have some fun with this show. Barry Geraghty, who was leading jockey at The Festival last year, will be joining us. This is his first year since he retired and he will be a great man to join us every night.

"He will have great insights into some of the horses as he has ridden some of them, like Epatante, who he won the Champion Hurdle on last year.

"Barry will be able to give us unique insight into what the ground means for each horse and he is still in touch with a lot of the yards and will be able to give us the best analysis of the horses to back.

"We are going to have a challenge between Paddy and myself each day to see who can pick the most winners. The idea is we will put our tips in a sealed envelope and open it each night on the show to see who has done best, so that should be good fun.

"There is always big dramas and stories created around Cheltenham, dreams becoming reality in what promises to be a spectacular Festival this year."

Barry Geraghty will join Ivan Yates and Paddy Power in four Green Room Specials, airing nightly at 11pm on Virgin Media Two during the Cheltenham Festival amid Virgin's ‘Spectacular Week of Sport’ that also includes the Champions League and Six Nations rugby.

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