Irish fans attending the Cheltenham Festival in 2016 spent over £19 million.

Fans based in Ireland bought 57,375 tickets, or the equivalent of 30% of tickets sold for the event.

The number of Irish fans attending the festival has increased by 22% over the last 6 years.

So just how was that £19.23 million spent:

£4.5m

Entertainment (betting etc.)

£3.87m

Food and Drink

£3.54m

Accommodation

£2.24m

Entry fees

The vast spending by Irish fans could be due to the significant increase in Irish horseman (trainers, owners and jockeys) over the past 2 decades.

Brian Kavanagh, Chief Executive of Horse Racing Ireland, said "Ireland has long had a love affair with Cheltenham because they put on a wonderful festival where we see the best National Hunt horses in the world taking each other on."

"The importance of Cheltenham to Ireland goes beyond just the punters and racegoers as winning there is of vital importance to owners, breeders, trainers and jockeys and can be the highlight of a career, or the making of the horse's pedigree."

Cheltenham Racecourse Credit: PA