Premier League mascots: Who would win if all 20 characters raced at Cheltenham Festival?

  • Kobe Tong

Imagine Cheltenham Festival. But no horses. No jockeys. Not even the slightest hint, whisper or suggestion of a ‘neigh’. Sounds pretty terrible, right?

Well, actually, that’s not the case if you parachuted in 20 anthropomorphic animals, dinosaurs and even devils of varying levels of hilariousness in a do-or-die footrace over three miles and 22 fences.

Contrary to popular belief, we haven’t lost our minds, but rather we’ve decided to tackle one of life’s biggest questions: which Premier League mascot would win if they raced in the Cheltenham Gold Cup?

Premier League mascots

It’s the burning debate simmering away at the heart of any existential crisis; puzzling philosophers since the beginning of time and dominating the conversation at any first date. Well, any first date we’ve been on.

Ok, maybe not, but in all seriousness, most sports fans will have come across the beautiful phenomena that is mascot races with grown men and women battling it out over various distances and obstacles in the most ridiculous of suits.

1 of 20
p1fqbebdlf1btn12h9tiu1e0715t13.jpg

Let’s start easy: who’s this iconic character?

And with the sporting carnival that is the Cheltenham Festival now just a few days away, we couldn’t help wondering what would happen if it collided with the weird and wonderful world of Premier League mascots.

The result? A truly bizarre, but nevertheless entertaining, journey through a hypothetical race of all 20 mascots battling it out in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Sadly, and frankly scandalously, some Premier League clubs don’t appear to have a mascot at the moment, so for those sides, we’ll be throwing their most recent and high-profile furry friend into the action.

Norwich 1-3 Chelsea Match Reaction (Football Terrace)

The ultimate footrace between all 20 mascots

It truly is as silly and unserious as it sounds, so rest assured that our wild ramblings about how good a mascot might look at speed endurance and hurdling has nothing to do with the heroes behind the suits.

But enough with the disclaimers because we’ve got a race to examine, and you can enjoy the final standings of all 20 Premier League mascots slugging it out over a race at Cheltenham down below:

20. Gunnersaurus Rex

Little arms, little chance of winning.

Gunnersaurus might have survived meteor strikes and ice ages, but we’ll be in a new geological period with a fossilised crowd by the time those diddy little legs get him up to the first fence.

You can’t fault Gunnersaurus for cuteness and he’ll always be the people’s champion, but you know what they say about nice g̶u̶y̶s̶ Late Cretaceous theropods…

Football Soccer – Arsenal v Burnley – FA Cup Fourth Round – Emirates Stadium – 30/1/16 Arsenal mascot before the game Reuters / Eddie Keogh Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

19. Changy the Elephant

Oh yes, that’s right, we’re wheeling out a relic of the late 2000s and early 2010s because the alternative is sending a little girl with toffees into a footrace with devils and wolves. Nobody wants that.

But Changy’s past his sell-by date. He might have sparked terror at his local watering hole back in the day, but he’s got haters in his Twitter DMs saying: “Call it a day mate” and “Pack up your trunk and go.”

Changy was always the last pick for football teams at school and he’s destined for a slow, plodding and miserable three miles around the race course.

SINGAPORE – JULY 14: Everton Mascot cheers during the Everton FC open training ahead of the match between Everton and Stoke City during the 2015 Barclays Asia Trophy Tournament at the Sports Hub National Stadium on July 14, 2015 in Singapore. (Photo by Stanley Chou/Getty Images)

18. Chirpy

Chirpy by name, Chirpy by nature: all talk, no walk.

No, this isn’t your half-drunk, Christmas-dinner-stuffed uncle in a cockerel suit, but a furry friend packing plenty of love, joy and cordiality. They’re all great qualities, but not in a battle royale with dinosaurs and lions.

It’s a shame his tail is so extravagant and colourful because practically nobody will see it in the race.

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 06: Chirpy mascot of Tottenham Hotspur before the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Cardiff City at Wembley Stadium on October 6, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

17. Moonchester

Look, Mr. Chester, we love you, we do, but your head’s the size of Cheshire.

The City heartthrob has to walk through doors sideways, so he’ll be fudging through the Cheltenham air like a block of cheese being shoved through a keyhole.

We don’t doubt for a second that a cranium of that size is packing some serious crossword-crunching, Shakespeare-reading cognition, but even a PhD in astrology can’t reinforce your neck muscles.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 06: The Manchester City mascot stands on the pitch during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Everton at Etihad Stadium on December 6, 2014 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

16. Captain Canary

Yawn off, Captain. You might have been redesigned with a more friendly and approachable look, but politeness and cuteness don’t get you anywhere in the vicious world of mascot races.

There’s no use saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when you’re two postcodes behind the hustlers in front of you, even if that small and nippy physique means you won’t be finishing dead last.

Also, Bart Simpson wants his hair back.

Soccer Football – Premier League – Norwich City v Leicester City – Carrow Road, Norwich, Britain – August 28, 2021 Norwich City fans with the mascot outside the stadium before the match Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

15. Buzz Bee

Naw, just look at that cheesy grin. Shame it’s going to be turned upside down when he lets the whole hive down with a mid-table finish.

Don’t get it twisted, Buzz looks like a happy chap to go out on the lash with, but even Usain Bolt wouldn’t make it two yards in those football boots. Did he sting his own feet until they became so swollen he needed size 28,000s?

Definitely banned from Clarks.

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 14: Brentford Bees mascot during the Sky Bet League One match between Brentford and Oldham Athletic at Griffin Park on December 14, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Rob Munro/Getty Images)

14. Stamford the Lion

Look at the teeth. Look at the hair. Stamford is Made in Chelsea in more ways than one.

You won’t see Stamford sinking his teeth into the neck of a gazelle in the Maasai Mara, but rather sipping on Kensington’s finest Caramel Macchiato in the middle of a heartfelt conversation with Bridget about the future of their relationship.

And that’s not the fear-no-man attitude on which Cheltenham victories are built. Simply being a lion will only get Stamford so far, as an inevitable preoccupation with all the mud in his paws will ultimately slow him down.

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 02: Chelsea mascott, Stamford The Lion waves a flag during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Fulham FC at Stamford Bridge on December 2, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

13. Pete the Eagle

The sunglasses, the style, the adoring fans… man like Pete is an absolute baller. He’s out there on the champagne money sipping Mojitos from his hot tub living the high life. Just look at the dude.

But I’m sorry, Pete, being the high-flying, Mr. Moneybags of Premier League mascots doesn’t make you a dab hand across three miles of unglamorous grass, mud and horse excrement.

You might be able to see through those shades, but not through your ego…

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 15: The Crystal Palace mascot, Pete the Eagle, dances on the pitch in a santa hat before the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Leicester City at Selhurst Park on December 15, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

12. Fred the Red

“Oh hi mate, yeh, I hear you’re running at Cheltenham. That’s great news – who are you competing against?”

“The devil.”

Jaws would drop, spines would tingle and children would cry if that went down in your WhatsApp group because you do not – I repeat: you do not – want to be shoulder-to-shoulder with Fred. T. Devil in the starting gates.

Don’t be deceived by the dad bod – power to you, Fred – because you’re getting impaled on his horns if you cut him up at the final hurdle.

Soccer Football – Premier League – Manchester United v Newcastle United – Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain – December 26, 2019 Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and mascot before the match REUTERS/Phil Noble EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

11. Sammy Saint

Love Island have made 173 unreturned calls to Sammy because he’s such a rippling adonis. Rumour has it that he’s not answering because he doesn’t want to show everybody up.

Don’t be fooled by those floppy ears and adorable eyes because Sammy spends his weekday evenings sweating his whiskers off bicep-curling, while staring deep into the eyes of his Arnold Schwarzenegger posters.

But it takes more than brute strength to lift the Gold Cup, and Sammy’s endurance will let him down in the final furlongs when he’s contending with the fiercest mascots of all.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 11: Southampton mascots interact with the fans before the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and West Ham United at St Mary’s Stadium on February 11, 2015 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

10. Gully the Seagull

Gully’s got game. With Wotsits for hair, death-stare eyes and the whopping gob of a bloke ready to give it biggun, Brighton’s premier player will take on anything with a pulse.

He doesn’t care about your feelings, he’s not here to give respect, he’s here to whoop your ass over three miles of pain. For you… not for him.

Park your stereotypes about seagulls at the door, because Gully’s not here to nick your chips, he’s here to nick your soul.

Soccer Football – Premier League – Brighton & Hove Albion vs AFC Bournemouth – The American Express Community Stadium, Brighton, Britain – January 1, 2018 Brighton mascot outside the stadium before the match Action Images via Reuters/Tony O’Brien EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

9. Hercules the Lion

Look, you try walking up to a lion called ‘Hercules’ and telling them that they’re going to get battered in a three-mile race.

It takes a certain level of confidence to strut around the mean streets of Birmingham with that hairdo, but Hercules is so secure in himself that, baby, you’re only jealous. The biceps, the cheek bones, the jaw line, the broody luck.

Some say Hercules can’t be broadcast before the watershed because he’s so damn… ahum, yeh, erm, I’m sure he’d do alright in a Cheltenham race or something or whatever…

Soccer Football – Premier League – Aston Villa v West Ham United – Villa Park, Birmingham, Britain – October 31, 2021 Aston Villa mascot Hercules the Lion alongside a fan before the match REUTERS/Tony Obrien EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

8. Mighty Red

Mercedes asked Mighty Red if they could use his head for the front wing of their Formula 1 car this season because it’s so aerodynamic. He wrote back with just two words: “Sorry, Cheltenham.”

You know you’re a badass when ‘Mighty’ is the first name on your birth certificate. Nobody’s safe when that terrifying grin goes cutting through the Gloucestershire breeze like an arrow from a bow.

MUMBAI, INDIA – DECEMBER 12: Robbie Fowler poses for a photograph along with the mascot of Liver Pool FC inside the Liverpool FC tent during the Barclays Premier League ‘Live’ event on December 12, 2014 in Mumbai, India. (Photo by Pal Pillai/Getty Images for Premier League)

7. Monty the Magpie

Most magpies steal silver, Monty steals your dreams.

That gorping grill of his isn’t for discussing the latest poetry around the fire on a cosy Wednesday night, but rather for wrapping around your knee caps if you dare to overtake him through the mud, guts and grit of the mid-Cheltenham battle.

And he’s got the conditioning to back it up. Don’t be fooled by the hints of a beer belly because Monty is in the gym so often that he’s got a blue plaque on his locker, reading: “Monty Magpie. Mascot. Family man. Heartbreaker.”

Football – Newcastle United v Blackburn Rovers – FA Cup Third Round – St James’ Park – 11/12 – 7/1/12 Newcastle United mascot the Magpie Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith

6. Harry the Hornet

Big man Haz is an absolute gangster, just ask Wilfried Zaha.

Originally cast in Goodfellas, but sacked for being too much of a mobster, rumour has it that Harry has got a ‘Straight Outta Watford’ tattoo semi-circled in gothic font across those raging pectoral muscles.

If you don’t think that he’ll try every trick in the book to win, then you’re badly mistaken because Harry will go to hell and back for the ‘W’.

Soccer Football – Premier League – Watford v Liverpool – Vicarage Road, Watford, Britain – February 29, 2020 Watford mascot Harry the Hornet before the match REUTERS/David Klein EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

5. Kop Cat

Sir David Attenborough, gripped with fascination and intrigue, leans slowly towards his microphone. “Just look at this majestic creature,” he muses. “A work of art, primed to win at Cheltenham.”

Ok, simmer down, Dave, because we’re not quite tipping Kop Cat for victory, but the former favourite of the Elland Road crowd is certainly a top contender for generally looking like a walking, talking force of nature.

If a Sherpa walked past him halfway down Everest in a Himalayan snowstorm, they wouldn’t bat an eyelid.

Football – Leeds United v Nottingham Forest – Sky Bet Football League Championship – Elland Road – 13/14 – 21/4/14 Leeds United mascot Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

4. Wolfie

Just look me in the eyes and say that Wolfie wouldn’t tear things up at Cheltenham.

You’ll see Wolfie boy sitting in the corner of the pub before the race, sipping on a local ale with the consistency of pancake mixture, eating a packet of peanuts splayed open and cradling a Peaky Blinders boxset he’s just bought from HMV.

He’s old-school, he’s no-nonsense and he’ll get the job done.

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JULY 25: The Wolves mascot during the UEFA Europa League Second Qualifying round 1st Leg match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Crusaders at Molineux on July 25, 2019 in Wolverhampton, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

3. Filbert Fox

I ran through a park in Leicester once. Three kilometres in and there came Filbert, breezing past me with a smoothie in his hand, smart watch around his wrist and a smile that would kill any man’s self-esteem.

Rumour has it that he accidentally won the local ParkRun, set off three speed cameras and undercut a Ferrari all before completing his run and kicking back to Loose Women with herbal tea.

Filbert is a Joe Wicks ultra, and you can bet that he’ll be hard to beat around Cheltenham.

Britain Football Soccer – Leicester City v Derby County – FA Cup Fourth Round Replay – King Power Stadium – 16/17 – 8/2/17 Leicester mascot Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

2. Bertie Bee

Look at the thighs on Bertie. Those aren’t quadricep and hamstring muscles, they’re the jet-propelled pistons of a man who has absolutely no regard for your safety on the race course.

Unless you want to get chewed up underneath the raging studs of Bertie’s relentless stride, you better steer clear and let him pass. Just look at the dude – he’s bad news.

BURNLEY, ENGLAND – JANUARY 10: Bertie Bee, the Burnley mascot poses prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Burnley and Queens Park Rangers at Turf Moor on January 10, 2015 in Burnley, England. (Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images)

1. Hammerhead

Stop what you’re doing, pack it in, don’t even bother because Hammerhead is so built for racing that even his head is aerodynamic.

Reportedly an escaped experiment from Area 51, Hammerhead does Ironmans in his sleep… even his face has abs… he cuts veg with his jawline because it’s so sharp… Roberto Carlos called, he wants his thighs back.

He could chest-press your nan and then take her out on the best dinner date of her life. We’re all inferior to Hammerhead, we just don’t know it yet – and you can bet your bottom dollar that he’s taking Gold Cup glory.

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 29: West Ham mascot, Hammerhead during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Newcastle United at Boleyn Ground on November 29, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Just imagine…

Our sincerest apologies because your IQ has probably halved after reading that.

Besides, the truth is we have no idea whether Pete the Eagle would outsprint Gunnersaurus Rex or if Fred the Red can hurdle better than Captain Canary, but much like the meaning of life, no epic question is easy to answer.

So, ponder, pontificate and philosophise as the stunning imagery of Filbert Fox and Monty Magpie racing in one of British sport’s finest events flashes through your mind like the weirdest of all fever dream.

Soccer Football – Europa League – Round of 32 Second Leg – Arsenal v Olympiacos – Emirates Stadium, London, Britain – February 27, 2020 Arsenal mascot Gunnersaurus poses for a photograph with fans inside the stadium before the match REUTERS/David Klein

Then… come to your senses and breathe a sigh of relief that it’s actually professional jockeys and world-class horses that will be racing – and not 20 sweating blokes and lasses in big furry suits.

News Now - Sport News