Festival Trials Day is the penultimate race day event held at Cheltenham Racecourse before The Festival takes place at the end of March. It features a seven racecard including the 14:25 Paddy Power ’45 SLEEPS TO CHELTENHAM’ Cotswold Chase, a Steeple Chase 3 miles and one-and-a-half furlongs in length.
This race day provides a unique atmosphere, much like Christmas Eve in terms of anticipation and excitement. The next event is the big one, and Festival Trials Day gives an authentic insight at what’s to come.
Being the final racing event at Cheltenham Racecourse before The Festival, it gives everybody involved a chance to make final decisions and preparations before the big occasion arrives. It’s a dress rehearsal but with a lot on the line and some big cash prizes to be won.
The seven races of Festival Trials Day are an absolute treat, whether you’re attending in person or observing from afar via ITV Racing.
Following the cancellation of this year’s New Year’s Day fixture at Cheltenham Racecourse due to heavy rain, the one-million-pound prize pool from that event has been moved to this year’s Festival Trials Day, which is set to take place on Saturday the 30th of January 2021.
JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle
The very first race of the day is The JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial Grade 2 juvenile hurdle race which sets off at 12:40 pm sharp. This is the joint shortest race of the day at two miles and one furlong.
The 2020 edition of this race consisted of 6 runners with 6/1 outsider Galahad Quest winning the £18,224 first-place prize. 10/11 favourite Monte Cristo finished in 4th after an early mistake but showed what he was capable of by making up ground to avoid last place.
Novices Handicap Chase
Next, at 13:15, is The Timeform Novices’ Handicap Class 2 Steeple Chase. This Steeple Chase is moderate in length at two miles and five furlongs.
In 2020 this race was won by the excellent Simply The Betts. This seven-year-old Irish Gelding ridden by jockey Gavin Sheehan snapped up the £17,204 1st place prize beating race favourite Imperial Aura by one-and-a-half lengths.
Trophy Handicap Chase
Kicking off at 13:50, the third race of the day on this cracking day of racing is the Paddy Power Millionaire Trophy Grade 3 Steeple Chase. This race is the same length as the previous at two miles and five furlongs.
8-year-old Cepage, ridden by jockey Charlie Deutsch, took the tasty £39,389 first-place prize in last year’s edition of this race after 4/1 favourite Warthog pulled up early on.
Trial Cotswold Chase
At 14:25, racing enthusiasts can feast their eyes on the feature race of the day The Paddy Power ’45 SLEEPS TO CHELTENHAM’ Cotswold Chase, a Grade 2 race spanning three miles and one-and-a-half furlongs.
The 2020 winner of this race, Santini, ridden by Nico De Boinville and trained by Nicky Henderson, went on to finish a close second in The Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup 2020 at Cheltenham Racecourse just a few months later. This shows that results at the Festival Trials Day can give a true indication as to what’s to come at The Festival.
Ballymore Classic Novices Hurdle
We’re now over halfway through the day and the juices are really flowing, just like the Guinness. The Ballymore Novices’ Grade 2 Hurdle begins at 15:00, a Hurdle race two miles and four-and-a-half furlongs in length.
The £18,224 first-place prize was taken by 6-year-old Irish Harry Senior in 2020, who beat the strong favourite King Roland by two and a quarter lengths overtaking after the final bend in front of ecstatic trainer Colin Tizzard.
15:35 welcomes The Paddy Power Cleeve Hurdle Race. This Grade 2 Hurdle race is around three miles long and builds plenty of tension throughout.
This race has been won by Paisley Park the previous two years consecutively – can The Prince of Cheltenham make it three years in a row?
8-year-old Paisley Park began the race as the favourite with a starting price of 4/6 and proved to those that backed him why this was the case, snapping up the £33,762 first-place prize.
Steel Plate And Sections Handicap Hurdle
The final race of the day is The SSS Super Alloys Class 2 Handicap Hurdle, commencing at 16:10. This Hurdle race is the same length as the first of the day at two miles and one furlong.
After losing a bit of ground jumping the second hurdle, 6-year-old Back On The Lash was the final winner of the day, winning the £17,204 first-place prize by three and a quarter lengths in a race time of spot on 4 minutes 21 seconds.
With England to be in National lockdown during this event, Cheltenham Racecourse can not allow spectators to visit for this race day.
This fixture will have no live spectators on the day, however, fans will be able to follow the action of The Paddy Power Millionaire Trophy Steeple Chase, The Paddy Power ’45 SLEEPS TO CHELTENHAM’ Cotswold Chase, The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and The Paddy Power Cleeve Hurdle Race live on ITV Racing.
In better news, as a result of The New Year’s Day racing cancellation, the Paddy Power million pound prize pool will be carried over to this year’s Festival Trials Day, raising excitement levels through the roof.
With sky-high levels of competition between bookies for any and all racing fixtures scheduled at Cheltenham, odds will be very generous across a wide range of relevant markets.
If you had placed £10 on Cepage to win The Paddy Power Millionaire Trophy Grade 3 Steeple Chase at his starting price odds of 8/1 in 2020, you would have returned a profit of £80.
These great odds prices offer a fantastic opportunity to turn Cheltenham’s Festival Trials Day into a profitable occasion.
Be sure to check out all the fantastic promotions that will be on offer, including free bets so you could win some tidy profits completely risk-free.