With the line-ups slowly becoming clearer, Festival frenzy is beginning to build at Prestbury Park.
Exciting contests, promising talents, renowned superstars and future prospects are just a part of what makes the Cheltenham Festival the greatest show on turf.
But there are just a few contenders each year that cannot be missed in their pursuit of pride, glory and even written into folklore.
Here is a runner for each day of the Festival that just simply have to watch.
Tuesday: Honeysuckle – Champion Hurdle (5/2)
After a phenomenal performance at the Dublin Racing Festival, Honeysuckle has only one race on her agenda – the Champion Hurdle.
The seven-year-old extended her unbeaten record to ten races on Saturday, seeing off serious competition in Abacadabras, Sharjah and Saint Roi by 10+ lengths in the Irish Champion Hurdle.
Henry De Bromhead’s hurdling talent already has one Festival win to her name, as she overcame fans’ favourite Benie Des Dieux by half a length in the Mares’ Hurdle last season.
With a face-off with Nicky Henderson’s Epatante inevitable, there could be a new supermare crowned on the opening day of the Festival.
Wednesday: Tiger Roll – Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase (7/1)
The second day could see an emotional last hurrah from Tiger Roll, as his connections have confirmed they will retire the 11-year-old if he fails to land a result in his next race.
The dual Grand National champion is entered into the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, with the aim of landing his fifth success at the Cheltenham Festival and his third victory in this contest.
Gordon Elliott’s star produced a lacklustre performance in the November edition of this race with Robbie Power eventually pulling him up after the 20th fence, raising questions on whether the gelding’s age has caught up with him.
With last year’s winner Easysland and 2019 Welsh Grand National victor Potters Corner set to feature, Tiger Roll will need to return to his fighting best we all know he is capable of.
Otherwise, it could well be the parting song for the much-loved National Hunt legend.
Thursday: Thyme Hill – Stayers’ Hurdle – (4/1)
St Patrick’s Thursday will see the climax of a newfound rivalry in the staying hurdle division, as new kid on the block Thyme Hill will clash with timber superstar Paisley Park in the conclusion of this season’s trilogy.
With Phillip Hobbs’ promising talent taking the Long Distance Hurdle, Emma Lavelle’s star got revenge in the Long Walk Hurdle, overturning the previous result to win by a neck.
Thyme Hill, who was unfortunate to finish fourth in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle last season, has been majorly impressive in his second season over the smaller obstacles and has shown the potential to dismount Paisley Park as the poster boy of the division.
With a winner-takes-all meeting at the legendary Prestbury Park, the stage is set for an almighty clash in the Stayers’ Hurdle.
Friday: Al Boum Photo – Gold Cup – (10/3)
A moment of history could be made in the feature race of the Festival with Al Boum Photo looking to join the likes of Best Mate, Arkle and Golden Miller by winning a third consecutive Gold Cup.
The nine-year-old was seemingly the third string for the Willie Mullins yard in this contest when he ended the Closutton trainer’s Gold Cup hoodoo In 2019, and he followed that up with another success a year later at Prestbury Park.
The gelding’s preparations has been the exact same as last season, with a single run in the New Year’s Day Chase at Tramore sufficient enough for the three-time Grade 1 winner.
It’s not very often that we see back-to-back winners in this contest, so you can be sure not to miss the rarity of a possible hat-trick for Al Boum Photo.