The Cheltenham Festival is amongst the most anticipated events on the horseracing calendar. It is a four-day occasion featuring The Gold Cup – one of the most prestigious awards within the sport.
Held at Cheltenham Racecourse annually towards the end of March and beginning of April, this event attracts enthusiastic racing fanatics in the thousands for each of the four days, whether they stay for the Champion Day, Ladies Day, St. Patrick’s Thursday, Gold Cup Friday or all of the above.
The Festival provides an experience like no other, with an electric atmosphere deep-rooted throughout the entire venue for the occasion’s entirety.
Day One – Champion Day
From the moment the gates open the fun begins. You’ve got a few hours until the races start, it’s time to explore the venue – seek the hospitality sections, discover the racecourse and browse the shopping stalls. Champion Day is a day for the bucket list.
The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Race
Kicking off this wonderful event at 13:30 is the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Race. This Hurdle race covers two miles and half a furlong.
The Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase
The Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase is an exactly two-mile-long race that is due to begin at 14:10 on this year’s Champion Day. In 2020, this race was one by massive 16/1 outsider Put The Kettle On.
The Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase
The third race of the day is the 14:50 Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase. This three-mile and 1 furlong in length race was won by the 8-year-old Irish The Conditional who set out with a starting price of 15/2.
The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy
At 15:30, The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy commences. This is the feature race of the day and is two miles and half a furlong in length. The 2020 edition of this race was won by 6-year-old 2/1 favourite French Epatante who bagged £264,610 as a result.
The Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle Race
It’s difficult to follow the feature race but this Hurdle race does it very well. The Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle Race is two miles and four furlongs long, begins at 16:10, and was won last time around by the very prominent second-favourite Honeysuckle.
The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Race
At 16:50, The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Race takes place. This Hurdle race is two miles and four-and-a-half furlongs in length and saw the famous Imperial Aura take the £39,389 first-place prize last April.
The National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup
Champion’s Day saves the longest race for last. Beginning at 17:30 is The National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup which spans over three miles and six furlongs. Last year this race was won by 12/1 outsider 10-year-old Ravenhill.
Day Two – Ladies Day
Day two of the Cheltenham Festival is dedicated to putting the ladies of horseracing on a pedestal. This day of glitz and glamour hosts 7 excellent races, including the features race of the day The Betway Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase.
The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Race
The first race of day two went exactly as expected with French 6-year-old favourite winning the 13:30 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Race and scooping up the £70,338 prize.
The Festival Novices’ Steeple Chase
The Festival Novices’ Steeple Chase takes off at 14:10 and saw one of trainer Nicky Henderson’s many successful horses Champ take first place in this three-mile and half a furlong race.
The Coral Cup Hurdle
Nicky Henderson trained Dame De Compagnie was the convincing winner of the two-mile and five-furlong Coral Cup Hurdle last year after Canardier fell at the last hurdle, taking the £56,270 prize.
The Betway Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase
The featured race of Ladies Day is The Betway Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase. This race is two-miles in length and was won in 2020 by 6/1 second-favourite Politologue after strong 2/5 favourite Defi Du Seuil ran an awkward race and ended up in 4th.
The Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase
The longest race of day two is the 3 mile and 6 furlongs in length Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase which starts at 16:10. Last year saw second-favourite Easysland beat the famous Tiger Roll to take the victory.
The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Steeple Chase Challenge Cup
The penultimate race of the day is The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Steeple Chase Challenge Cup. This Steeple Chase is two-miles and half a furlong long and was won last time out by 4-year-old German Aramax.
The Weatherbys Champion Bumper
The final race of Ladies Day is the two-mile and half a furlong Bumper race The Weatherby’s Champion Bumper. Commencing at 17:30, this race was previously won by 11/1 outsider Ferny Hollow trained by Willie Mullins.
Day Three – St. Patrick’s Thursday
The 2021 Cheltenham Festival is set to present St. Patrick’s Day Thursday with an exquisite 7 racecard selection including two featured races – The Ryanair Steeple Chase and The Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle.
The Marsh Novices’ Chase
Race one of the day is The Marsh Novices’ Chase, beginning at 13:20 and spanning two miles and four furlongs. In 2020 this race was won by 4/1 third-favourite Samcro after jockey Gavin Sheehan came off favourite Itchy Feet at the fourth.
The Pertemps Network Final
At 13:55 is The Pertemps Network Final. This is also the first Hurdle race of the day and is about three miles in length. 10/1 outsider Sire Du Berlais won the £56,270 first-place prize last time out.
The Ryanair Steeple Chase
The Ryanair Steeple Chase is the first of St. Patrick’s Thursday’s featured races. Starting at 14:30, this race is two miles and five furlongs in length and was won in 2020 by close second-favourite 9-year-old Min trained by Willie Mullins.
The Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle
The second featured race of the day is The Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle. The huge £182,878 first-place prize was won by massive 50/1 outsider Lisnagar Oscar last April after strong favourite Paisley Park struggled from the setoff. This race begins at 15:05.
Paddy Power Plate Handicap Chase
Following one featured race is hard enough, but following two consecutive featured races is twice as challenging. This is Cheltenham Festival, though, and the 15:40 Paddy Power Plate Handicap Chase manages this task year after year. The Gavin Sheehan ridden Simply The Betts took the title last time out.
Parnell Properties Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle
Beginning at 16:15 and measuring in at a distance of two miles and one furlong is Parnell Properties Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle. Second-favourite Concertista won this race in 2020 with 11/4 favourite Minella Melody finishing all the way back in 18th.
The Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Steeple Chase
7-year-old 9/1 outsider Milan Native won The Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Steeple Chase last year, taking the lead right towards the end of this three-mile and two-furlong chase.
Day Four – Gold Cup Day
Day four of Cheltenham Festival is the biggest event day on the calendar for Cheltenham Racecourse, hosting the most extravagant fixture of all – The Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase.
The JCB Triumph Hurdle
The first race of the day begins at 13:20, just like the previous three days. This race is called the JCB Triumph Hurdle and is two miles and one furlong in length. Willie Mullins trained 12/1 outsider Burning Victory took first prize in 2020.
McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle
Race two of Gold Cup Friday is the 13:55 County Handicap Hurdle Race with the same distance as the first. 11/2 favourite Saint Roi won this race last year.
The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Race
At 14:30 Cheltenham Racecourse hosts the 3 mile in length Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Race. 6-year-old Monkfish won this race in 2020 taking the lead in the final few strides – a great warmup for the following huge race.
WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase
After an awkward start to the race, Al Boum Photo pushed on and won his second consecutive Gold Cup, bagging the £351,688 first-place prize.
This is the race of The Festival with a length of three miles and two-and-a-half furlongs it is a truly unmissable fixture.
The St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Steeple Chase
There’s no time to relax yet though, as the races continue in full force. At 15:40 on Gold Cup Day is The St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Steeple Chase. Last year’s winner was huge outsider It Came To Pass with a starting price of 66/1.
The Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Steeple Chase
The penultimate race of The Festival is the two-mile and half a furlong long Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Steeple Chase. 7-year-old 7/2 favourite Chosen Mate was last years £61,897 winner.
This race begins at 16:15.
Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle
It’s the final race of the event. For some punters, it’s all or nothing. In two miles and four and a half furlongs, the final winner of The Cheltenham Festival will rocket past the finish line.
In 2020 the winner of this race was 25/1 outsider Indefatigable.
Waiting Patiently has been pulled from the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase following defeat at Ascot on Saturday. Trainer Ruth Jefferson has decided 2 miles is not long enough a course for Waiting Patiently to be truly competitive and will instead only race over longer distances.
Waiting patiently is still scheduled in for The Ryanair Chase and The Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup. Can he cause an upset for Al Boum Photo who is going for his third consecutive Gold Cup title?
The Cheltenham Festival will result in some of the most generous odds prices found throughout the entire sporting calendar.
A £10 bet on It Came To Pass to win last year’s St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Steeple Chase would have gained you a colossal bet profit of £660.00.