The Cheltenham Festival is a horseracing meeting held annually, every March, at Cheltenham Racecourse. It’s usually organised to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day and attracts many contenders and spectators from the Emerald Isle.
The four-day festival is only second to The Grand National in terms of prize money available and it attracts tens of thousands of visitors to Cheltenham Racecourse every Spring.
The Festival features a series of Grade 1 listed races, including The Champion Hurdle, The Queen Mother Champion Chase, The Stayers Hurdle, and last but not least The Cheltenham Gold Cup – one of the most prestigious awards in the sport.
Day Four is the most anticipated race day of the meeting, featuring The Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup. This unmissable race is the most valuable non-handicap chase in Britain and is often referred to as the Blue Riband of jump-racing.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup Day has a 7 racecard with over £1.2million in prize money handed out over the course of the day. Gold Cup Day 2021 will be held on Friday the 19th of March.
The JCB Triumph Hurdle
The first race of Gold Cup Day at The Cheltenham Festival 2021 will be The JCB Triumph Hurdle, scheduled to begin at 13:20.
This race is Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race that is open to horses aged 4 years and above. The race length is 2 miles and 179-yards along the ‘new course’ and contains 8 hurdles to be jumped.
The Triumph Hurdle has a prize pool just over £130,000 of which £73,506 goes to the winning horse.
McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle
Now that everybody’s warmed up, the second race of Day Four will be McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle at 13:55.
This race is a Grade 3 National Hunt hurdle race that is open to horses aged 5 and above. On the ‘new course’, the distance of this hurdle race is 2 miles and 179 yards, featuring 8 hurdles.
The purse for The Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle is £100,000, with £56,270 going to the first horse to pass the final post.
The Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle
Race 3 of Gold Cup Day is The Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle with a starting time of 14:30.
The Spa Novices Hurdle is a Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle race on the ‘new course’ with a total race length of 2 miles 7 furlongs and 213 yards. Again sponsored by Albert Bartlett, this hurdle race is open to horses over the age of 4 and consists of 12 hurdles for them to jump.
The Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle Race has a purse of just over £130,000. The winning horse will receive £73,506, the second-place finisher will receive £27,694, finishing in third-place will earn £13,860 and stealing the fourth placement spot will earn the horse’s team £6,923.
WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase
The featured race of Day Four and the entire Cheltenham Festival is WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase, which is scheduled to begin at 15:05.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is run on the ‘new course’ at Cheltenham and spans 3 miles 2 furlongs and 70 yards in length. It is a Grade 1 National Hunt race, open to horses aged 5 years and above, featuring 22 fences to jump in front of the roaring crowds of Cheltenham.
The total prize pool for The Cheltenham Gold Cup is £625,000. The first-place prize is £351,688, the second-place prize is £132,500, the third-place prize is £66,312 and the fourth-place prize is £33,125.
The winner of the 2020 Gold Cup was 10/3 Al Boum Photo, followed by 5/1 Santini, 10/1 Lostintranslation and 20/1 Monalee.
St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase
Following the Gold Cup is St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase, commencing at 15:40.
This race is a 3 mile 2 furlong and 70-yard race down the ‘new course’ that is open to horses aged 5 years and older. There is a total of 22 fences to be jumped by the contenders.
This race has a purse of £45,000, which sees £26,685 go to the race winner which, last year, was 66/1 outsider It Came To Pass.
The Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Chase
The Cheltenham Festival 2021 will see the official inauguration of this race as it takes place for the first time in history. The Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Steeple Chase will replace the Listed Novices’ Handicap Chase, which was traditionally run on the opening day of The Festival.
The race will begin at 16:15 and will be 2 miles and 4 furlongs in length.
Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle
The final race of The Cheltenham festival 2021 will be The Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle, starting at 16:50.
The Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle is 2 miles 4 furlongs and 56 yards in length and features 9 hurdles to be jumped along the ‘new course’. The purse for this race is £45,000.
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With hundreds of millions of pounds being bet on The Cheltenham Festival over the course of the event, it is one of the most valuable days of the entire National Hunt calendar for bookmakers and online betting sites.
Gold Cup Day 2020 saw a few big-price outsiders make a name for themselves, including 66/1 It Came To Pass in The St. James’s Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase and 25/1 Indefatigable in The Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.