The Cheltenham Festival is upon us and it is one of the biggest events on the horse racing calendar. Horse Racing lovers from around the country will gather to watch some of the most exciting and stunning races, with some of the top runners. So, let’s look at the race in a little more depth.
What is it?
This is one of the top meetings in the National Hunt racing in the UK. The prize money is second only to the Grand National. The top horses in the country race to a degree virtually unknown in the rest of the season. Every March, the race takes place at Cheltenham Racecourse, in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. The festival features plenty of Grade 1 races including: Champion Hurdle; Queen Mother Champion Chase; Stayers’ Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup. It is held over four days and is one of the biggest horse racing gambling events. It’s a time where people who like a bet on the horses can make plenty of money.
It originated back in 1860 when it was first held in Market Harborough. In the 20th Century it was held mostly at Warwick Racecourse. Then in 1911 it returned to Prestbury Park, Cheltenham, where it remained. The Stayers’ Hurdle is the oldest race on the calendar, first raced in 1912. The Gold Cup was established in 1924 and was originally just a supporting race for the main even of the day – the Country Hurdle. However, it soon became a Championship race.
Until 2005, the festival was held over 3 days, but this was changed to four days – which meant that there would be one championship race a day – finishing off with Friday’s Gold Cup. As such, five new races were introduced to fill each day’s race card, This brought the race tally to 28 overall.
Also, the festival includes the Foxhunters’, one of the two most prevalent Hunter Chases in the season. This is run on the Friday, over the same course as the Gold Cup. The Cheltenham Festival doesn’t have a history of attracting international runners, although there have been a few French winners.
The Cheltenham Festival 2019 Basics
This showpiece festival takes place between Tuesday March 12 and Friday March 15. If you want to watch it from the comfort of your own home, the main races will be shown live on ITV. If you want all of them, then you need to check out Racing TV.
All of the races are important, however, there are some that are bigger than others. The main event on day one is the Champion Hurdle; the main event on day two will be the Queen Mother Champion Chase. On day three, the showpiece event will be both the Ryanair Chase and the Stayers’ Hurdle. However, the biggest race is to be held on the Friday – the Gold Cup.
Wednesday 13th March – Ladies Day
- 1.30pm – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 5f – £125,000
- 2.10pm – RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 3m 80y – £175,000
- 2.50pm – Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 5f – £100,000
- 3.30pm – Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) 1m 7f 99y – £400,000
- 4.10pm – Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase 3m 6f 37y – £65,000
- 4.50pm – Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 87y – £80,000
- 5.30pm – Weaherby’s Champion Bumper (Grade 1) 2m 87y – £75,000
Thursday 14th March – St Patrick’s Thursday
- 1.30pm – JLT Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) 2m 3f 166y £150,000
- 2.10pm – Pertemps Network Final (Handicap Hurdle) (Grade 3) 2m 7f 213y – £100,000
- 2.50pm – Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) 2m 4f 127y £350,000
- 3.30pm – Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 7f 213y £325,000
- 4.10pm – Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (Handicap Chase) (Grade 3) 2m 4f 166y £110,000
- 4.50pm – Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 179y £90,000
- 5.30pm – Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase 3m 2f £70,000
Friday 15th March – Gold Cup Day
- 1.30pm -JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 179y -£125,000
- 2.10pm – Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 179y – £100,000
- 2.50pm – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 7f 213y – £125,000
- 3.30pm – Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup (Grade 1) 3m 2f 70y £625,000
- 4.10pm – St James’s Place Foxhunter Chase 3m 2f 70y – £45,000
- 4.50pm – Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey’s Handicap Hurdle (0-145) 2m 4f 56y -£70,000
- 5.30pm – Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 2m 62y – £110,000