Cheltenham Festival ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of National Hunt Jump Racing
Few sporting occasions offer more excitement than the Cheltenham Festival Jump Racing extravaganza that takes place in March each year. Nothing in racing compares to the collective rush of adrenaline and the roar of the crowd at the start of the first race of each Cheltenham Festival. Spread out over 4 action-packed days of superb racing, with a feature Championship race scheduled as race 4 on each day’s racecard, each of the 4 Cheltenham Festival days delivers its own unique atmosphere and excitement.
Cheltenham Festival is most famous for the Gold Cup race; the world’s most prestigious National Hunt race which takes place on Day 4 of the Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse and the highlight of the Jump racing season. The Cheltenham Festival Gold Cup roll of honour reads like the ‘who’s who’ of racing including KAUTO STAR, DENMAN, 3-time winner BEST MATE, ARKLE, GOLDEN MILLER & MILL HOUSE. With a £475,000 prize fund the Gold Cup is the UK’s most valuable non-handicap chase. Run since 1819 when SPECTRE won 100 guineas by coming first over a 3-mile flat course on Cleeve Hill overlooking the Racecourse – the Gold Cup changed from a flat to a jump race in 1924 when a prize of £685 was awarded RED SPLASH; the first winner over jumps.
DAY 1: CHAMPION DAY
Day 1 of The Festival has 3 big races on the card: the Supreme Novices Hurdle, the The Arkle Chase and the Champion Hurdle, won in 2016 by Annie Power in a course record time to became the first mare since Flakey Dove in 1994 to win it and only the fourth in the race’s history.
DAY 2: LADIES DAY
Day 2 of the Festival features the 2 mile Queen Mother Champion Chase, won for the second time in 2016 by Sprinter Sacre, sadly now retired, marking him as one of the all-time greats. Ladies Day also features the best dressed lady competition.
DAY 3: ST PATRICK’S THURSDAY
Celebrate St Patrick’s Day on Day 3 of The Festival. With plenty of Guinness on tap and Irish music to get you in the mood for all the on-course including the two big races the Ryanair Chase and The Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle – won in 2016 by Thistlecrack.
DAY 4: GOLD CUP DAY
Day 4 features the Cheltenham Gold Cup, won by the 9/4 favourite Don Cossack finishing 4 ½ lengths ahead of Djakadam and Don Poli, a further 10 lengths behind. The Triumph Hurdle and Albert Bartlett Hurdle are also really good races on Day 4 of the Cheltenham Festival.