The Cheltenham Festival is a four day racing event held at Cheltenham Racecourse at Prestbury Park, near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. It features 28 races, including the much anticipated Gold Cup.
It is estimated that more than 265,000 race fans attend the Cheltenham Festival every year.
This year, the festivities begin with Champion Day on March 10, Tuesday, with seven races highlighted by the Champion Hurdle. Day 2, known as Ladies Day (March 11, Wednesday) is highlighted by The Champion Chase.
Day 3, called St. Patrick's Day (March 12, Thursday) is highlighted by the Ryanair Chase and the Stayers' Hurdle. The festival reaches its climax on Day 4, known as Gold Cup Day (March 13, Friday) with the Gold Cup.
The history of the Cheltenham Festival can be traced from 1860 when the National Hunt Chase was first held at Market Harborough.
It was initially called the Grand National Hunt Meeting and was usually held at Warwick Racecourse, though other locations served as host.
By 1904 and 1905 Cheltenham served as host with a new course established at Prestbury Park.
From 1906 to 1910, the Festival returned to Warwick but further additions and major improvements made at Cheltenham by Messrs. Pratt and Company made the National Hunt Committee decide that the 1911 meeting was to return at Prestbury Park, Cheltenham where it remained to the present day.
Tiger Roll (10/11) is one of the main attractions of the Festival in the Cross Country, arguably the most likeable horse in racing and will be looking to win at Prestbury Park for a fifth time and land a third Cross Country Chase. If he storms up the hill and crosses the finish line in front yet again the celebrations in the stands will be a sight to truly behold. A French raider called Easysland (3/1) may well be one to try and spoil the party, the JP McManus-owned 6yo looks the real deal and a massive danger to Tiger Roll's chances.
The Mares' could turn out to be one of the races of the week, if Benie Des Dieux (8/11) and Honeysuckle (6/4) both turn up then get ready to witness something special. The two best mares' in training going head-to-head is exactly what the Festival is about. Should either of them opt to contest an open-looking Champion Hurdle expect the other to go off odds-on for this race and be right there at the business end of the race.
The Triumph Hurdle pits a few interesting horses together with Solo (3/1), Goshen (7/2) and Allmankind (9/2) the three likely to be going stride-by-stride as they approach the winning post. Three horses that love to make the running in their races, they've won by a combined 124 lengths in their seven races between them this season and rightly head the market. Trainers Gary Moore and Dan Skelton will be hoping to register their first winner of the race at the Festival, whereas the Paul Nicholls runner will be looking to build on a stunning Adonis Hurdle success.
The RSA Chase usually sees the winner talked up for the Gold Cup next year, Topofthegame won it last year ahead of Lostintranslation, the former was sadly ruled out for the season but Colin Tizzard's charge won the Betfair Chase and is now a short price for the showpiece event. The main players this year seem to be Champ (3/1), Allaho (4/1), Minella Indo (4/1) and Copperhead (7/1). All of which have won convincingly this season – interestingly, eight of the last 10 winners of this race have been seven year olds, with Minella Indo being the only one of those four listed who is seven.
The legendary Faugheen (9/2) has won the Ballymore and Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham and will likely head to the Marsh Novices' (previously the JLT) – after winning an incredible 11th Grade one at Leopardstown in February. The Machine winning on the grandest stage of them all, in what could be his farewell race, will be a sight to behold and something every racing fan would love to see.
bet365 also have a Top Trainer market on site –always and interesting market, with the chances of the prize heading over the Irish Sea being highly likely. Willie Mullins (6/5) and Gordon Elliot (9/4) being the main two with the big guns in their stables. Nicky Henderson (3/1) has a list of star names in his stable ranging from Alitor, Epatante, Santini and Champ – he was the last trainer to win the award that wasn't named Willie or Gordon, a whopping eight years ago. The price on Mullins however looks generous, he currently has *nineteen* horses going to the festival as a single price for their respective races, quite outstanding when you think most trainers wouldn't mind two horses at a single price, the depth of his stables talent is endless.
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