Coral Horse Racing

Next week sees one of the biggest sporting festivals of the year taking place in the United Kingdom. Hundreds of thousands of people will attend the four days of outstanding jump racing action that is known far and wide as the Cheltenham Festival.

Arguably the first big horse racing meeting of the calendar year, Cheltenham sees a total of 28 races, 7 per day, including some of the biggest and best jumps races of the year, including the eponymous Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Cheltenham also marks the time of the year when many semi-regular punters will first consider opening their wallets, or logging into their online betting sites to enjoy a bet on one of the many Group 1 and Championship races that take place at the meeting.

Over the last few years bet365 Sport has come up with some special offers for Cheltenham and this year, you have been able to bet on many of the races with the Non Runner No Bet guarantee in place, which means if you back a horse in a race, and the trainer and owner instead enter it into a different race, or it doesn’t run in the race for any reason, then you will get your money back.

Of course, once the declarations are made for each race and the field is known, these bets will be replaced by the pre-race betting, so it is a good idea to get your bet on now and you’ll likely get better odds than you would on the day of the race, or compared to the starting price.

Before we take a closer look at this year’s festival, let’s get your Cheltenham knowledge up to speed a little with some fantastic festival facts!

Cheltenham Festival Titbits

  • The Cheltenham Festival meeting can trace its origins back to a first meeting held in Market Harborough in 1860.
  • In between 1860 and 1911, the meeting was held at various points at Market Harborough, Warwick and Cheltenham.
  • However, by 1912, the National Hunt Committee decided that since Cheltenham had invested greatly in the infrastructure around the track and the meeting itself, the course would be the permanent home.
  • The meeting wasn’t called the Cheltenham Festival originally, but as the amount of races and events surrounding the meeting grew, the name quickly caught on.
  • The Cheltenham Gold Cup, the signature race of the meeting, is not the oldest race at the meeting. It was first run in 1924, but the Stayers’ Hurdle was first contested 12 years earlier in 1912.
  • Other big races were first run in 1927 (The Champion Hurdle) and 1959 (The Queen Mother Champion Chase).
  • Originally, a three-day meet, the festival was expanded in 2005 to four days, with six races each day (24 in total). Additionally the Gold Cup was moved to the final day of the meeting which would be the Friday of Cheltenham Festival week.
  • Just a few years later, the meeting was expanded to 28 races (7 per day) and there is at least one Championship race per day, plus a large number of Grade 1 races too.
  • Willie Mullins is comfortably the leading trainer in the festival’s history with 88 winners, ahead of Nicky Henderson on 72 and Paul Nicholls on 46.
  • Ruby Walsh is the most successful jockey at the Festival with 56 winners, Barry Geraghty is next on 34 winners three ahead of Tony McCoy on 31.
  • Some of the most famous horses to have competed at Cheltenham include Arkle, Golden Miller, Kauto Star, Denman, Istabraq, Big Buck’s, Quevega, Tiger Roll, Altior, Thistlecrack and Persian War.

Cheltenham Festival 2023 – Schedule

Cheltenham Festival 2023 Day One – Champion’s Day – 14th March

The most prestigious races on each day are shown in italics.

  • 1.30pm – Supreme Novices Hurdle
  • 2.10pm – Arkle Chase
  • 2.50pm – Ultima Handicap Chase
  • 3.30pmChampion Hurdle
  • 4.10pm – Mares’ Hurdle
  • 4.50pm – Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
  • 5.30pm – National Hunt Chase

Cheltenham Festival 2023 Day Two – Ladies Day – 15th March

  • 1.30pm – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
  • 2.10pm – Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase
  • 2.50pm – Coral Cup
  • 3.30pmQueen Mother Champion Chase
  • 4.10pm – Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase
  • 4.50pm – Grand Annual Handicap Chase
  • 5.30pm – Champion Bumper

Cheltenham Festival 2023 Day Three – St Patrick’s Day – 16th March

  • 1.30pm – Turners Novices’ Chase
  • 2.10pm – Pertemps Final
  • 2.50pmRyanair Chase
  • 3.30pmStayers’ Hurdle
  • 4.10pm – Craft Irish Whisky Co. Plate
  • 4.50pm – Mares Novices Hurdle
  • 5.30pm – Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup

Cheltenham Festival 2023 Day Four – Gold Cup Day – 17th March

  • 1.30pm – JCB Triumph Hurdle
  • 2.10pm – County Hurdle
  • 2.50pm – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
  • 3.30pmCheltenham Gold Cup
  • 4.10pm – Hunters’ Chase
  • 4.50pm – Mares’ Chase
  • 5.30pm – Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle

Who Are The Horses To Watch Or Back At This Year’s Cheltenham Festival?

With 28 races and a host of fantastic horses set to take part in this year’s meeting, who are the ones to take a closer look at and in which races are they most likely to run?

Day One

  • Supreme Novices Hurdle – Facile Vega (2/1)
  • Arkle Chase – El Fabiolo (11/8) or Jonbon (6/4)
  • Champion Hurdle – Constitution Hill (1/3)
  • Mares Hurdle – Honeysuckle (9/4), Epatante or Marie’s Rock (all 3/1)

Day Two

  • Coral Cup – Three Card Brag (12/1)* or HMS Seahorse (8/1)
  • Champion Chase – Edwardstone (7/4) or Energumene (15/8)
  • Cross Country Chase – Delta Work (Evens) or Galvin (9/4)

Day Three

  • Pertemps Handicap Hurdle – Salvador Ziggy (9/1)
  • Ryanair Chase – Shishkin (8/11)
  • Stayers’ Hurdle – Blazing Khal (3/1), Teahupoo (4/1) or Marie’s Rock (4/1)
  • Kim Muir Challenge Cup – Panic Attack (33/1 – Each Way)

Day Four

  • Triumph Hurdle – Lossiemouth (13/8)
  • Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle – Three Card Brag (7/1)* or Maximilian (20/1)
  • Cheltenham Gold Cup – Galopin Des Champs (6/4)
  • Mares’ Chase – Jeremys Flame (9/2)

*Three Card Brag is entered into both the Coral Cup and the Albert Bartlett at present and a decision will be made about which race to target nearer the time. I’d back the horse in either of the two races it could run in.

This year promises to be a hugely exciting event and with almost 70,000 racegoers set to attend on each of the four days, the famous Cheltenham Roar should be in full voice when that first race of the Festival gets underway on Tuesday next week!