Every year in the springtime, around St. Patrick’s Day, one of the biggest horse racing events of the year takes place – The Cheltenham Festival.

Each year sees four days of the highest quality racing over the jumps in one of the biggest and most prestigious meetings of the year in all horse racing disciplines.

We’ve covered this amazing event every year since 2017 in one form or another and this year will be no different!

Not only that, over the years bet365 Sport have come up with a range of special offers for Cheltenham, including Free Cheltenham Festival Bets in 2018, over 200,000 Free Spins from bet365 Casino ahead of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival and Cheltenham Festival Freerolls in 2022!

We’re not sure what bet365 Sport will have to offer customers for the next Cheltenham Festival, but there will be plenty of antepost betting on the big races available, at pretty much any time of the year!

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But what is it that makes the Cheltenham Festival so special in the racing calendar?

Well, we’ve scoured the record books for some fantastic festival facts that will help you understand why the Cheltenham Festival is, for many, THE horse racing meet of the year!

Cheltenham Festival Fantastic Facts, Figures, Stats and Stories

Cheltenham Festival
Image by Gianni Crestani from Pixabay

The Basics

  • The Cheltenham Festival takes place every year in the middle of March, usually around St Patrick’s Day (17th March), although occasionally the meeting may not fall at quite the right time to cover the day.
  • The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most prestigious race of the Cheltenham Festival and is held on the final day of the meeting (usually a Friday) each year.
  • The record prize money for the Cheltenham Gold Cup alone is £625,000.
  • In 2019, the Cheltenham Festival total prize fund for the four days of racing was over £4.59 million. That is the most prize money of any jump’s festival in the world. Over £1m per day is available to be won.
  • There are five feature races run during the Cheltenham Festival each year. The Cheltenham Gold Cup, The Queen Mother Champion Chase, The Champion Hurdle, The Ryanair Chase and the Stayers’ Hurdle.
  • The average attendance over the four days of racing is 65,000, with 71,600 attending on Cheltenham Gold Cup Day.
  • It is estimated that across the entire Cheltenham Festival, around £500m in bets are made each year.
  • The first Cheltenham Festival took place in 1860.

Record Setters

  • Golden Miller became the first horse to win both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Grand National in a single season, achieving the feat in 1934. He remains the only horse to have ever completed the famous double. The horse also holds the record for most Cheltenham Gold Cup victirories with five in succession from 1932 to 1939.
  • Aside from Golden Miller, only seven other horses have won the race more than once. Arkle, Best Mate and Cottage Rake each won three times, while Al Boum Photo, Kauto Star, L’Escargot and Easter Hero won the race twice.
  • Ruby Walsh holds the record for the number of wins ridden by a jockey in a single Cheltenham Festival when he landed seven during the 2016 event.
  • The horse that holds the record for the most consecutive wins in a race is Quevega, who won the Mares’ Hurdle six times in succession from 2009 to 2014.
  • Katie Walsh was the first female jockey to win a Grade 1 race at the Festival, achieving the feat in the Weatherby’s Champion Bumper in 2018. A year later, two female jockeys, Bryony Frost and Racheal Blackmore both won a Grade 1 race.
  • Since 2011, Willie Mullins has trained the most winners at the Cheltenham Festival in every year bar 2012 (Nicky Henderson) and 2017 and 2018 (Gordon Elliott).

Cheltenham Gold Cup Factoids

  • Dorothy Paget the owner of Golden Miller has had the most success in the race also winning with Roman Hackle and Mont Tremblant to add to Golden Miller’s five wins.
  • Tom Dreaper is the most successful trainer in the history of the Gold Cup, winning it five times with three different horses.
  • Just four mares have won the Cheltenham Gold Cup – Ballinode (1925), Kerstin (1958), Glencaraig Lady (1972) and Dawn Run (1986)
  • The longest odds winner of the race was Norton’s Coin who won at odds of 100/1 in 1990.
  • The shortest price winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup was Arkle, who was 1-10 to win in 1966.
  • Only one grey horse has won the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Desert Orchid in 1989.
  • Irish trainers have won the Gold Cup on 29 occasions. Other than that the only other oversees trained winner was The Fellow in 1994 who was trained in France.
  • The fastest winning time for the Cheltenham Gold Cup is 6 minutes, 29.7 seconds, which was achieved by Long Run in 2011.

Cheltenham Festival Facts and Figures

  • There are over 12,320 yards of running rails surrounding the Cheltenham track.
  • Every season, 5,000 bundles of birch are used for the fences.
  • The Cheltenham Festival features 28 Jumps races across four days, with 7 races per day.
  • There are 22 fences jumped during the signature Cheltenham Gold Cup race.
  • It is estimated that across the four days of the festival, Cheltenham Spa train station sees 134,600 people use its facilities.
  • 80,000 people use the shuttle bus service that runs between the town centre and the race course.
  • An average of 9,125 vehicles park at the race course each day of the four days of the meeting.
  • Each day there are 100 helicopters that fly in and out of the racecourse delivering wealthy owners and clients to the festival.
  • Ryanair puts on an additional 30 flights from Dublin to Birmingham to cope with the demand of around 20,000 Irish fans who want to attend the Cheltenham Festival.
  • Outside of the two World Wars, 2001 is the only year where the Cheltenham Festival did not take place, due to a Foot and Mouth outbreak that hit the UK at that time.
  • The 3-storey temporary structure installed for the festival is the largest three-tiered temporary structure in Europe.
  • Over 250 bookmakers will operate on the rails each day of the festival.
  • 1,000 press members will be given accreditation to cover the festival.
  • It is estimated that the Cheltenham Festival generates around £100,000,000 for the local economy in Cloucestershire every year.

Eating and Drinking at the Cheltenham Festival

Plenty of food is consumed at the Cheltenham Festival. Typically racegoers get through the following in a typical four-day festival: –

  • 9 tonnes of potatoes
  • 5 tones of smoked salmon and fresh salmon.
  • 9,000+ gallons of tea and coffee
  • 5 tonnes of cheese is eaten at the festival.
  • 45,000 hospitality meals served by over 350 chefs catering the event.
  • There are around 3,800 people on the catering team for a typical Cheltenham Festival.
  • 45,000 afternoon teas are served, and the same number of bread rolls are used.
  • The racecourse will have 15 restaurants, 30 temporary kitchens and 74 mobile catering units to serve customers during each day of the festival.
  • 24 Marquees are available in case of inclement weather.
  • There are enough bar counter tops around the festival site to cover 8 furlongs (around 1.6 kilometres or 1 mile).

In the run up to the festival, do check bet365 Sport for their antepost section for Non Runner No Bet markets on each of the 28 races, as well as standard antepost betting on each race and a selection of exciting specials based on the most successful trainers and jockeys at the Cheltenham Festival!