Get Ready for One Of The Biggest Horse Racing Meetings Of 2019!

The second week of March is always one that horse racing fans will have circled in their diary. That’s because the week that contains St Patrick’s Day is also the week which sees one of the biggest horse racing meets of the year, the Cheltenham Festival, take place.

With over £4.5 million in prize money up for grabs across the four days (from the 12th-15th March), many of the world’s finest jumpers will be in attendance to compete in a number of massive races, including of course the signature event, the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.

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The event is famous for its more down-to-earth approach than other top meetings of the year, such as Royal Ascot, and it attracts many thousands of punters from all over the world to the event. Indeed, it is one of the most popular sporting events in the UK in terms of attendance and perhaps in the National Hunt season, only the Grand National meeting at Aintree in Liverpool in April comes close to matching it.

There are four days of races to enjoy with a number of top races each day. The full schedule for the four days is outlined below and following that, we will bring you our tips on who you should be backing in the big races.

Cheltenham Festival Day One – Champion Day

  • 30 – Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
  • 10 – The Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase
  • 50 – The Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase
  • 30 – The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy
  • 10 – The OLBG Mares’ Hurdle Race
  • 50 – The National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup
  • 30 – The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase

Cheltenham Festival Day Two – Ladies Day

  • 30 – The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
  • 10 – The RSA Steeple Chase
  • 50 – The Coral Cup Hurdle
  • 30 – The Betway Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase
  • 10 – The Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase
  • 50 – The Boodles Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle
  • 30 – The Weatherbys Champion Bumper

Cheltenham Festival Day Three – St. Patrick’s Thursday

  • 30 – The JLT Novices Chase
  • 10 – The Pertemps Network Final
  • 50 – The Ryanair Steeple Chase
  • 30 – The Sun Racing Stayers Hurdle
  • 10 – The Brown Advisory and Merribelle Stable Plate
  • 50 – The Trull House Stud Mares Novices Hurdle
  • 30 – The Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Steeple Chase

Cheltenham Festival Day Four – Gold Cup Day

  • 30 – The JCB Triumph Hurdle
  • 10 – The Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle
  • 50 – The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Chase
  • 30 – The Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup
  • 10 – The St James’s Place Foxhunter Steeple Chase Challenge Cup
  • 50 – The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual
  • 30 – The Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

Coverage of Cheltenham

The first five races of Cheltenham each day will be shown live on TV with ITV Racing, and of course you can view a Live Stream of the race, if you have made a bet of at least 50p on the outcome, when you place your bets at bet365 Sport. Remember, if you are not yet a customer, new customers can sign up with the latest bet365 New Customer Bonus, which offers you the chance to earn up to £100 in bet credits.

Remember, bet365 will have extensive coverage on all the races at Cheltenham and all their usual horse racing promotions and offers will be available for the event, such as the Best Odds Guaranteed deal.

Cheltenham Festival Big Race Tips

Day One – Unibet Champion Hurdle

The big race of the day on. the first day is the Unibet Champion Hurdle which features a number of impressive runners with two in particular catching the eye. Apple’s Jade is Gordon Elliot’s big hope in the race and the 7 year old is the current joint-favourite with most bookmakers alongside Nicky Henderson’s Buveur D’Air, who saw his 11-race winning streak come to an end when placed second at Kempton Park on Boxing Day to Verdana Blue. However, Buveur did return to winning form in February when winning over 2 miles at Sandown.

Another one to watch is Willie Mullins Laurina, who after falling and then placing second in its first two races, joined the Mullins stable and has since won its last six races, with Cheltenham Festival veteran Ruby Walsh in the saddle, Laurina should be in amongst the front runners at the end of the race. Mullins also has two other runners, Melon and Sharjah running in the race, while Verdana Blue, the only horse to beat Buveur D’Air of late is another Nicky Henderson entry at 16/1.

Our Tip – This should be a thrilling battle and while Laurina and Buveur D’Air are real challengers, With the latter going for their third win in the race, I just think Apple’s Jade has the right mix of age and experience to land the top prize here.

Day Two – Queen Mother Champion Chase

Day Two of Cheltenham is arguably the day that most horse racing fans are looking forward to with the chance to see one of the most successful horses in Cheltenham history, Altior, back to try and make it three wins in three years in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Unbeaten since October 2015, Altior has won the race comfortably in each of the last three runnings of the event, winning by a minimum of six lengths.

As such, Nico de Boinville’s ride for Nicky Henderson will start as the massive odds-on favourite to win the race and in truth, it should be a formality for the horse to make it four out of four in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. However, if there is going to be a serious challenge to Altior then a number of other horses could run the legend close.

Willie Mullins pair Min and Footpad both have their own claims, as does Un De Sceaux, while Lady Buttons has won all of their last four. Any of these three Irish runners could well pose Altior’s biggest threats to winning the race.

Our Tip – There’s no question for me, this should be Altior’s race to confirm the Nicky Henderson nine-year-old as one of the true legends of Cheltenham in recent years.

Day Three – Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle Chase

If the Queen Mother looks like being a formality, then one of the third day’s big races at Cheltenham promises to be a much more open contest. The Sun Racing Stayer’s Hurdle  boasts a very open field and there is every opportunity for a longer odds win in this Grade 1 race.

The smart money seems to be going towards backing the Emma Lavelle trained Paisley Park, ridden by Aidan Coleman, after a stellar season has seen the horse win its last four races in some style. Most bookies have Paisley Park as their favourites for the race, but it is by no means a foregone conclusion that it will be the winner.

You can never rule out the evergreen Faugheen, Willie Mullins famous ride may now be 11 years of age but it is still a quality operator, however its form over the last couple of years has not been great, suggesting that time may well be catching up with the Cheltenham favourite.

Others to watch include Supasundae, Black Op, Top Notch and Baupaume, while Colin Tizzard’s Kilbricken Storm has been well backed in from 20/1 to 12/1 in the antepost markets.

Our Tip – We’d love Faugheen to find its form, but we think this may be a little too much to ask for the veteran and while Supasundae and Black Op have their supporters, we think Paisley Park is too good and in too strong a form to lose this.

Day Four – Cheltenham Gold Cup

The final day of Cheltenham is always Gold Cup Day and this year’s race currently has 20 runners entered, although this number may be whittled down by the start of the race. The race features a number of famous horses including the likes of Might Bite, Anibale Fly, Bristol De Mai, Native River, Clan Des Obeaux and my personal favourite Thistlecrack.

Despite my love for the Colin Tizzard horse, I think that he is probably a year or two beyond his best and I can’t see him being amongst the front runners here, even as much as I would love him to be, or the fact that injury has surely robbed him of a least one Gold Cup victory in the past few years.

Presenting Percy is the favourite but Clan Des Obeaux and Native River are also very well backed and it seems to be a pick between the three for the winner, although you can never rule out the improving Kemboy, who has won all of its last four races.

Our Tip – This promises to be a very exciting Gold Cup and while I’d love Thistlecrack to win it, I just can’t see it. Presenting Percy has the form, but I think Clan Des Obeaux has the age advantage and is just coming into peak form and as such, they are my pick to win the big race.

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