The Cheltenham Festival Horse Racing Event
The Cheltenham Festival is a National Hunt race meeting, featuring a number of races over fences and hurdles. The Grand National meeting at Aintree is the only National Hunt meet that awards more prize money than the Cheltenham Festival, which takes place every year in March at the Cheltenham Racecourse. It's one of the biggest horse racing betting events in Britain, and hundreds of millions are gambled during its four days. The Cheltenham Festival attracts huge audiences and is well known for having one of the best atmospheres.
The horses at the Festival are typically leading jump horses from Great Britain and Ireland with very few international horses taking part. That said, a number of French trained horses can usually be expected most years. The biggest race at the Cheltenham Festival is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which was the first championship race to be held as part of the meeting. These days there are four championship races, one on each of the four days for a total of 27 races overall.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is held on the last day of the Cheltenham Festival (traditionally a Friday) and is the most prestigious of the race meeting. It is, in fact, one of the biggest of all the annual National Hunt races. It's run over 3 miles and 2.5 furlongs, and there are a total of 22 fences that the horses must jump. The race was established in 1924 and is open to five-year-olds and older. The total prize pool for the race is around £500,000, and there have been some illustrious winners throughout its history: Arkle, Desert Orchid, Best Mate, and Kauto Star to name just a few.
Other Races at the Cheltenham Festival
As mentioned, each of the four days of racing at the Cheltenham Festival features a championship race as well as several others. The main race on the first day is the Champion Hurdle open to horses aged four years and older, who run a distance of just over 2 miles. The race was founded in 1927 and currently has a prize pool on offer of over £350,000. Other races on the first day include the Supreme Novices Hurdles and the Arkle Challenge Trophy.
Day two of the Cheltenham Festival has seven races, the main one being the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Established in 1959, it's run over 2 miles and is open to five-year-olds and over. Two other notable races on the second day are the National Hunt Steeple Chase and the Champion Bumper. The main race on day three is the World Hurdle, a 3-mile race with 12 hurdles to jump. It's open to horses aged four years and older and has a prize pool of around £250,000.
Betting on the 2016 Festival
With four days of racing and a total of 28 races, there are plenty of betting opportunities at the Cheltenham Festival. Like most National Hunt racing, the races are often unpredictable, and it's not always easy to pick winners. However, if you spend a bit of time studying the form guide, you are sure to find a few good value bets: particularly if you are betting each way. There are usually a number of other outcomes you can bet on at the Cheltenham Festival, such as which jockey will ride the most winners over the four days.
Of the many ways to bet on horse racing, the simplest is probably to use an online bookmaker. There are a large number of online betting sites on the Internet, most covering horse racing reasonably comprehensively. The top UK gambling sites will almost certainly have a wide range of betting markets on the Cheltenham Festival. There are a few online betting sites that we believe are particularly good when it comes to horse racing betting. For further details, please visit our page outlining the best horse racing sites.
Author: Brad Johnson
Updated: July 2015
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