The Cheltenham Festival is horse racing's pinnacle for jumps racing, considered National Hunt racing's championship, and opens on a Tuesday each March with the famous 'Cheltenham roar'.
Cheltenham Races are a four-day bonanza of jumps racing, widely regarded as the seasonal championships of the National Hunt racing calendar, with crowds exceeding 60,000 each day, and betting turnover hitting £400m.
The best horse racing betting sites have odds available for the Festival races almost all-year round, with the finest jumps horses from Britain, Ireland and France always preparing for the battle up Cheltenham's famous hill.
The four days of the Cheltenham Festival run from Tuesday to Friday, featuring 28 races, including 14 Grade 1s (the highest level of jumps racing), and four blue ribands: the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase, Stayers' Hurdle, and Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Tuesday, March 15 - Champion Day - Click for Race Details
Wednesday, March 16 - Ladies Day - Click for Race Details
Thursday, March 17 - St Patrick's Thursday - Click for Race Details
Friday, March 18 - Cheltenham Gold Cup Day - Click for Race Details
The Cheltenham Festival is what every punter, owner, breeder, trainer and jockey dreams about; it's where everyone wants to have a winner - and bet on a winner.
The four-day horse racing meeting over jumps includes the National Hunt season's four most prestigious races, a pile of competitive handicaps, and a host of tricky novice races that offer incredible betting value.
Though originating as far back as 1860 with the inauguration of the National Hunt Chase, the Cheltenham Festival as we know it did not begin until it made Cheltenham its permanent home in 1911.
Expanding from three days to four days in 2005, the Cheltenham Festival is now the richest jumps racing meeting in the world, with more than £4.5m in prize money up for grabs.
Like it or loathe it, the Cheltenham Festival's draw dictates the jumps season narrative, with ante-post betting markets available for the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase, Stayers' Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup, and many other races with the best betting sites.
There are thousands of ways to bet on the Cheltenham Races, and hundreds of betting strategies, from the simplest (an attractive name) to the most complex (using pace analysis), but they all have one thing in common: value.
Cheltenham Festival betting is vitally important to bookmakers, some saying the results there make or break their entire year. It is one week where the punter is in charge, as Cheltenham betting sites offer as many moneyback specials, free bets, price guarantees, and boosted price offers as possible. Here's three popular bets to have on the Cheltenham Races:
There's a bigger guide to the full range of horse racing bets on our horse racing betting page.
The Cheltenham Festival is the seasonal target for any horse good enough to go, so connections can be planning a horse's challenge there years in advance. It therefore lends itself perfectly to ante-post betting.
Ante-post betting, sometimes known as futures betting, is available on races that are a long way into the future. Races with ante-post betting odds might not even have any horses entered in them yet. A market for a race is considered ante-post until the final declarations are made for the race, and the final field that is set to line up is revealed.
One of the main benefits of betting on Cheltenham ante-post is the potential of bigger betting odds, particularly on horses who have many options at the Festival. There will be odds available on all of the Cheltenham races long before the entries are revealed, and just by being entered, a horse's odds could contract.
Tuesday, March 15 - Champion Day
Wednesday, March 16 - Ladies Day
Thursday, March 17 - St Patrick's Thursday
Friday, March 18 - Cheltenham Gold Cup Day
The feature race of Day One of the Cheltenham Festival is the Champion Hurdle over two miles. Legendary owner JP McManus has a fantastic record in this race, having won it with the likes of Epatante, Espoir d'Allen, and Buveur d'Air recently.
The supporting card is a stellar one, with the curtain being raised by the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. The ‘Cheltenham Roar’ is infamous amongst racing fans as this race regularly produces a future star, as does the Arkle Challenge Trophy.
|13:20||Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) (2m 1/2f)|
|Arkle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) (2m)|
|Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (3m 1/2f)|
|CHAMPION HURDLE (Grade 1) (2m 1/2f)|
|The Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle (Grade 1) (2m 4f)|
|Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (2m 1/2f)|
|National Hunt Novices' Chase (Grade 2) (4m)|
The feature event on Day Two of the festival - also known as Ladies Day - is the Grade One Queen Mother Champion Chase, which looks set to be yet another thrilling renewal. The race has been won in the past by National Hunt legends such as Altior, Sprinter Sacre, Sizing Europe, and Master Minded.
The supporting card features two novice events with a fine record for producing stars of the future in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, while the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase is a unique spectacle not to be missed.
|Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) (2m 5f)|
|Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (3m 1/2f)|
|Coral Cup (Grade 3) (2m 5f)|
|CHAMPION CHASE (Grade 1) (2m)|
|Cross Country Handicap Chase (3m 6f)||Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (2m 1/2f)|
|Champion Bumper (Grade 1) (2m 1/2f)|
With three Grade One contests to savour, the racing continues to take centre-stage on Day Three, with the main event being the Stayers Hurdle. Previously won by the likes of Paisley Park, Big Bucks and Thistlecrack it is a fascinating race and is the highlight of Cheltenham's St.Patrick's Thursday.
Day Three also features the Ryanair Chase, while the Marsh Novices Chase usually serves up a top-class race to get things underway on the penultimate day of the Cheltenham Festival.
|Marsh Novices' Chase (Grade 1) (2m 4f)|
|Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (3m)|
|Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) (2m 5f)|
|STAYERS' HURDLE (Grade 1) (3m)|
|Festival Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (2m 5f)|
|The Parnell Properties Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 1f|
|Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase (3m 2f)|
The pinnacle of the Jumps season is on Day Four of the Festival as the highly anticipated Cheltenham Gold Cup takes place. The blue riband race has an impressive roll of honour and has been won by jumping greats such as Kauto Star, Denman, Best Mate and Al Boum Photo.
The supporting races like the Triumph Hurdle and Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdles always produce some future greats while the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle rounds off the Cheltenham Festival with a touch of class.
|Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) (2m 1f)|
|McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (2m 1f)|
|Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) (3m)|
|CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP (Grade 1) (3m 2 1/2f)|
|Cheltenham Foxhunter Chase (3m 2 1/2f)|
|Mares' Chase (Grade 2) (2m 4f)|
|Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle (2m 4 1/2f)|
Looking for somewhere to watch the Cheltenham Festival? Check out the best live streaming betting sites.
There are four feature races at the Cheltenham Festival, often described as Championship Races. These are the four most prestigious jumps events in horse racing:
|2021||Minella Indo||9/1||7||Jack Kennedy||Henry De Bromhead|
|2020||Al Boum Photo||10/3||8||Paul Townend||Willie Mullins|
|2019||Al Boum Photo||12/1||7||Paul Townend||Willie Mullins|
|2018||Native River||5/1||8||Richard Johnson||Colin Tizzard|
|2017||Sizing John||7/1||7||Robbie Power||Jessica Harrington|
|2016||Don Cossack||9/4||9||Bryan Cooper||Gordon Elliott|
|2015||Coneygree||7/1||8||Nico de Boinville||Mark Bradstock|
|2014||Lord Windermere||20/1||8||Davy Russell||Jim Culloty|
|2013||Bobs Worth||11/4f||8||Barry Geraghty||Nicky Henderson|
|2012||Synchronised||8/1||9||AP McCoy||Jonjo O'Neill|
A phenomenon created by the Cheltenham Races is Cheltenham Festival Preview Nights, events involving a gathering of horse racing experts to talk to a room about Cheltenham, including betting tips and information on runners.
There are so many betting conundrums at Cheltenham that punters welcome such events with glee, especially Cheltenham Preview Nights that are attended by popular trainers, jockeys and owners, as well as well-known racing pundits.
There is a Festival Preview Night in almost every town in Britain and Ireland, and one scheduled for virtually every day from the end of January to the Monday night before the Cheltenham Festival itself - the racecourse hosting one that evening in The Centaur.
Ticket prices for admission to the Cheltenham Festival start at £40, with Cheltenham Gold Cup day starting at £60. There are three enclosures - Club, Tattersalls, and Best Mate - and a host of extra hospitality options. For admission only ticket prices, see below:
You can buy tickets to any Cheltenham Festival day and see prices for restaurants and other facilities at thejockeyclub.co.uk.
The Cheltenham Festival is run at Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham town in England. It's also known as Prestbury Park, because the nearest village to the track is called Prestbury.
Cheltenham is the main town and transport hub for the racecourse though, with most Festival racegoers staying, or travelling through there to get to the races.