Topped only by the rather overtly lofty Royal Ascot race meeting, the Cheltenham Festival is the key highlight of the year's racing calendar for many. Nestled within the beautiful Cotswolds Hills, the festival promises fans four whole days of races, fashion and frivolity, all presented in a manner that makes Cheltenham one of the most open, racing-rookie friendly events of the year. With so much to do and see, what does this year hold for the event?
Things kick off on the 10th of March with Cheltenham's Champion Day, a day packed to the brim with races including the Stan James Champion Hurdle Race, the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, Champion Hurdle and the hotly anticipated Arkle Challenge Trophy. A demanding day for horses and jockeys, Champion Day truly kicks off the four day festival in a truly racing-focused manner that will prove a boon for staunch racing lovers!
Day two of the festival is Ladies Day, so visitors should expect the festival grounds to be awash with champagne and flamboyant headwear! It's not all about the fashion on Wednesday however; the RSA Steeple Chase, a 3 mile, 1/2 furlong slog through fences and hedges takes place, and already looks to be a hot competition. This race is followed by the Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase, Cross Country Handicap Chase and Champion Bumper. Frantic runners, thrilling results and surprises at every corner!
On Thursday 12th of March Cheltenham celebrates St Patrick's Thursday, and among the throngs of Irishmen, rosy-cheeked punters and purveyors of that most important of refreshments- Guinness- there's also a heap of racing action. The JLT Novices Chase, an exciting event that pits below top class competitors against each other in a race that regularly sees high-odds winners prove their prowess, often to the delight of lucky punters. If you're thinking of wagering a little cash on a favourite though, make sure to get all your racing news from Coral's mobile app; the provider will be offering a huge amount of Cheltenham-specific news throughout the festival- a great resource for any punter! The Ryanair Chase and Ladbrokes World Hurdle, the day's two main events, should also not be missed.
Finally on Friday 13th of March Cheltenham sees it's biggest and boldest day- Gold Cup Day. Amazing runners, the vast majority of which are world class contenders, will be taking part on the 13th, across a variety of difficult events. The Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, County Handicap Hurdle and JCB Triumph Hurdle all will be close, electrifying races, but the event of the day definitely has to be the Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase, and unforgiving 3 mile, 2 1/2 furlong slog that pits the best of the best against each other, altogether forging an amazing end to the festival!