The 2020 edition of the highly anticipated Cheltenham Festival is now just days away. It is the showpiece event of the National Hunt season with prize money for the Gold Cup being second only to Aintree’s Grand National, at a whopping £625,000. In this blog, we preview The Festival, explore its history and touch on which horses to look out for this year.
Each of the four days has its own headline event, with Tuesday's showpiece race as the Champion Hurdle, the Queen Mother Champion Chase topping the Wednesday bill and Thursday hosting two prize races in the Ryanair Chase and Stayers’ Hurdle. All three days set the scene for Friday, the final race day, which features the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup. This is run over a distance of three miles and two and half furlongs, with 22 fences jumped during the race. Cheltenham hosts a wealth of notable races as seen above, so it’s no wonder that this festival is noted for its atmosphere; the ‘Cheltenham roar’ refers to the enormous amounts of noise generated by the crowds of spectators, as the starter raises the tape for the first race of the festival.
HOW TO DO A DAY AT CHELTENHAM
The Festival is definitely an event that is earmarked in every horse-racing fan’s calendar. A chance to mingle with the rich and famous, sipping on Pimm’s throughout the day and placing bets on the horses with the most bizarre names in the outfit you picked out weeks before. It really is a highlight of both the social and sporting calendars. To get the most out of your day at The Festival, here are some of the tips we have pulled together.
BEFORE THE RACE - soak up the racing excitement in the pre-parade ring; get there at least 30 mins prior to the race to see horses warming up before they are saddled. Secondly, check out the horse you’d like to place a bet on when they are guided around the parade ring. Keep an eye out for jockeys here also, who will emerge to receive instructions from their trainers after being ‘weighed in’. After this, go to one of the course’s kiosks to place your bets on your lucky winner. Here, you can head to the stands with your betting slip in hand to get a good view of the winner - which is hopefully yours! For more tips and tricks on how to spot a winner, click here.
AFTER THE RACE - No matter the race result, be sure to head back to the winner’s enclosure to see the jockeys being interviewed and the horses post-race.
Take your Cheltenham experience to the next level and enjoy an even-better atmosphere with fully inclusive hospitality. Because, if you’re enjoying first-class racing, you need the first-class experience to go with it, right? We have a range of exciting hospitality opportunities tailor-made to suit all budgets. Whether its enjoying an exquisite four-course menu designed and delivered by Albert Roux OBE at Chez Roux, soaking up the race-day action at the heart of The Village in Horseshoe Pavilion, or combining a Pan Asian Theatre experience with the finest racecourse backdrop in Theatre @ The Festival, we have something for everyone to enjoy. Explore more hospitality options for The Cheltenham Festival here.
ONES TO WATCH
Although the final field won’t be decided until 48 hours before the race, here are some to look out for:
Faugheen, Champion’s Hurdle - the bookmakers’ favourite having won nine out of nine outings. Also, his trainer, Willie Mullins, is one of the most successful in Cheltenham’s history with 65 winners. No pressure Willie.
Defi Du Seil, QM Champion Chase - this young chaser has won all three starts this winter; his jumping and smart turn of foot to land is definitely nothing short of impressive. He heads to the Champion Chase with everything in his favour, including a squeaky clean record at Cheltenham, with six wins from eight starts over hurdles and fences.
Al Boum, Gold Cup - Last year’s Cheltenham hero and the favourite to make it a second win this year for the most prestigious race of the week. Another one of Willie Mullins’ horses, and carrying odds of 4/1, this racehorse has earned himself a wealth of respect in the industry and will definitely be the horse to beat.
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