For racing fans this is surely one of the most exciting times of the year. The Cheltenham Festival, taking place this year from 13th – 16th March 2018, bring together the best of the best in a feast of top class (several group 1 races) horse racing action. Everyone who’s anyone in the racing world from owners to trainers and jockey’s to horses will be there. Winning some of the most prestigious Cheltenham Festival races, such as the Cheltenham Gold Cup gets your name fast-tracked to the history books. Its an accolade every owner, trainer of jockey wants on their resume.
To celebrate Cheltenham I’ve detailed the running order of races below. Click through for a brief explanation of each race as well as recent history and predictions / tips for this year’s Cheltenham Festival races!
– Cheltenham Festival 2018 Races –
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
Arkle Challenge Trophy
Festival Trophy Handicap Chase
David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle
National Hunt Challenge Cup
Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase
Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle
Queen Mother Champion Chase
Cross Country Chase
Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle
Golden Miller Novices’ Chase
Mildmay of Flete Challenge Cup
Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup
Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle
County Handicap Hurdle
Spa Novices’ Hurdle
Cheltenham Gold Cup
Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle
Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase
This is the final race of the Cheltenham Festival, the seventh race on the fourth day -Friday 16th March 2018 at 17.30 GMT. Run on the New Course at Prestbury Park, this race for horses aged five and upwards, over a distance of two miles and half a furlong, is a Grade 3 National Hunt chase.
2017 winner was Rock The World (10/1), second place went to Gardefort (20/1) and third place Theinval (9/1). Statistics state that 8 out of the last 14 winners had previously won on the same course, but as it’s the final race of the Cheltenham Festival, and with 14 of the last 39 winners coming in at odds of 10/1 or less, you won’t get too much back for your stake.
Don’t Touch It by Jessica Harrington is favourite for 2018 at 10-1, while Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson are the trainers to keep an eye open for on the British side.
In true racing fashion, the Festival finishes with one of the most challenging races of the week. While many horses will enter the race thinking they have a chance of victory, this is a race with a very competitive handicap. The horses taking part need to not only be able to keep up a strong pace, but also to be able to jump well, which gives the crowd plenty of excitement and drama throughout the race. What a fantastic race to end the week at the Cheltenham Festival.
Named after one of the greatest horse trainers of recent times, Martin Pipe, who has since handed over the licence of the race to David, his son. This competitive event at Cheltenham, has proved to be a stepping stone to greater things in the National Hunt event calendar.
The handicap hurdle takes place in 2018 on 16th March, at 4.50pm GMT. With a distance of 2 miles and 4 and a half furlongs over 14 fences, this Class 2 event is run on the New Course, for horses ages four years and older. Total Prize money stands at £70,000.
This hurdle race for conditional jockeys, was won in 2017 by Champagne Classic (12/1) with jockey JJ Slevin for Gordon Elliot. Second place was awarded to Verni (25/1) and third place Runfordave at (9/1). No jockey or horse has won the race more than once, although trainer Willie Mullins has had three victories with Killultagh Vic in 2015, Don Poli in 2014 and Sir Des Champs in 2011.
As there a large number of horses racing (currently around 141 listed) the winning entrants need to have the speed to maintain a decent position, yes also need to be able to keep going for the whole distance of over 2 miles and 4 and a half furlongs. Flawless Escape is the 2018 favourite to date, ( at 6-1f).
This National Hunt Chase is run on the New Course at Cheltenham, over 22 fences and is especially for amateur riders. The distance is over three miles and two and a half furlongs, and is for horses age five years and more. Taking place on Friday, 16th March at 16.10 GMT, this Foxhunter Chase is the fifth race on the fourth day of the Festival.
The 2017 winner was Pacha Du Polder at (16/1), with Wonderful Charm coming in second place (7/2) and third, Barel of Laughs at (100/1). With three victories, Colman Sweeney is most named winner with Salsify in both 2012 and 2013, and also Sleeping Night in 2005. Highest number of wins goes to trainer Richard Barber, who had victories with Earthmover (1998), Fantus (1995 and 1997) and Rushing Wild (1992).
This is always a popular race for punters to take a gamble, as the Cheltenham Festival nears its close. Recent race trends have shown that 9 out of the last 10 winners had previously run in 3 or less handicap races, and all of the last 10 winners have won races on fields over 3 miles. The race is often referred to as the Amateur Gold Cup, named because the chase is run over the same distance and on the same course as the actual Gold Cup.
The climax of the entire Cheltenham Festival, is the showpiece Gold Cup race, in its traditional slot on Friday 16th March at 15.30 GMT. The winner of this great spectacle is decided on this final day of racing, when nothing can beat the famous Cheltenham Roar, as the horses race up the hill to be the prestigious winner of the Timico Gold Cup Steeple Chase event.
Past great names, such as Desert Orchid, Arkle and Golden Miller and more recent stars like Kauto Star and Best Mate, have all discovered victory in this Cheltenham Gold Cup race. Previous year’s winners were 2017 -Sizing John with jockey Robbie Power trained by Jessica Harrington at (7-1) in a thrilling race with challengers Minella Rocco and Native River, and 2016 – Don Cossack ridden by Bryan Cooper and trainer Gordon Elliot (9-4f).
This year’s Gold Cup favourites are Might Bite with jockey Nico de Boinville and Sizing John, last year’s winner. Trainer Jessica Harrington comments that Sizing John is well on track to defend his title. Over the years, this meeting has given so many incredible stories and great champions, this Timico Gold Cup Steeple Chase event is the one that every hurdler or chaser would love to win.