Cheltenham Racecourse is the home of National Hunt racing. Located at Prestbury Park near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, horse racing fans from across the globe gather in March to watch the best horses in the world do battle at The Cheltenham Festival. A total of 67,500 spectators can fit into this amazing venue, set upon the scenic Cotswold Hills. Also, the racecourse is so busy at times that they had to build their very own rail station.
One of the main attractions at Cheltenham for racegoers is The Centaur, a massive auditorium that can hold up to 2,000 people at any one time. Inside there is a giant screen, bookmaker stalls and bars so many don’t leave the building on big racedays. Also, live bands usually play in here once racing is over during the festival week.
It doesn’t matter what a horse achieves at Kempton, Haydock, Newbury or any other racecourse across the United Kingdom and Ireland. The simple fact is that, in most horse racing fans’ eyes, a horse can only be considered a true great if he succeeds at the Cheltenham Festival. This is the pinnacle of National Hunt racing, where only the very best succeed.
The main racecourse consists of two tracks; the Old Course and the New Course. The New Course is very unique. Over two miles most of the hurdles are jumped very early on in the race; there are only two hurdles to be jumped through the last 7 furlongs of the race. There is an extremely tricky downhill fence on the New Course and there is also a much longer run in than the Old Course. Alongside the two main tracks, there is also a Cross Country course built inside the main course. All of our Cheltenham tips take these factors into account.
Cheltenham starts each season with the Showcase Meeting in October, followed by the three day Open Meeting in November and the two day International Meeting in December. The late January meeting is the official “Trials Day” and is the last meeting at the course before the Festival meeting.
Cheltenham Betting Tips
The course at Cheltenham is a left-handed undulating track with some of the stiffest fences in the country. These can regularly catch out those horses who aren’t giving the obstacles their full respect. This is often most evident at the fourth last fence, which comes immediately after a left hand turn at the top of the hill. Once they run downhill to that fence, horses then have to negotiate an excruciating last half mile which is all uphill to the winning post. All of these factors should be taken into account when picking Cheltenham bets.
If a horse lacks stamina, they will be found out on the hill at the Cheltenham races. The perfect example of this is Silviniaco Conti, winner of a Charlie Hall Chase, Denman Chase, two King Georges, two Betfred Bowls and an Ascot Chase to name but a few. He could destroy his rivals on flat tracks. However, when he arrived at Cheltenham, he was made to look an ordinary horse as he simply didn’t stay up the Cheltenham hill and also couldn’t handle the unique layout and undulations of the course. This is why course form is so important when you are looking through the form book in search of a winner at. Form at Sandown can also be helpful as it is another course which places an emphasis on stamina.
Cheltenham Betting Trends
Philip Hobbs has been the top trainer over fences at Cheltenham throughout the last three years, with 18 wins to his name. Balthazar King, Chance Du Roy, Captain Chris and Copper Bleu are all Cheltenham Festival winners over fences that people will always remember when the name Hobbs is mentioned.
Over hurdles during the same time period, Paul Nicholls edges it with 16 winners, whilst Nicky Henderson and Willie Mullins are joint second with 14 winners. Nicholls has had 40 Cheltenham Festival winners so far in his career and has trained some true greats, such as See More Business, Kauto Star, Denman, Master Minded, Neptune Collonges, Tidal Bay and Big Bucks. He does currently have a lack of top class Grade 1 animals which is a concern. However, he still remains the UK’s top trainer.
The top jockey at Cheltenham over the past three years over fences is Richard Johnson who has ridden 18 winners. Since the departure of Sir Tony McCoy, he has finally snatched the glory he has always strived for and is our new Champion Jockey. Over hurdles, it is Barry Geraghty who has ridden the most winners, with 13 to his name over the past three seasons.
Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci have dominated the Cheltenham Festival over the past few years. Their partnership is extremely fruitful and very daunting for the other owners and trainers who seek success during the big week in March. Stars like Faugheen, Annie Power, Vautour and Vroum Vroum Mag are but a few of the names that we will see in action over the coming seasons. Those who follow Willie Mullins with their Cheltenham tips won’t go too far wrong.
Cheltenham Festival Races
- Arkle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) (2m)
- Festival Trophy Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (3m 110y)
- National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup (Listed) (4m)
- Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (2m 110y)
- David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (2m 4f)
- Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) (2m 110y)
- Centenary Novices’ Chase (Handicap) (2m 4f 110y)
- Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase (Handicap) (3m 7f)
- Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (2m 5f)
- Coral Cup (Grade 3) (2m 5f)
- RSA Chase (Grade 1) (3m 110y)
- Champion Bumper (Grade 1) (2m 110y)
- Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) (2m)
- Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (2m 110y)
- Pertemps Final (Handicap) (3m)
- World Hurdle (Grade 1) (3m)
- Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup (Handicap) (3m 1f 110y)
- JLT Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (2m 4f)
- Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) (2m 5f)
- Byrne Group Plate (Grade 3) (2m 4f)
- CGA Foxhunter Chase (Conditions) (3m 2f 110y)
- Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) (2m 1f)
- Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (2m 1f)
- Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (2m 4f 110y)
- Spa Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (3 miles)
- Cheltenham Gold Cup (Grade 1) (3m 2f 110y)
- Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase (Grade 3) (2m 110y)
Cheltenham Feature Races
- Fairlawne Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (2m 5f)
- Dipper Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) (2m 5f)
- Finesse Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (2m 1f)
- Murphy Group Chase (Grade 3) (2m 5f)
- Cotswold Chase (Grade 2) (3m 1f 110y)
- Cleeve Hurdle (Grade 2) (3m)
- Classic Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (2m 4f 110y)
- Silver Trophy Chase (Grade 2) (2m 5f)
- BetVictor Gold Cup (Grade 3) (2m 4f 110y)
- Murphy Group Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (3m 3f 110y)
- Hyde Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (2m 5f)
- Prestbury Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (2m 110y)
- November Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) (2m)
- Sharp Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (2m 110y)
- Greatwood Hurdle (Grade 3) (2m 110y)
- Ryman Stationery Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (3m 1f 110y)
- Bristol Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (3m)
- December Gold Cup (Grade 3) (2m 5f)
- International Hurdle (Grade 2) (2m 1f)
- Relkeel Hurdle (Grade 2) (2m 4f 110y)