The Cheltenham Festival features championship races over hurdles and fences. About one third of the Grade 1 races over the season take place over the four days of the Cheltenham Festival in March. There is a major championship race on each day. The most prestigious race for hurdlers is the Champion Hurdle and the most prestigious races for chasers is the Gold Cup. These races take place on the first and fourth and last day of the Cheltenham Festival. These two races attract the highest turnover on the day of the race and in ante post betting. The Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup are the two most famous races run at the Cheltenham Festival. Ante post betting is available up to a year in advance of the race and the markets fluctuate in the months leading up to the Cheltenham Festival.
Cheltenham Festival Champion Hurdle
The Champion Hurdle is the feature race of the Tuesday which is the first day of the Cheltenham Festival. A Racing Post survey found that this is the most popular single race day in the UK. There is a massive roar from the crowds at the start of the opening race of the Cheltenham Festival. It’s a two-mile contest for novice hurdlers and the winner often becomes a leading contender for the Champion Hurdle a year later. That race is the fourth race on the card on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival. The race distance is two miles and there are eight obstacles on the Old Course. The race lasts about four minutes and it’s over one circuit and a bit. The Champion Hurdle has a history of producing multiple winners and Buveur d’Air was the champion in 2017 and 2018. He is the best two mile hurdler by some distance so a third win is on the cards on the first day of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival. A leading contender could emerge from the trials in the months leading up to a race but it would take a special horse to dislodge Buveur d’Air from favouritism for the most important race over hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival.
Cheltenham Festival Gold Cup
The Blue Riband race for steeplechasers is the Gold Cup which is the feature of the fourth day of the Cheltenham Festival. The race distance is three miles and two furlongs and there are 22 fences to be jumped. The race takes place over two circuits and a bit of the New Course which is used for racing on the Thursday and Friday of the Cheltenham Festival. The biggest crowd of the four days attend Gold Cup day at the meeting. The race is the most prestigious staying chase in the world. Ante post and race day betting is huge and the Gold Cup is the highest turnover race at the Cheltenham Festival. Native River won the race in 2018 but leading novice from last season, Presenting Percy, is a worthy favourite for the most important race at the Cheltenham Festival.