It's a perfect time to consider your 2017 Cheltenham betting tips. Four magnificent days of racing action.
14th March – Champion Day
The build-up to this meeting is like no other. The anticipation which leads to the Cheltenham roar heralding the start with the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.
Last year saw wonder horse Annie Power set a course record being only the fourth mare in history to win this race. In truth, there is no better trainer than Willie Mullins for the big occasion. The way this daughter of Shirroco drew clear of her field was exceptional.
Willie Mullins & Ruby Walsh have a fantastic strike rate in this race with five wins each.
Which horse ticks your box for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle?
Remembering Champions: Bula, 1970, trained by Fred Winter and ridden by Paul Kelleway. Ran in a 'golden period' of National Hunt racing for two-mile hurdlers in the 1970s which saw the likes of Night Nurse, Monksfield & Sea Pigeon. Bula was known for his come-from-behind style. In addition to many top class victories, he won the Champion Hurdle twice.
On this six-race card, other highlights include the Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase & Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy.
15th March – Ladies Day
Style meets horseracing supremacy.
Few racegoers will forget last year's Queen Mother Champion Stakes winner – Sprinter Sacre triumphant for Nicky Henderson. Sadly this son of Network will not be heading to Prestbury Park after sustaining a tendon injury in November when preparing for the Tingle Creek.
Can any horse fill the hooves of Sprinter Sacre?
If the betting is to be believed – and all is well come the big day – Willie Mullins may have a very special horse in Douvan.
Remembering Champions: Badsworth Boy, 1983, 1984, 1985, trained by Michael Dickenson and ridden by Robert Earnshaw in the ownership of Doug Armitage. He became the 12th horse in jumping history to earn over £100,000 in prize money. He lived to the age of twenty-seven.
Other race highlights on the day include the Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle & the RSA Steeple Chase.
16th March – St Patrick's Thursday
The third day of the Cheltenham Festival.
Two feature races make this a day worthy of champions. The Ryanair World Hurdle & Ryanair Chase among a tantalising card. Thistlecrack, trained by Colin Tizzard, won the World Hurdle impressively justifying even-money favouritism last year. A true talent. While Vautour took the Ryanair Chase in very comfortable fashion. Sadly, Willie Mullins seven-year-old died in a freak accident at his stables in Carlow, Ireland. Owner, Rich Ricci said: ''It's one of those things.''
The mixed fortunes of racing, so often bittersweet.
Remembering Champions: Alberta's Run, 2010, 2011, trained by Jonjo O'Neill, ridden by A. P. McCoy.
17th March – Gold Cup Day
The fourth day of the Cheltenham Festival. The Gold Cup is the highlight of not only this day but the Festival 2017. Last year saw Gordon Elliott's Don Cossack lead three out to win by over four lengths for owners Gigginstown House Stud. The 9/4 favourite will most likely battle a vintage field with Thistlecrack the new horse on the block earmarked for the greatest steeplechase this year.
He could well start a hot favourite after taking the King George VI Chase defeating Cue Card and noted rivals.
Remembering Champions: Golden Miller, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, trained by Basil Briscoe & Owen Anthony (1936), for owner Dorothy Paget. This son of Goldcourt is the only horse to have won the Gold Cup & Grand National in the same year (1934). Other outstanding winners include: Arkle, Best Mate, Kauto Star & Mill House. Whatever your bets. Good luck.