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11 Dec 2019

What to expect on the different days at Cheltenham Festival

Cheltenham Festival is one of horse racing’s most esteemed meetings in the calendar. It sets the tone for the season with jockeys and horses flocking to the Cotswolds to compete in the events. 

In 2018, over 250,000 people attended the meeting over the four days making it one of the biggest horse racing events in the calendar. If you’re one of the many people planning on attending the meeting, take a look at what to expect on each day below to see which day fits your fancy. 

Day One 

The first day of the festival contains seven different events, from the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at 1:30pm to the National Hunt Challenge Cup at 5:30pm. The lowest prize money a jockey can collect on this day is £70,000, with the highest reaching £450,000 at the Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy – the highlight of the day. 

Earlier this year – and for the third year running – JP McManus owned the first horse to cross the finish line, but it was a shock victory for Mark Walsh who saddled underdog Espoir D’Allen. The horse was priced at odds of 16/1 to win the Champion Hurdle. If you’re looking to get involved in the Cheltenham Festival betting, perhaps the underdogs are the ones to watch. 

Day Two

In another day filled with seven events, day two of the festival sees one of the weekend’s longest events, the Cross Country Chase spanning over three miles and six furlongs, the prize money for which stacks a total of £65,000. But it is the Queen Mother Champion Chase that supplies the top prize of the day. 

Last year – and for the second year in a row – jockey Nico de Boinville and horse Altior took home the grand prize of £400,000. It was de Boinville’s third time winning the event alongside trainer Nicky Henderson. This year, the bookies have the thoroughbred as the favourite to win for the third time, but will an underdog seize the day instead? 

Day Three 

The third day at the festival features two highlight events, the Festival Trophy and the Stayers’ Hurdle – both come with a hefty prize pot of £350,000 and £325,000, respectively.

Last year, jockey Bryony Frost became the first female to win a Grade One race at the meeting with horse Frodon, winning the Festival Trophy by one-and-a-quarter lengths over Aso – cementing both of their names in the history books. In the Stayers’ Hurdle, jockey Paul Townsend won the race with Paisley Park, who is favourite to win the event once more. 

Day Four 

Day four is the most popular of all and is known as Gold Cup Day. The main event, as you’d expect is the Gold Cup, which supplies an incredible purse of £625,000. Last year Al Boum Photo pushed through the pack to win first place, against the odds. 

For trainer Willie Mullins, it was the first time he had won Cheltenham Festival’s esteemed Gold Cup. It meant he had finally reached the top level of success, even though he is the most decorated trainer in the history of the meeting with 65 winners as of 2019.