The Cheltenham Festival will soon be here with four days of horse racing pleasure taking place on the Gloucestershire turf for one of the most entertaining meets in the horse racing calendar.
With 28 races spanning the four days, punters will be spoilt for choice over which horses to have a flurry on. To kick off the Festival, Shishkin at 5/2 is favourite to win the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle whilst Column of Fire is 8/1 favourite to triumph at the last race on Friday afternoon – the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle. Of course, you can keep a tab on all odds and offers with horse racing tips and free betting picks as the Festival nears.
But, just which races should viewers and spectators be getting excited about?
Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – Tuesday
The one to kick everything off, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is over two miles long and eight fences. And, just you wait for the famous Cheltenham roar to greet viewers for the first time as the horses set off. A Grade One National Hunt hurdle race, a £125,000 prize fund is a superb reward for novices.
Envoi Allen and Fiddlerontheroof are leading the way in the betting, with both sitting at 8/1.
Champion Hurdle – Tuesday
The main event on the first day is the Champion Hurdle, and, rightly so. First raced in 1927, the Champion Hurdle is the most prestigious hurdling event in the National Hunt calendar. Ran over two miles, the race is open to those over four years of age with a prize purse of a whopping £450,000.
Epatante is currently favourite to take home the Champion Hurdle title with odds of 7/2 with Pentland Hills not far behind at 11/2.
Queen Mother Champion Chase – Wednesday
Grade One National Hunt steeplechase, the Queen Mother Champion Chase ran its inaugural race in 1959. 13 fences to be jumped over a distance just shy of two miles, the Chase is open to horses over the age of five with a £400,000 prize fund.
It will be fascinating to see 2/1 rated Altior in action again as he attempts to fend off the challenge of Chacun Pour Soi at 5/2 and Defi Du Seuil at 9/4.
Ryanair Chase – Thursday
One of the new races added when the Cheltenham Festival became four days instead of three in 2005, the Ryanair Chase is 17 fences long, spanning nearly two-and-a-half miles. A Grade One National Hunt steeplechase, the Chase yields a £350,000 prize fund.
A Plus Tard is the favourite at 5/2 with Min not far behind at 3/1. Chacun Pour Soi at 12/1 should also be monitored.
Gold Cup – Friday
Of course, every jockey’s dream is to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup. A race that was first run in 1924, the Gold Cup is over three miles in distance with a huge £625,000 prize fund at the end for the winner, making it the most valuable non-handicap chase in Britain. With 22 fences scattered around the track, it is not a race to be taken lightly.
Last year’s winner Al Boum Photo is again the favourite at 4/1 with Delta Work at 6/1 and Santini at 7/2.