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2014 Cheltenham Festival tips

  • 2015 Cheltenham Festival dates

    The 2015 Cheltenham Festival dates have been announced and the National Hunt horse racing extravaganza will take place between Tuesday 10th March and Friday 13th March 2014.

    The 2015 Cheltenham Festival is almost here and we're getting seriously excited here at CheltenhamFestival.net HQ!  With the likes of Jezki, Sprinter Sacre, More Of That and Bobs Worth all heading to Prestbury Park next March we're already counting down the days to the 'Greatest Show on Turf' and we have the dates and the full schedule for the meeting.

    The 27 races that make up the Cheltenham Festival are the most hotly contested of the entire racing calendar, with around 500 horses competing for over £3.4 million of win and place prize money which compete only with the Grand National in terms of prestige in the jump racing calendar.

    Over the four days, we will witness the world's best horses compete at the home of jump racing and you won't want to miss a beat of the action.
    Take a look at the full schedule ahead of the Cheltenham Festival.
  • 2015 Day One Tips - Champion Hurdle Tuesday

    Each year the Cheltenham Festival gets underway with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, a race greeted by the famous roar from the crowd that tells us that four days of exhilarating horse racing action has finally begun.

    Raced at a distance just over two miles the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is run at a frantic pace and it almost always gets the Festival off to a bang.  A big field will tackle the race and some future stars of the hurdling and chasing world will be in action. 

    The second race of the Festival, the Arkle is run over the demanding Cheltenham fences at a distance of two miles.  The ultimate test of speed and fluent jumping, it is almost always run at a frenetic pace and it almost always goes to one of the classiest horses in the race.

    Then it is on to one of the most competitive races of the Festival, the Hill Trophy Hanidcap is a war of attrition fought out by a huge field of experienced jumpers. 

    The sort of race that is more than likely to throw up a big priced surprise, a victory here puts the winner in the picture for the Grand National the following month.  That was the case in 2007 when Joes Edge landed the Handicap at odds of 50/1 before being sent off favourite for the Aintree showpiece.

    However, the highlight of the first day’s racing at the Festival is the Champion Hurdle, the Grade one showpiece run over two miles that often confirms who is the champion of the hurdling division.

    That is followed by the Cross Country Handicap Chase which adds a different dimension to the Festival and the cross country event is as competitive as anything else on the card. 

    The day finishes with  the David Nicholson Mares Hurdle which was introduced onto the card in 2008. The David Nicholson Mares Hurdle gives four year old (and above) Mares the chance to battle it out to see who is the Queen of the first day of Cheltenham’s meeting.

    Tuesday 10th March – Champion Day

    1.30 Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (2m 1/2f)
    2.05 Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase (2m)
    2.40 Festival Handicap Chase (3m 1/2f)
    3.20 Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (2m 1/2f)
    4.00 OLBG Mares Hurdle (2m 4f)
    4.40 National Hunt Chase (4m)
    5.15 Novices' Handicap Chase (2m 4 1/2 f)
    Read our day one tips now!
  • 2015 Day Two Tips - Champion Chase Wednesday

    Day two of the Festival kicks off and a daunting and formidable task awaits the National Hunt Steeple Chase contenders, as novice chasers of five years or older are partnered by amateur jockeys on the opening race on Wednesday.

    The opener is a race that has seen Jonjo O’Neil record some of his most impressive Cheltenham results and he has landed the race four times in the last ten years.  It will be interesting to see who he saddles in this year’s renewal and whoever it is will need bags of stamina for this.

    That is followed by the Neputne Investment Hurdle, formerly known as the Ballymore Novices Hurdle.  It is for hurdlers aged four or above who have bags of staying potential.

    Two mile five furlongs long, the race is often used as a stepping stone to World Hurdle or chasing success in years to come and it often goes the way of a less fancied horse with bags of potential.

    Expect the winner to enter the winner’s enclosure with next year's World Hurdle on his mind.

    The third race of the day is highly competitive Royal Sun Alliance Chase, a Grade One showpiece that is used to put former hurdling superstars firmly on the chasing map. 

    Run over a trip of three miles, the race has been responsible for some top quality winners, none more so than Denman in 2007.

    The feature race of the second day at the Cheltenham Festival is the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the race determines who the best chaser in the two mile division is.

    A small and select field often goes to post but the field is high class and recent winners include Master Minded, Big Zeb and Sizing Europe.

    The Champion Chase if followed by a highly competitive handicap race that sees a large field go to post and the Coral Cup is one of the most difficult festival puzzles to solve.

    Raced over 2 miles 5 furlongs, the pace is frantic and with so many runners battling it out, it is difficult to envisage anything other than a thrilling race in store.

    A poor race for trends, it is the sort of contest that sees form go out of the window.

    Meanwhile, the Fred Winter is a handicap for juveniles aged four years and above and it is often used for inexperienced hurdlers with a limited amount of knowledge of jumping obstacles.

    Over twenty runners almost always go to post and with so little separating one runner from another, it often pays to follow the direction of the market.

    The final race of the day is essentially just a flat race but with National Hunt racing rules in place and the Champion Bumper is contested over a distance over two miles.

    Wednesday 11th March - Ladies Day

    1.30 Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle (2m 5f)
    2.05 RSA Steeple Chase (3m 1/2f)
    2.40 Coral Cup (Handicap Hurdle) (2m 5f)
    3.20 BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase (2m)
    4.00 Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase (3m 7f)
    4.40 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (2m 1/2f)
    5.15 Weatherbys Champion Bumper (2m 1/2f)
    Take a look at our Champion Chase tips now!
  • 2015 Day Three Tips - World Hurdle Thursday

    The JLT Novices’ Handicap gets Festival Thursday off to a bang and it is used for horses that find two miles too short and three miles a bit too hot.

    The race often goes the way of a horse that would not have looked out of place had he contested the Arkle or RSA Chase and there is almost always a heavily gambled on Irish raider ready to help the Irish make a winning start to day three of the meeting.

    The Ryanair Chase is run over two miles five furlongs and it is for five year olds and above whom, have more often than not, sidestepped the Gold Cup in search of a less competitive prize.

    Won by Imperial Commander in 2009 and by Our Vic in 2008, the winner of the race is always a classy horse and it should be no different this year.

    If the Ryanair Chase is certain to be a thriller, then the World Hurdle will be a fitting feature on the third day of the meeting.

    The World Hurdle is used to crown the champion of the staying hurdlers division.  After the domination of Inglis Drever over the last few years, it seems fitting he has been replaced by an even more impressive superstar, the legendary Big Buck’s and it should be another sensational race at Presbury Park.

    After the feature, The Festival Plate Handicap Chase is run over two mile four furlongs and is a handicap for chasers who are five years old and older.

    Another punting minefield for festival gamblers, a large field will almost certainly go to post and with so little between the runners, a surprise result is more than possible.

    Nicky Henderson won this race in 2005 and 2006 and he will no doubt be in search of more success this March.

    With the Pertemps Hanidcap Hurdle and the Kim Muir Challenge Cup also on the card, Thursday's racing is some of the best you'll see all season.

    Thursday 13th March - St Patrick's Thursday

    1.30 JLT Novices' Steeple Chase (2m 5f)
    2.05 Pertemps Final (Handicap Hurdle) (3m)
    2.40 Ryanair Chase (2m 5f)
    3.20 Ladbrokes World Hurdle (3m)
    4.00 Byrne Group Plate Handicap Steeple Chase (2m 5f)
    4.40 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Steeple Chase (3m 1 1/2f)
    5.15 St. Patrick's Derby (Charity Race) (1m 5f)
    Check out our World Hurdle tips for Thursday
  • 2015 Day Four Tips - Gold Cup Friday

    The Grade One Triumph Hurdle gets the final day’s action underway and another large field will almost certainly go to post.

    A top class group of runners will no doubt line up and all the top yards will be represented by hurdlers for the future.  The betting for the Triumph should be relatively straightforward, but the County Handicap Hurdle which follows looks another formidable puzzle for punters to unravel.

    The County Hurdle is one of the most difficult handicaps to solve at the Festival and racing fans use the race to try and fill their pockets ahead of the Gold Cup.

    Expect the pace to be frantic and don’t turn away for a second in a race that promises to be as eventful as it gets.

    Third on the card will be the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle - a race designed for staying hurdlers who are not quite up to tackling the likes of Big Buck’s in Thursday’s feature.  The race is also run over three miles and is often contested by a high class group of superstars.

    Added to the Festival in 2005, The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle is not renowned for springing a surprise and it will more often than not go the way of a horse that would not have looked out of place in the World Hurdle field.

    Friday also plays host to the highlight of the entire Cheltenham Festival and the Gold Cup crowns the best chaser in Europe over a relentless three mile course.

    Won by some of the best horses of all time, victory in the race demands the perfect balance between speed, technique and bravery and it is no surprise that Kauto Star, Denman, Long Run, Best Mate and Arkle are just a few of the horses on the race’s roll of honour. 

    The Gold Cup is followed by one of the oldest races at the whole Festival - the Foxhunter Chase.  The contest is one of the most prestigious races in the hunter chase division and worth a total of £40,000.  It is always fiercely contested and all the top stables from UK and Ireland are represented in the field.

    Run over three miles two furlongs, it often goes the way of an experienced chaser who loves to attack his fences when racing. 

    The final race of the day will be the Conditional Jockeys Hurdle which is themost recent addition to the Cheltenham Festival, this race will see conditionals get the chance to battle it out on jumping’s greatest stage.

    Will there be an A P McCoy or a Ruby Walsh lurking in the field?

    Friday 13th March - Cheltenham Gold Cup Day

    1.30 JCB Triumph Hurdle (2m 1f)
    2.05 Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle (2m 1f)
    2.40 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (3m)
    3.20 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase (3m 2 1/2f)
    4.00 Foxhunter Steeple Chase (3m 2 1/2f)
    4.40 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle (2m 4 1/2f)
    5.15 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Steeple Chase (2m 1/2f)
    Read our 2014 Gold Cup tips
  • Visiting the Cheltenham Festival

    Prestbury Park is a beautifully crafted sporting arena, carved within 350 acres of the Cotswold Hills in Gloucestershire and the courses are unlike those at any other racecourse. 

    Undulating and stamina sapping, the sting in the tail regularly comes at the end of each contest in the form of the supremely challenging "Cheltenham Hill" - an ever-upward climbing passage runners must scale from the last obstacle to the winning line. Every weapon in a competitor's arsenal is needed for victory at Cheltenham.

    The Festival uses all three of Cheltenham's courses. The Old Course stages racing on the first two days of the meeting, with the New Course taking over for days 3 and 4. Since the Festival changed to a 4 day meeting in 2005, the amount of ground available to race on has been increased.

    The fences on the New Course have also recently been widened by 5 metres, which gives the racecourse the flexibility to use the outside portion of them during the early part of the season, saving around 12 metres of entirely fresh ground (and fence) on the inside of the New Course specifically for the Festival. The unique cross country course is used for the Cross Country Handicap Chase.

    As befits the UK’s premier racecourse, Cheltenham offers a huge variety of viewing areas, bars, restaurants, hospitality and entertainment.

    Gates open at 10.30am on each of the four days of the Festival, and for the three hours before racing, and the hour and half after, there is time to soak up the unique atmosphere amongst the trade stands, parades, music and entertainment.
    Find out everything you need to know about tickets and travel.
  • The Irish invasion at the Cheltenham Festival

    With the likes of Hurricane Fly, Our Conor, Annie Power and Last Instalment all on their way to the Cheltenham Festival there is sure to be another strong Irish presence at the world's greatest meeting.

    The Irish have been travelling to Cheltenham for generations and a huge Irish following is an essential part of the unique atmosphere every March. 

    Those who journey are making one of sport's great annual pilgrimages, to attend National Hunt racing's famous four-day spectacle. The Irish regularly take centre stage on this great occasion, whether it be man or beast. Some of the greatest jockeys, trainers, owners and horses to have graced the hallowed turf of Prestbury Park have originated from the Emerald Isle. Legendary Irish names such as Jonjo O'Neill, Dawn Run, Arkle, Vincent O'Brien and Istabraq have sealed their place in Cheltenham Festival folklore with their glorious achievements at this magnificent course.

    The Festival would certainly not be the same without the Irish punters who revel in taking on Cheltenham's bookmakers. Probably the most famous Irish gambler to be found at the Festival is owner JP McManus, known in racing circles as the "Sundance Kid", who for more than 20 years has bet - and won - huge sums, including successful wagers on his dual Champion Hurdle winner Istabraq.

    Legend tells of another Irishman who won enough on Istabraq in the Champion Hurdle of 1998 to pay off his mortgage and then lost his house on Doran’s Pride in the Gold Cup. “It was only a small house anyway,” he is reputed to have said.

    The Emerald Isle re-affirmed their dominance of the National Hunt scene in 2006 by winning the three most prestigious prizes the Cheltenham Festival has to offer. Their success reached a magnificent crescendo on the final day when War of Attrition led home an Irish one – two – three in the Gold Cup to send his countrymen into raptures on St Patrick’s Day.

    The emotional win of Moscow Flyer in the Champion Chase in 2005 will also live long in the memory, as the Irish chaser confirmed himself as one of the all time greats and sparked wild Irish celebrations.
    Find out which Irish horses will be winning at the Festival.


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