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Cheltenham Festival 2016 dates and schedule

Nick Wilby in Latest News 2 Dec 2015
The dates for the 2016 Cheltenham Festival have been announced and the full schedule is now available.

The dates for the 2016 Cheltenham Festival have been announced.

The Cheltenham Festival is one of sport’s most enthralling extravaganzas and in 2016 the nation will once again be swept by horse racing fever as gamblers and racing fanatics prepare to embark on an unrivalled path of excitement.  The countdown to the meeting continues and upbeat bulletins on the likes of Douvan, Faugheen and Sprinter Sacre has got race fans even more excited.

The 2016 Cheltenham Festival will run from 15th to 18th March with the Cheltenham Gold Cup taking place on Friday 18th March.  The course can expect to welcome over 200,000 racegoers from all over the world, with it believed that more than £500 million will be gambled throughout the week.  Tickets are already available or purchase here

Racegoers enjoy the Cheltenham Festival. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

While it is impossible to know what next year’s meeting will bring one thing is for certain: the action is sure to be explosive, exhilarating and thoroughly intriguing.

Cheltenham dates

The Showcase
Friday 23rd & Saturday 24th October 2015

The Open
Friday 13th, Saturday 14th & Sunday 15th November 2015

The International
Friday 11th & Saturday 12th December 2015

The Festival
Tuesday 15th, Wednesday 16th, Thursday, 17th & Friday 18th March 2016

2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup day

Planning the best way to enjoy Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Day can take military precision so we've got all the key times and events for you to take into consideration.

Whether you are going to the course, watching at home, in the bookies or the pub, or just catching the odd glimpse of the action in between work duties, it's best to know when everything is happening.

At the track, the gates open at 10.30am and the first race is at 1.30pm, so make sure you arrive in plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere - and maybe a few pints of the black stuff in the Guinness village too!

For those not lucky enough to make it to Prestbury Park but also not hampered by having to work or study, you can tuck into breakfast whilst watching The Morning Line on Channel 4 between 8am and 9am and then prepare to be back in front of the box for when the afternoon coverage gets under way at 12.35.

How to watch the Cheltenham Festival live at bet365

Bet365 members can watch all races shown live on At The Races and Racing UK on their PC, iPhone, iPad or Android device.

To watch live streaming racing from Cheltenham all members have to do is place a qualifying wager of at least £0.50 win or £0.25 each-way (or currency equivalent) on the race then click the Watch icon from either the bet slip, the racecard or from ‘Watch Your Live Races’.

Alongside its live streaming service, bet365 also offers members access to their horse racing archive. If you missed the Gold Cup for example, or just want to analyse where your nag went wrong, go to live streaming then horse racing archive and use the search facility to watch the archived race of your choice.

To watch live streaming Cheltenham racing at bet365 simply:

Go to bet365 & sign in
Place a qualifying wager on the race you wish to watch
Then you can watch & bet on live streaming Cheltenham horse racing online

2016 Cheltenham Festival schedule

Tuesday 15th March - Champion Day

Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival, featuring the 2016 Champion Hurdle

1.30 Supreme Novices' Hurdle (2m 1/2f)
2.05 Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase (2m)
2.40 Baylis & Harding Affordable Luxury Handicap Chase (3m 1/2f)
3.20 Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (2m 1/2f)
4.00 Mares' Hurdle (for the David Nicholson Trophy) (2m 4f)
4.40 National Hunt Chase (4m)
5.15 Novices' Handicap Chase (2m 4 1/2 f)

Jezki (left) winning the 2014 Champion Hurdle (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Wednesday 16th March - Ladies Day

Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival, featuring the 2016 Queen Mother Champion Chase

1.30 Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle (2m 5f)
2.05 RSA Steeple Chase (3m 1/2f)
2.40 Coral Cup (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 (Open NH Flat Race) (2m 1/2f)

Sire De Grugy after winning the 2014 Champion Chase (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Thursday 17th March - St Patrick's Day

Day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival, featuring the 2016 Ladbrokes World Hurdle

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)

More Of That beats Annie Power in the 2014 World Hurdle (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Friday 18th March - Cheltenham Gold Cup Day

Day 4 of the Cheltenham Festival, featuring the 2016 Gold Cup

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)

Lord Windermere (right) edges out On His Own in the 2014 Gold Cup (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

The week climaxes with the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday, while other highlights include Tuesday's Champion Hurdle, Wednesday's Queen Mother Champion Chase and the World Hurdle on Thursday.

The clash between the top English and Irish horses is what makes the Festival for many and the biggest cheers are almost always reserved for the Irish-trained winners, many of whom are well-backed. Certainly, the Festival would not be the same without the Irish punters, who revel in taking on the Cheltenham bookmakers in their great annual pilgrimage to the Gloucestershire countryside.

All spectators will be able to recall their favourite Festival race. Perhaps the older ones were there for the epic Gold Cup contests in the 1960s between the incomparable Arkle and brave Mill House; others will have marvelled at Dawn Run - the only racehorse to have completed the Champion Hurdle - Gold Cup double (in 1984 and 1986 respectively). Many will look back with fondness to the popular grey Desert Orchid’s Gold Cup triumph in 1989 or, more recently, Best Mate’s third Gold Cup in 2004 and Moscow Flyer's second Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2005, whilst Kauto Star's triumphant second Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2009 will also rank highly for many.

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Cheltenham Festival 2016 dates and schedule

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