The dust has settled on what was a remarkable Cheltenham Festival, with some extraordinary performances on the track and we welcomed crowds back following a year behind closed doors in 2021. We’ve taken a look at the Festival through the lens of the key numbers. 50/1: Biggest Price Winner – Commander Of Fleet The Coral […]
Cheltenham Festival 2023 – The Greatest Show On Turf
This is a fan-based guide to the 2023 Cheltenham Festival and an indispensable aid to finding the winners of some of the most prestigious and competitive horse races run anywhere in the world.
The 28 races that make up the Cheltenham Festival 2023 are the most hotly contested of the entire racing calendar, with around 500 horses competing for over £6.12 million of win and place prize money which compete only with the Grand National in terms of prestige in the jump racing calendar. The Festival takes place in mid-March, with the Cheltenham Festival dates now announced for 2023.
Whatever the weather, spring arrives in Gloucestershire on the first Tuesday of the Festival. Helicopters clatter in over Cleeve Hill, the first of 200,000 pints of Guinness are sunk and spectators roar off the start of the first race at the Cheltenham Festival 2023. That now traditional roar is an outpouring of a range of emotions from the relief of the racing community that Cheltenham has finally come round again, to the exhilaration of the crowd at the thought of what lies ahead – four days of high drama, effort, and excess that will test both wallets and livers.
The week of Cheltenham races climaxes with the Gold Cup on Friday, while other highlights include Tuesday’s Champion Hurdle, Wednesday’s Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Stayers’ Hurdle on Thursday.
The clash between the top English and Irish horses is what makes Cheltenham Festival 2023 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 certainly not be the same without the Irish punters, who revel in taking on the Cheltenham free bet 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.
Our site contains everything you need to know about these four magical days in March when the whole racing community converges on Prestbury Park for the Olympics of National Hunt racing.
Cheltenham Festival History
Horse racing has been staged at Cheltenham for over 200 years with the Festival created in the early 1900s by Frederick Cathcart, who viewed Cheltenham as a potential Jumps racing powerhouse in the same way that Newmarket had dominated the Flat scene.
Initially a two-day event, the Festival added a third day’s racing in 1923, and in 2005, the Festival expanded to four days – albeit this was limited to six-race cards as opposed to the seven-race cards we are now familiar with. You can read more about the Cheltenham Festival History here.
Cheltenham Festival Races 2023
There are 28 races scheduled to be contested during the 2023 Cheltenham Festival, with race distances racing from 1m7f to 3m7f and with a variety of obstacles to be jumped.
Day One’s action centres around the Champion Hurdle, considered by most people to be the premier hurdles race in the world. This contest has been won by some exceptional horses down the years and will see Honeysuckle attempt to supplement her 2021 Champion Hurdle victory, and in turn, maintain her unbeaten record.
Day Two is all about the Queen Mother Champion Chase. This is considered one of the sternest examinations of jumping around, with potential winners having to be foot perfect over the 2m distance. Shishkin has proven the poster boy of National Hunt racing in recent times and he is expected to make the line-up in this year’s Champion Chase.
Day Three of the Festival is unique in that it has not one, but two feature contests. The first of these is the Ryanair Chase, a Grade 1 run over an intermediary distance of 2m5f. This has proven a hugely successful addition to the Festival roster. As well as this, punters have the Stayers’ Hurdle to enjoy on Day Four. Generally considered to be the more recognisable of the two Thursday features, this is the pinnacle for staying hurdlers and is one of the most competitive races of the week.
The Festival concludes on Day Four with the Cheltenham Gold Cup taking centre stage. Arguably the most famous race of the entire week, this event is the one every trainer, jockey and owner dream of winning and its roll of honour is filled by National Hunt legends. To view all the race times, visit our Cheltenham festival racecards page.
Cheltenham Festival Runners in 2023
The Cheltenham Festival is considered the pinnacle of Jumps racing and therefore the best of the best racehorses around Britain, Ireland and on occasion further afield, descend on Prestbury Park in an attempt to claim a small piece of the action.
Invariably, there is a horse considered to be the ‘Irish banker’ and the success or failure of this can depend upon how Irish punters gauge success at the meeting.
Shishkin has proven a popular horse with Cheltenham Festival punters having landed the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Arkle Novices’ Chase at the last two Festivals. It will be interesting to see if punters remain loyal to Nicky Henderson’s charge in the face of staunch Irish opposition.
Arguably the most popular horse heading to Cheltenham in 2023, however, is Tiger Roll. The now 12yo has captured the attention of the racing community like few others in recent years and will head to the Cross County on Wednesday in what could ultimately prove his final run before retirement.
Cheltenham Festival Trainers in 2023
Irish trainers dominated the Cheltenham Festival like never before 12 months ago and whilst sterner opposition is expected from the home challenge in 2023, the Irish horses will be more fancied than ever before.
That weight of expectation falls on the shoulders of Willie Mullins, the most successful trainer in Cheltenham Festival history with no less than 78 winners. It is inconceivable that the Clossutton maestro will not be top trainer at the Festival once again.
Opposition from British yards to the Mullins domination has been thin on the ground in recent seasons, but both Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls will be hoping that some of their top chances can oblige in 2023, whilst the emerging yard of Dan Skelton could also be seen to success at the Festival.
The main challenge to Mullins should come from his countryman Gordon Elliott, however, who has a number of strong chances in both the Graded races and the Handicaps. Henry De Bromhead enjoyed an incredible Festival last season and will be hoping to continue that success. Read more about the Cheltenham Festival Trainers in 2023 here.
Cheltenham Festival Jockeys in 2023
For many years Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty and AP McCoy were the go-to names on the Cheltenham Festival racecards, but with that trio now retired there are new names aiming to cement their status as the Festival’s leading rider.
Paul Townend will have the pick of the Willie Mullins chances in 2023 and that makes him a tough man to oppose in terms of the Festival top jockey.
One name that could the public’s imagination more than most at last year’s Festival was Rachael Blackmore, who left the four days with six winners, in turn becoming the first female jockey to leave as the Festival’s leading rider.
Harry Skelton and Charlie Deutsch have some decent chances at this year’s meeting and will be hoping to get themselves amongst the winners, yet the pressure from a British perspective is likely to be on Nico de Boinville, who has a number of strong chances for boss Nicky Henderson that include Constitution Hill, Shishkin and Chantry House. Read more about the Cheltenham Festival Jockeys in 2023 here.
Cheltenham Festival 2023 Previews
Read our Cheltenham Festival betting previews, with an in-depth analysis of each contest – providing invaluable guidance on finding the Cheltenham Festival winners. Best of all, our Cheltenham Festival tips are completely free. We have exclusive Cheltenham Festival ante post bets produced by industry experts as well as daily bets and previews to help you maximise your Festival experience.
Cheltenham Festival 2023 Reviews
We review all the Cheltenham races at the Cheltenham Festival for the last few years. Each race page on the site records how the races unfolded and our take on the performances of note. You can read more about each of the four days of Cheltenham on our dedicated Cheltenham Festival daily pages:
- Cheltenham Festival Day 1
- Cheltenham Festival Day 2
- Cheltenham Festival Day 3
- Cheltenham Festival Day 4
Cheltenham Festival 2023 Trends
In making our Cheltenham 2023 selections, we pay special attention to the patterns that have developed over the years, as Cheltenham is such a unique course and the races at the Festival have their own special characteristics. Certainly, history repeats itself here more than at any other meeting and our careful analysis of these trends enables us to whittle down large fields to a few prime contenders.
Cheltenham Festival 2023 Statistics
In our statistics sections, you’ll find previous Cheltenham Festival results – we currently detail the winners of every Festival race since 1989, including the horse and jockey plus the starting price. We plan to expand this section in the near future and list all Festival winners dating back to the days of Mill House and Arkle. We also provide statistics for both Cheltenham Festival Jockeys and Trainers, with Rachael Blackmore and Willie Mullins currently heading their respective fields.
The Cheltenham Racecourse
Cheltenham is the home of jumps racing and is considered one of the most famous racecourses worldwide. The 350-acre venue, also referred to as Prestbury Park, plays host to a number of meetings throughout the season but the most famous of these by far is the four-day Cheltenham Festival.
The Festival is run on all three of Cheltenham’s courses. The ‘new’ course is, as the name would suggest, the most recent addition. This is used on the first two days of the Festival and is generally considered more of a speed test than the following ‘old’ course. The old course is a demanding test up the Cheltenham Hill and therefore stamina is often at a premium. The final course used is the Cross Country circuit, this unique venue is used for the single race at the Festival – Wednesday’s Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase. For more information visit our Cheltenham Festival Racecourse page.
Cheltenham 2023 Tickets and Enclosures
Finally, for those wanting to join the pilgrimage to the home of National Hunt racing, we have all the information you’ll need to make the most of your visit, including details of Cheltenham Festival tickets, Cheltenham dates 2023, and information on all of the enclosures and Cheltenham Festival hospitality at the racecourse. Tickets are available to buy across all four days of the Festival and for all three Best Mate, Club and Tattersalls enclosures. You can find all the information about the Cheltenham Festival 2023 Tickets here.
Cheltenham Festival Hospitality
There are three enclosures available for racegoers at Cheltenham; the Best Mate Enclosure, which sits adjacent to the grandstand, the Tattersalls enclosure, and the Club enclosure, the latter providing access to all public areas.
As well as this, there are hospitality areas available. For the Festival, Cheltenham also erects the Guinness Grandstand, an area that has extra viewing steps, bars and alternative entertainment.
Cheltenham Betting Offers & Deals
Whether you’re wagering on race day 1 or 4, you’ll want to keep an eye on the Cheltenham Festival offers that’ll be circulating as the action hots up.
You’ll get the chance to snap up deals and specials on every single one of the 28 races on display, as well as promotions on particular horses for the bigger races of the tournament (Gold Cup, Stayers Hurdle, the likes). So, from Paisley Park to Politologue, and Klassical Dream to Kemboy, the best of the latest Cheltenham free bets will be found here, with Cheltenham Festival.net.