WHEN IS CHELTENHAM?
The Cheltenham Festival takes place every March at Prestbury Park Racecourse. The Festival lasts for four days and runs from Tuesday to Friday.
For 2021, the Cheltenham Festival will begin on Tuesday 16th March and end on Friday 19th March with 28 races taking place over that time.
WHAT TIME DOES THE RACING START?
The schedule for racing at the Cheltenham Festival is the same every day. The first race starts at 13.30pm and every 40 minutes thereafter.
The seventh and final race of each day starts at 17.30pm.
WHAT DAY IS LADIES DAY?
Day two of the Cheltenham Festival is known as Ladies Day. This is when style is as much a part of the festivities as the racing.
While there is no official dress code for Ladies Day, there are certain things to take into consideration. Jeans are not allowed and most ladies who attend will be dressed to impress. Though hats are not a requirement, most who attend on this day will be wearing one.
To make things even more exciting, there are awards for the best dressed lady, best accessories and best hat with some winners even walking away with a brand new car!
WHAT ARE THE MOST POPULAR CHELTENHAM RACES?
Without a doubt, the Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most popular race of the Festival. It takes place on the fourth and final day at 15.30pm and regularly attracts the biggest crowds of the four-day meeting.
It is also the number one race of the festival for betting with Paddy Power.
Interestingly enough, despite the huge mix in races at the Festival, in the betting markets, it is the hurdle races that garner the most bets. The second most popular, in terms of betting, is the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle which takes place on Day 3.
Making up the rest of the top five most popular Cheltenham Festival races to bet on are the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (Day 4), the JCB Triumph Hurdle (Day 4), and the Champion Hurdle (Day 1).
WHEN IS THE GOLD CUP?
The Cheltenham Gold Cup always takes place on the final day of the Festival. In 2021 it will take place on Friday 19th March.
The Gold Cup always starts at 3.30pm and is run on the New Course over 3 miles 2½ furlongs.
The race is open to five-year-olds and above and has a total prize fund worth £625,000. It is the most valuable non-handicap chase in Britain and in both 2019 and 2020 was won by the Willie Mullins trained Al Boum Photo.
BETTING & ODDS
The Cheltenham Festival is one of the biggest sporting events in the country for betting. Ante-post odds are available on a large number of the races up to a year in advance.
As with all ante-post odds, they are not without risk. The odds may be good but there are no guarantees that the actual horses backed will run. In fact, trainers will enter the same horse in multiple races until much closer to the event. This can make it tricky for punters to know which race to back their favourite in.
Each of the race pages on this site has the latest odds for all of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival. Those odds will continue to go up and down until each race starts.
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL TICKETS
More than 250,000 racing fans will head to Prestbury Park for the 2021 Cheltenham Festival and each of them will need a ticket. Those tickets will start at around £50 for the Tattersalls Enclosure.
There are a number of ticket price tiers all the way up to the hospitality packages which start at £370 per person. The most expensive hospitality package, outside of a private box is the Chez Roux Restaurant Package which will set you back a cool £1250 per person.
The good news is that there are often promotions and offers on ticket sales so check back later for more information on that once it becomes available.
THE PRESTBURY CUP
Winning a Cheltenham Festival race is the pinnacle of any trainer’s career. The rivalry is fierce as the best chasers and hurdlers across the UK and Ireland go toe-to-toe to take home a trophy.
But beyond each trainer’s desire to win, National pride is also at stake. The annual challenge between Great Britain and Ireland for Festival winners is known as the Prestbury Cup.
The competition runs from the first race of the four-day meeting and is won by the first country to reach 14 winners. In 2020 the Irish won the Prestbury Cup with 17 wins to Britain’s 10 wins. David Cottin won with Easysland to take a win for France.
CHELTENHAM & THE IRISH CONNECTION
Not since 2012 has a British trainer won the title of Leading Trainer at the Cheltenham Festival. The last eight titles have gone to either Willie Mullins or Gordon Elliott, two Irish trainers.
2020 was a record year for Irish trainers who initially had 928 race entries, of which there was a record 340 entries across the ten festival handicaps. Of course, that includes multiple race entries for some runners, and not all entries made it to Cheltenham but their presence is huge for the meeting.
The Irish love Cheltenham. They love attending and they love winning there. Each year 20,000 Irish racing fans make their way to the four-day Festival. So much so that the third day of the meeting is known as St Patrick’s Thursday.
CHELTENHAM TIPS & PREVIEW EVENINGS
Everybody loves to get good Cheltenham tips and we follow all of the chasers and hurdlers to find out who really has the best shot at winning. Our tips are here if you want to check out who we think has the best chance at winning in each race.
Preview evenings are another excellent way to get the inside scoop from the industry experts. On the run up to the festival, various leading trainers and pundits get together around the country with racing fans to discuss who they think will dominate in each race.
You can check your local racecourse website to find out which previews are happening near you.
WHICH TV CHANNEL SHOWS THE CHELTENHAM RACES?
As part of their extensive racing coverage, the majority of Cheltenham Festival races are live on ITV. That also includes the ITV hub via your desktop or mobile device.
Unfortunately, they don’t show all the races and coverage generally ends at 4.30pm. One good way to watch those races, not aired on tv, is to place a small bet on them with a bookmaker that offers a ‘watch live’ service. As long as you place a bet of at least 50p, you can stream the race live via the bookmaker site.