Cheltenham Festival Betting

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Since 1902, the Cheltenham Festival has been held at Prestbury Park in Cheltenham, a multi-day celebration of jumps racing. Although not nearly as old as the Grand National, this event has gradually become the focal point of the racing season and an annual draw for 200,000 or more fans. It includes the running of the Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle, the acknowledged "twin peaks" of the two primary jumping disciplines, as well as two other championship races.

Racing in Cheltenham actually dates back to 1815 at Nottingham Hill and 1834 at Prestbury Park. Steeplechases became popular here in 1898, leading to the creation of the Cheltenham Festival four years later, but the true turning point for the event came in 1904 when the National Hunt Steeplechase was introduced.

After a horse named Red Splash won at the Festival`s main race in 1924, it became known as the Cheltenham Gold Cup. This was followed by the establishment of the Champion Hurdle in 1927, the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 1959, and the Stayers Hurdle (now ladbrokes World Hurdle), introduced in 1972. The festival has since become recognized as one of the United Kingdom`s premier sporting events, on par with the British Open, Wimbledon, and the FA Cup Final.

The Cheltenham Festival has survived wars, severe storms, and a 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth disease. In 2005, the format was expanded from three to four days allowing one of the big championships to cap each day`s schedule. Additional races were added so that no fewer than six contests were held on each day, making 26 in total.

The Cheltenham Racecourse is a natural amphitheater, made challenging by an undulating surface, fences, and hurdles. Three separate tracks are used to accommodate all of the races: the Old Course, the Cross Country Steeplechase course, and the New Course. The latter is the venue for the most important of them.

Grade One races run during the Cheltenham Festival other than the for majors are the Champion Bumper, Triumph Hurdle, Ryanair Chase, Supreme Novices` Hurdle, Neptune Investment Management Novices` Hurdle, the Arkle Challenge Trophy, and the RSA Chase. Also included is the Foxhunter`s Chase, one of the biggest Hunter Chases of the season, which serves as a prelude to Friday`s climactic finish.

The Cheltenham Festival tends to draw mainly domestic competition, dominated by contenders from England and Ireland with occasional challenges from France. Amateur races have been held from time to time, too, such as 2010`s Ladies Charity Flat Race, featuring a dozen female jockeys. Some 500 horses gather to compete for purses worth more than £3.4 million, second only to the Grand National in value.

Locals like to say that, no matter what the weather is like or the actual date may be, the first Tuesday of the Festival is the first day of spring in Gloucestershire. The Guinness flows freely in Cheltenham pubs as Irish punters arrive by the thousands, just in time to place wagers on the week`s first race—the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle. It is no coincidence at all that the week of the Festival coincides with St. Patrick`s Day.

Wednesday sees more arrivals to witness seven ultra-competitive races, including the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase. On Thursday, the Festival`s fashion awards take center stage, in addition to six top-class jump races.

On Friday, the drama reaches a crescendo. The roar of crowd is momentarily drowned out by the clatter of helicopters arriving over Cleeve Hill with VIP guests. The spa town of 110,000 residents triples in population. Millions of racing fans join them in spirit and watch the BBC`s televised broadcast during the lead up to the last of the 26 races, the Gold Cup, with its finish up legendary Cheltenham Hill.

Festival Trials are held here in January. Offering seven races in a single day, they provide a preview of the potential champions and attract big crowds as well. But although Cheltenham Racecourse has 17 days of racing annually, spread over eight fixtures, there can be no doubt that the excitement of the Cheltenham Festival in March occupies the apex of Great Britain`s jump racing season.

Comment on this event
mr john bristow  at 12/03/2014 10:19:48

sorry to bother you.I am trying to find the year and race the horse WIND & RAIN won at the festival meeting .I am pretty certain it was a festival meet. Regards john bristow

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