The 2023 Cheltenham Festival gets underway on March 14th, with “the greatest show on turf” bringing four days of top class National Hunt racing, culminating in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on the Friday, and we have picked out our favourite bets for each day of the Festival, beginning the opening days card.
Cheltenham Festival 2023
The next Cheltenham Festival will be held at Cheltenham Racecourse between the 14th and 17th of March, 2023.
What is the Cheltenham Festival?
The Cheltenham Festival is the biggest National Hunt meeting on the horse racing calendar, and is the most popular to bet on, after the Grand National. This four day meeting takes place in March, every year and has become a firm favourite with racegoers and casual punters alike, attracting a traditionally strong following from irish visitors, over the St Patrick’s Day period and including the now famous “Cheltenham roar”, a phenomenon heard as the opening race of the days card begins, with a chorus of noise from excited racegoers
Across the four days, there are twenty-eight races, with half of those, raced under Grade 1 conditions, which is the highest ranked race available to hurdle or chase contenders. The event reaches a crescendo on Friday, with the main event of the meeting, the Cheltenham Gold Cup race, which alongside the Grand National, is arguably the pinnacle of any trainer, jockey and horse’s career.
Where Is the Cheltenham Festival Held?
The Cheltenham Festival is held at Prestbury Park, just outside Cheltenham, in Gloucestershire and is responsible for hosting some 40 Graded races over the course of a year and hosted the prestigious Gold Cup race for the first time in 1934.
The venue itself started hosting races in 1831, with steeplechase races first introduced in 1898. The venue is some 95 miles from London and has a capacity of some 67,500 spectators at any one time and is housed in a natural amphitheatre in the Cotswold Hills, with famous views in and around the track photographed numerous times.
Cheltenham Festival History / Importance
The Cheltenham Festival first began as the National Hunt Meeting, A meeting that staged the National Hunt Chase, a four-mile contest for amateur riders. This race was first run in 1860 at Market Harborough and regularly changed venue. Held at Prestbury Park in 1904 and 1905 it finally settled there in 1911, where it has remained ever since.
As it was the second most prestigious prize in the National Hunt calendar, after the Grand National, the March meeting at which it was run, assumed permanent importance and steadily has grown to become the event we know and love today.
Cheltenham Festival Big Races
The Cheltenham Festival features a total of fourteen Grade 1 contests, the highest ranked races available in National Hunt racing, with four specific races that stand out across the four days, in terms of status and prize money. The pinnacle event on the final day, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, is supported by the Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase and Stayers’ Hurdle throughout the week and a win in any of these contests, is likely to cement a place in racing history.
The Cheltenham Festival is seen as one of the big television events in sport, with record viewing numbers, only surpassed by the Grand National. Coverage over the last couple of years has been under ITV’s control and weill continue to do so, in 2022, with the channel showing the first five races live on ITV’s terrestrial channel, with the remaining races likely to be available via ITV4, which is available on Freeview and other cable and satellite services.
How To Bet On The Cheltenham Festival?
Betting on the Cheltenham Festival could not be any easier, with bookmakers websites usually offering dedicated sections of their websites to the weeks 28 races.
In the run up to the big day, finding the Cheltenham Festival Betting markets can be a little more difficult, with customers needing to look for a dedicated Cheltenham section, that can sometimes be tucked away in the “Ante-Post” section of the Horse Racing betting section of the relevant bookmaker.
Popular betting markets for the Cheltenham Festival, include staples such as outright and each-way bets, along with forecasts and tricasts, which require the player to predict the first two or three finishers in a particular race.
Multiples or accumulators offer further chances of winning big, by picking more than one winner across a selection of races, while specials such as most successful Jockey or Trainer are also popular.
Popular Trainers And Jockeys At The Cheltenham Festival
Over the years, certain trainers and jockeys have always stood out form the crowd, seemingly having a special affinity to the Cheltenham Festival and in 2022 there are a few names that punters will do well to keep an eye on.
On the training side of things, Willie Mullins can be considered “Mr. Cheltenham”, having trained a record 78 winners coming into this years edition and leads the Irish contingent, along with the likes of Gordon Elliott and Henry De Bromhead. Whilst the best of the U.K. runners tend to be supplied by Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls, For those looking for a trainer to follow, you’ll not go far wrong with any of the above mentioned names
In terms of Jockeys, a certain Ruby Walsh was the name to follow at Cheltenham for years, recording 58 wins til his retirement a few years ago, with the 2021 top Cheltenham Festival jockey being Racheal Blackmore, winning six races, with rides mainly for Henry De Bromhead
Other top jockeys to keep an eye on are: Nico De Boinville and Paul Townend, who ride for the Henderson and Mullins yards respectively, whilst Davy Russel, Jack Kennedy and Mark Walsh also tend to feature over the four day meeting.
Check out your respective bookmaker, for Trainer and Jockey specials, to enhance your Cheltenham Festivial week.
The Prestbury Cup is a competition within the 28 races meeting, between Irish and British trainers, in what is a friendly competition between the two nations. The winner of the Cup is the first “team” or nation to win 15 races and thus be unbeatable.
In 2021 The Irish dominated the competition, beating Great Britain 23-5, in fact Ireland have not been beaten in six years, with a 14-14 draw in 2019.
This event can be bet on, as a nice fun aside to the main racing, with current betting odds favouring the visitors.
Cheltenham Festival Offers and Specials
The Cheltenham Gold Cup takes place on Friday, on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival. As we near the event, Bookmakers will begin to release their special offers for the event, so keep an eye out for those and once we have them, we’ll pop them below for your convenience.
Until then, here are some of the Special Offers that were promoted during the 2022 Festival.