Unlocking Success: A Comprehensive Guide to Cheltenham Festival 2024
The Cheltenham Festival stands as the pinnacle of National Hunt racing, attracting the finest horses, jockeys, and trainers from around the world. Over the four exhilarating days, a total of 28 races captivate racing enthusiasts and punters alike, each promising its own unique blend of drama and excitement.
In this comprehensive guide, we'll provide a brief overview of each race, highlight some of the standout horses and trainers, and delve into the majestic Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Day 1: Champion Day
The Festival kicks off with the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, a race known for showcasing future stars. Past winners include Altior and Douvan, both of whom went on to achieve great success in their careers.
The Arkle Challenge Trophy follows, a chase for novice two-mile chasers, boasting legends like Sprinter Sacre and Moscow Flyer.
The standout race on Champion Day is, of course, the Champion Hurdle. Icons such as Istabraq and Hurricane Fly have graced this contest, and the race serves as a testament to the speed and stamina required for hurdling supremacy.
Currently at the head of the ante post market for the Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy is the Nicky Henderson trained Constitution Hill 4/9 followed by State Man 5/1 trained by the indomitable Wille Mullins.
Early prices are also available for the Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle headed by three of Mullins’ horses: Lossiemouth 11/4, Ashroe Diamond 8/1, Gala Marceau 8/1.
Day 2: Ladies Day
The Ballymore Novices' Hurdle opens Ladies Day, where emerging talents often take their first steps towards stardom. The RSA Chase, a grueling three-mile novices' chase, has seen future Gold Cup champions like Lord Windermere graduate from its ranks.
The highlight of Ladies Day is the Queen Mother Champion Chase, a two-mile chase featuring speedsters like Sprinter Sacre and Master Minded. This electrifying contest is a true test of a chaser's speed and agility.
At the head of the ante post market for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase is another Willie Mullins horse El Fabiolo at 10/11 with Nicky Henderson’s Jonbon at 11/4 not far away.
Day 3: St. Patrick's Thursday
The JLT Novices' Chase launches the third day, providing a platform for staying chasers to showcase their abilities. The Ryanair Chase, introduced in 2005, has seen esteemed winners like Cue Card and Vautour. This two-and-a-half-mile chase is often a stepping stone for horses that excel at intermediate distances.
Early prices for the Ryanair Chase start with the unbeaten Allaho 3/1 trained by Willie Mullins followed by Paul Nicholls Stage Star 4/1.
St. Patrick's Thursday culminates with the Stayers' Hurdle, a test of stamina over three miles. Legends like Big Buck's and Inglis Drever have triumphed in this grueling contest, demonstrating the heart and determination needed for success at the highest level.
Ante Post prices are also available for the Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle with Gordon Elliot’s Teahupoo heading the market at 4/1 closely followed by French raider Theleme at 9/2.
Day 4: Gold Cup Day
The Triumph Hurdle kicks off the final day, featuring the best juvenile hurdlers in the business. Past winners often go on to shine in future Cheltenham Festivals and beyond.
The County Hurdle and Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle follow, setting the stage for the ultimate test of jump racing prowess—the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Cheltenham Gold Cup
The Blue Riband of jump racing, the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup is the highlight of the Festival and one of the most prestigious races in the world. The three-mile, two-and-a-half-furlong test of stamina and courage has produced unforgettable moments and iconic champions.
Currently at the head of the market stands Willie Mullins’ Galopin Des Champs 3/1 followed by the Gordon Elliot trained Gerri Colombe 4/1.
1. Arkle: A three-time winner in the 1960s, Arkle is considered one of the greatest steeplechasers in history.
2. Desert Orchid: Known as the "Grey Flash," Desert Orchid's victory in 1989 remains etched in Cheltenham folklore.
3. Kauto Star: The only horse to regain the Gold Cup, Kauto Star's rivalry with Denman captivated racing fans.
1. Willie Mullins: The Irish maestro has enjoyed success across multiple Festival races, including the Gold Cup. To understand why the Irish trainers are so successful in the sphere of thoroughbred horse racing I traveled to the ‘Island of Destiny’ in search of answers.
2. Nicky Henderson: A perennial force at Cheltenham, Henderson has trained numerous champions, including Sprinter Sacre.
3. Paul Nicholls: A masterful trainer with multiple Gold Cup victories, Nicholls' influence on National Hunt racing is undeniable.
In recent years, Al Boum Photo has dominated the Gold Cup, securing back-to-back victories. As the pinnacle of jump racing, the Gold Cup demands a unique blend of stamina, jumping ability, and tactical astuteness.
The Cheltenham Festival is a celebration of the very best in National Hunt racing, providing a stage for equine and human athletes to etch their names into the annals of racing history.
From the novice events on the opening day to the climactic Cheltenham Gold Cup, each race is a unique spectacle that captivates racing enthusiasts and punters who enjoy Cheltenham Festival betting ante-post or on the day.
As the Festival unfolds, keep a keen eye on emerging talents and seasoned champions, for in the rolling hills of Cheltenham, legends are made, and legacies are cemented.