What to Expect and Who to Look Out For at the Cheltenham Festival
If you've never experienced Cheltenham Festival horse racing before, making your debut at the Gold Cup will be an experience you won't forget in a hurry. Away from the incredible headwear and free flowing champagne, there's over £600 million spent on Gold Cup betting each year and you can be part of it at Cheltenham Festival 2017, either in person or through online betting.
What’s the latest news on this year’s Cheltenham Festival line up of runners and riders? What about the finest hotels and other accommodation for the event, or the best ways to catch the highlights?
We’ve shed light on it all below...
The Structure of the Festival
As the event has grown over the last century, it's become essential to stretch the races over four days to make each one unique. With the average Cheltenham Festival attendance being 62,000 over the four days, it’s clear that the meeting remains one of the biggest draws for avid horse racing fans and casual sports bettors alike.
Below, we’ve detailed the Cheltenham Festival horses on which you may most fancy a flutter, along with the format for this year’s races.
- Champion Day - Tuesday marks the first day of the festival and is traditionally one of the quieter days for bookmakers at the racecourse. However, a lot of money gets spent on the first race, mainly for prestige. Last year’s Champion Hurdle winner Annie Power has unfortunately been ruled out this time around due to a leg injury, while 2015 victor Faugheen has also been struggling with a pulled muscle. However, there will be no shortage of other contenders to keep an eye on, including the likes of Yorkhill, Yanworth and Petit Mouchoir. You can also expect to see champion jockeys from previous years returning to the scene of their former glories. This year’s Champions Day is on Tuesday 14th March.
- Ladies Day - possibly one of the most popular days, Ladies Day – which in 2017 is on Wednesday 15th March - is all about people watching and hat spotting. The main event is the Queen Mother Champion Chase, but unless you're taking a female friend, you may want to watch the day from Cheltenham betting sites instead. The 28 entries for this year’s Champions Chase is the second highest since 2009, and heading the list of contenders is Douvan, the French import having been given 1/3 odds by the likes of Sky Bet and Paddy Power.
- St Patrick's Thursday - a flavour of Ireland comes a day early to the festival this year, on 16th March ahead of Saint Patrick’s Day on the 17th. While many punters will be attracted to the Guinness Village, serious gamblers will find their way to Bookmakers' Jungle where there are always rumours of million-pound bets to be had. Both the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle and Ryanair Chase are scheduled for this day, with Unowhatimeanharry widely fancied for the former ahead of such familiar names as Jezki and Faugheen.
- Gold Cup Day - the ultimate climax of the festival comes this year on Friday 17th March, with all eyes on the Gold Cup. The 2016 race was a triumph for 9-4 favourite Don Cossack and jockey Bryan Cooper, who held off Djakadam’s challenge for an Irish 1-2-3. However, with the 10-year-old having suffered several injury setbacks since his heroics last March, trainer Gordon Elliott announced in January that the decision had been made to retire him. It leaves Thistlecrack – recently defeated at the same racecourse by the ill-fated Many Clouds – as the widely fancied favourite.
Our Favourite Cheltenham Festival Facts and Stats
One look at the official Cheltenham Festival stats page is enough to show just how massive an event it continues to be in the early 21st century. Did you know, for example, that the 2015 Festival generated £4.15 million in prize money, as well as that the meeting is worth a staggering £100,000,000 to the Gloucestershire economy each year?
Should You Visit or Stay Home?
— Racecourse Guide (@HorseRaceGuide) February 1, 2017
Tickets for the various races and events can be booked on the official Cheltenham Racecourse website, where you will also find a comprehensive list of great Cheltenham Festival accommodation options. However, you don’t necessarily have to be at the Festival in person to derive great enjoyment from it, with extensive Cheltenham Festival highlights sure to be available online and on TV, where ITV will take over from Channel 4 as the broadcaster of the event.
Bet on the Cheltenham Festival 2017 With us
The biggest part of the fun of the Cheltenham Festival is betting on the outcomes of the races, and you'll find bookmakers for Cheltenham eager to take your predictions and your money. You'll find the best Cheltenham betting offers online with plenty of sites offering bonuses for multiple correct predictions and money back if your horse fails to finish the race.
The main differences will be the value of the odds, so don't be afraid to compare horse racing bookmakers before putting your money where your mouth is. Follow every furlong of Cheltenham Festival 2017 with us right here at Top 10 Sports Betting Sites!