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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 2018, 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 start of the Festival, with the famous Cheltenham road ringing out at the start of the Supreme Novices Hurdle. The feature race of the first day is the Champion Hurdle. Last year’s Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air was allowed to gain the title without having to beat perhaps the most fancied horses, with both Faugheen and Annie Power missing through injury. Likely competition for this year’s race include last year’s Triumph Hurdle winner, Defi Du Seuil, as well as Faugheen ‘The Machine’. 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 13th March.
- Ladies Day - Possibly one of the most popular days, Ladies Day – which in 2018 is on Wednesday 14th March - is all about people watching and hat spotting, as well as of course some fine racing action. The main event is the Queen Mother Champion Chase, and this year we may finally get the race that everyone has been waiting for, with Altior moving up to take on the imperious Douvan. Also on the card is the RSA Chase, with Yanworth and Death Duty likely to be among the popular bets at this stage.
- St Patrick's Thursday - The Irish don’t only dominate the Festival when it comes to winning the most races over the week. On 15th March ahead of Saint Patrick’s Day on the 17th, the Irish takeover will be at full flow, with the Guinness Village brimming with Irish swagger. Serious gamblers will find their way to Bookmakers' Jungle where there are always rumours of million-pound bets to be had. The Sun Bet Stayers’ Hurdle and Ryanair Chase are the main attractions when it comes to the racing, with Unowhatimeanharry set to have another crack at the former with familiar names such as Nichols Canyon and Faugheen also near the front of the betting. The Ryanair should also bring a high-class field with the likes of Fox Norton, Un De Sceaux and Min possible contenders.
- Gold Cup Day - The ultimate climax of the festival comes this year on Friday 16th March, with all eyes on the Gold Cup. The 2017 race was a triumph for Sizing John, who gave Jessica Harrington her first win in the race. Thistlecrack, Native River and Djakadam were among the favourites last year, and they will be expected to give it another go, while a fresh challenge might arrive from last year’s RSA Chase winner, Might Bite, who won despite stopping for a few seconds before charging up the hill. The Gold Cup always brings the best staying chasers to the fore, and is always one of the most competitive races in British National Hunt racing.
Our Favourite Cheltenham Festival Facts and Stats
One look at the Cheltenham Festival stats 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?
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 2018 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 2018 with us right here at Top 10 Sports Betting Sites!