Cheltenham Festival 2019

‘The Greatest Show on Turf’ is the pinnacle of the National Hunt season. The finest horses and jockeys do battle over four scintillating days at the Cheltenham festival, where champions will be made, and legends will be born.

Our Cheltenham betting guide will help you enjoy the spectacular festival and give you all the info you need to unearth the winners. We bring you:

  • Festival dates, race schedules, and racecourse information
  • Betting previews and tips for all four days at Cheltenham
  • The best bookies, betting offers and free bets for the festival


 

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Cheltenham Festival Dates 2019

 
The festival runs from Tuesday 12th March to Friday 15th March.

250,000 people will descend on the beautiful Cotswolds racecourse in March, combining to create the famous Cheltenham roar as they watch their runners charge up that gruelling hill. You’ll feel like you’re a part of the action when your bets are on and the racing is underway.

Day One is Champions Day, featuring four grade 1 races;
Day Two is Ladies Day where high fashion meets tweed;
Day Three is St Patrick’s Thursday, an Irish celebration typified by the Guinness Village;
Day Four is Gold Cup Day, when the sport’s finest compete for the biggest prize in jumps racing.

Champions Day

Many punters consider Tuesday their favourite day of the festival. Four grade 1 races are complemented by three high-class handicaps in a breath-taking start to the week. The highlight is the helter-skelter of the Champion Hurdle, run over two miles, where Nicky Henderson’s Buveur D’Air bids for a hat-trick in 2019 after winning the last two renewals.

Here’s the full race schedule for the opening day:
13.30 The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Race 2m 87y Hurdle
14.10 The Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase 1m 7f Chase
14.50 The Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase 3m abt 1f Chase
15.30 The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy 2m 87y Hurdle
16.10 The OLBG Mares’ Hurdle Race 2m 3f 200y Hurdle
16.50 The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase 2m 4f 44y Chase
17.30 The National Hunt Chase (Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase) 3m 7f 147y Chase

 

Ladies Day

The second day at Cheltenham is all about fashion whether its stylish hats for the ladies or tweed jackets for the gentlemen. There’s no official Cheltenham dress code but if you’re a racegoer on Ladies day, make sure you’re dressed in your finest for a thrilling day of racing.

The big race of the day is the Champion Chase where Nicky Henderson is strong-handed again with last year’s winner Altior currently odds-on.

Here’s your schedule for Day Two at the festival:
13.30 The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Race 2m 5f Hurdle
14.10 The RSA Insurance Novices’ Steeple Chase 3m 80y Chase
14.50 The Coral Cup Hurdle (A Handicap Hurdle Race) 2m 5f Hurdle
15.30 The Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase 1m 7f 99y Chase
16.10 The Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase 3m 6f 37y Chase
16.50 The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Race 2m 87y Hurdle
17.30 The Weatherbys Champion Bumper (A Standard Open NH Flat Race) 2m 87y Bumper

 

St Patrick’s Thursday

It doesn’t always fall on St Patrick’s day, but Thursday at the Cheltenham festival is dedicated to Ireland. The drinks always flow in the Guinness village and the Irish raiders love nothing more than a winner on the day.

Top Irish trainer, Willie Mullins has taken the last two renewals of the Stayers’ Hurdle with Nichols Canyon and Penhill, so keep an eye out for Faugheen and the double-seeking Penhill this year.

St Patrick’s Thursday
13.30 The JLT Novices’ Chase 2m 3f 166y Chase
14.10 The Pertemps Network Final (A Handicap Hurdle Race) 2m 7f 213y Hurdle
14.50 The Ryanair Chase 2m 4f 127y Chase
15.30 The Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle 2m 7f 213y Hurdle
16.10 The Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (A Handicap Steeple Chase) 2m 4f 127y Chase
16.50 The Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle 2m 179y Hurdle
17.30 The Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Steeple Chase (0-145) 3m 2f Chase

 

Gold Cup Day

The climax of the festival is Gold Cup day, and with £625,000 in prize money on offer, it’s the richest non-handicap chase in jumps racing. The Gold Cup has produced some of racing’s most abiding memories as the greats such as Arkle and Desert Orchid have stormed up the Cheltenham hill.

It’s a special year in 2019 as the original Gold Cup will be awarded to the winner for the first time since the 1970s. The trophy was offered to Cheltenham racecourse by a private owner who had kept it in a bank vault for over four decades. It will now return to its rightful place on the winners’ podium to be awarded each year going forward.

Here’s the line up for the big day:
13.30 The JCB Triumph Hurdle 2m 139y Hurdle
14.10 The Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle Race 2m 179y Hurdle
14.50 The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Race 2m 7f 213y Hurdle
15.30 The Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup 3m 2f 70y Chase
16.10 The St. James’s Place Foxhunter Steeple Chase Challenge Cup 3m 2f 70y Hurdle
16.50 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase 2m 62y Chase
17.30 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle 2m 4f 56y Hurdle

 

Cheltenham Festival Tips

 
We’ll keep you up-to-date with the best tips for the festival as our experts seek to uncover the value.

We keep a close eye on the betting and you’ll be the first to know about the latest steamers and market-movers.

You’ll get our latest ante-post tips as Cheltenham approaches and news filters in from around the stables. And we’ll have a full betting guide for each day with our best bets for every race.

Click here for our Cheltenham festival betting tips.

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Cheltenham Festival Results and History

 
Form is hugely important in horse racing, and so are the historical trends that can help you narrow down the field. A look back over previous Cheltenham festival results can give you plenty of pointers to help pick out the winners.

Here’s the last ten year’s results in each of the four big races:

The Champion Hurdle
  Horse Trainer Jockey Age Odds
2018 Buveur d’Air Nicky Henderson Barry Geraghty 7 4/6F
2017 Buveur d’Air Nicky Henderson Noel Fehily 6 5/1
2016 Annie Power Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh 8 5/2F
2015 Faugheen Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh 7 4/5F
2014 Jezki Jessica Harrington Barry Geraghty 6 9/1
2013 Hurricane Fly Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh 9 13/8F
2012 Rock On Ruby Paul Nicholls Noel Fehily 7 11/1
2011 Hurricane Fly Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh 7 11/4F
2010 Binocular Nicky Henderson Tony McCoy 6 9/1
2009 Punjabi Nicky Henderson Barry Geraghty 6 22/1

 

The Champion Chase
Horse Trainer Jockey Age Odds
2018 Altior Nicky Henderson Nico de Boinville 8 EvensF
2017 Special Tiara Henry de Bromhead Noel Fehily 10 11/1
2016 Sprinter Sacre Nicky Henderson Nico de Boinville 10 5/1
2015 Dodging Bullets Paul Nicholls Sam Twiston-Davies 7 9/2
2014 Sire de Grugy Gary Moore Jamie Moore 8 11/4
2013 Sprinter Sacre Nicky Henderson Barry Geraghty 7 ¼
2012 Finian’s Rainbow Nicky Henderson Barry Geraghty 9 4/1
2011 Sizing Europe Henry de Bromhead Andrew Lynch 9 10/1
2010 Big Zab Colm Murphy Barry Geraghty 9 10/1
2009 Master Minded Paul Nicholls Ruby Walsh 6 4/11

 

The Stayers’ Hurdle
Horse Trainer Jockey Age Odds
2018 Penhill Willie Mullins Paul Townend 7 12/1
2017 Nichols Canyon Willie Mullins Ruby Walsh 7 10/1
2016 Thistlecrack Colin Tizzard Tom Scudamore 8 EvensF
2015 Cole Harden Warren Greatrex Gavin Sheehan 6 5/2F
2014 More Of That Jonjo O’Neill Barry Geraghty 6 15/2
2013 Solwhit Charles Byrnes Paul Carberry 9 17/2
2012 Big Buck’s Paul Nicholls Ruby Walsh 9 5/6
2011 Big Buck’s Paul Nicholls Ruby Walsh 8 10/11
2010 Big Buck’s Paul Nicholls Ruby Walsh 7 5/6
2009 Big Buck’s Paul Nicholls Ruby Walsh 6 6/1

 

The Gold Cup
Horse Trainer Jockey Age Odds
2018 Native River Colin Tizzard Richard Johnson 8 5/1
2017 Sizing John Jessica Harrington Robbie Power 7 7/1
2016 Don Cossack Gordon Elliott Bryan Cooper 9 9/4F
2015 Coneygree Mark Bradstock Nico de Boinville 8 7/1
2014 Lord Windermere Jim Culloty Davy Russell 8 20/1
2013 Bobs Worth Nicky Henderson Barry Geraghty 8 11/4F
2012 Synchronised Jonjo O’Neill Tony McCoy 9 8/1
2011 Long Run Nicky Henderson Sam Waley-Cohen 6 7/2F
2010 Imperial Commander Nigel Twiston-Davies Paddy Brennan 9 7/4F
2009 Kauto Star Paul Nicholls Ruby Walsh 9 9/4

 

Cheltenham race betting 2019

Cheltenham Festival Trends and Statistics

 
They say that the stats don’t lie, and we’ve picked out some of the most telling Cheltenham trends to help give you the upper hand in the big races.

The Champion Hurdle Winners’ Trends

Of the last twelve winners:

  • 5/12 were favourite or joint favourite
  • 10/12 were between 6 and 8 years of age
  • 9/12 won on their previous run
  • 10/12 had at least one previous Grade 1 win
  • 9/12 ran within the last 51 days

The Champion Chase Winners’ Trends

Of the last twelve winners:

  • 9/12 were between 7 and 10 years of age
  • 7/12 had a previous win at Cheltenham
  • 10/12 were rated 164 or higher
  • 11/12 had at least one previous win that season
  • 9/12 were in the top three of the betting market

The Stayers’ Hurdle Winners’ Trends

Of the last twelve winners:

  • 9/12 had at least one previous Grade 1 win
  • 9/12 were between 6 and 8 years of age
  • 8/12 were in the top three of the betting market
  • 9/12 had at least one win at Cheltenham
  • 10/12 were rated 158 or higher

The Gold Cup Winners’ Trends

Of the last twelve winners:

  • 11/12 were between 7 and 9 years of age
  • 10/12 won on their previous run before the festival
  • 10/12 were rated 166 or higher
  • 12/12 had at least one Grade 1 win
  • 5/12 winners were favourite

Trainer and jockey trends are also worth looking out for as the powerful stables bring out the big guns for the highlight of the jumps season.

As you can see from the table below, Irish trainers Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins have dominated in the handler’s stakes. Top English trainers Nicky Henderson and Paul Nichols have provided the only competition. Ruby Walsh has long-since cemented his position in Cheltenham folklore, and he’s topped the riders’ chart for an incredible 8 of the last 10 years.

2008 – 2018 Results
Year Top Trainer (wins) Top Jockey (wins)
2018 Gordon Elliott (8) Davy Russell (4)
2017 Gordon Elliott (6) Ruby Walsh (4)
2016 Willie Mullins (7) Ruby Walsh (7)
2015 Willie Mullins (8) Ruby Walsh (4)
2014 Willie Mullins (4) Ruby Walsh (3)
2013 Willie Mullins (5) Ruby Walsh (4)
2012 Nicky Henderson (7) Barry Geraghty (5)
2011 Willie Mullins (4) Ruby Walsh (5)
2010 Nicky Henderson (3) Ruby Walsh (3)
2009 Paul Nichols (5) Ruby Walsh (7)

 

Cheltenham Festival Free Bets and Betting Offers

 
It’s a huge time of year for the bookmakers and there are plenty of free bets for you to claim.

Over £150 million is bet on the Cheltenham Festival each year. The bookies are keen to get a slice of that action and come up with a great variety of different special offers to grab your attention.

You can expect to get some tasty enhanced odds sign-up offers on at least one short-priced favourite. This kind of offer is a good starting point for betting at Cheltenham because it gives you a boost to get you off and running. Stakes are usually limited to £5 or £10, but when you’re getting odds of 4/1 or 5/1 on an odds-on favourite, it’s practically free money.

Most betting sites offer non-runner no bet deals, so you don’t lose out on ante-post bets or late withdrawals. Extra place terms are also common among our best bookies giving you a better chance of a return if your runner comes in 4th or 5th.

We’ve got the best offers from some of the biggest bookmakers for the festival. And we’ll keep you up-to-date with all new promotions in the build-up to the festival.

Claim one of our Cheltenham free bets today and get started.

Cheltenham Festival Tickets and Hospitality

 
Over 200,000 pints of Guinness are sunk at the Cheltenham festival, more than 10,000 bottles of Champagne are opened, and over 30,000 hospitality meals are consumed. It’s about much more than just horse racing.

While lots of punters go for the day’s racing, plenty of people enjoy a full Cheltenham racing break to take advantage of the facilities and entertainment at the event.

The Jockey Club offer a whole range of hospitality packages, including hotel stays and helicopter transport to the racecourse.

There are several Michelin star restaurants on the festival grounds and a boutique shopping village. You’ll see live performances from bands in five different locations throughout each day, and of course, there’s the ever-popular Guinness Village.

The cheapest single day tickets to the festival are £41, which gives you access to the Best Mate enclosure. Around £60 will get you into the famous Tattersall’s enclosure where you’ll get a better view of the winning post. And for roughly £90 you can get access to the more exclusive Club enclosure with prime viewing positions of both parade ring and winning post.

If you really want to make it an occasion, you can enjoy fine dining in a private box with a perfect view of the racecourse. However, the top private boxes go for around £900 per person, so you might need to back more than a few winners to pay for it!

Racing Glossary

 
Going: The going refers to the official state of the turf on the racecourse. The main categories are firm, good, soft, and heavy. Certain horses prefer to race on firm or soft ground and it can make a big difference to their chances in a race.

Chase: Sometimes referred to as a steeplechase, a chase is a race where horses jump larger rigid obstacles called fences. The fences are a minimum of 4 ½ feet in height.

Hurdle: A hurdle is a race in which horses jump smaller obstacles, usually 3 ½ feet in height.

Bumper: A bumper race is a national hunt flat race for horses who are training to become hurdlers and chasers. The races are generally restricted to four, five, and six-year-olds and run over 1 ½ to 2 ½ miles.

Cross Country: One race each year at Cheltenham is run over the old cross country course. It takes th festival back to its roots, with the race consisting of a variety of natural and man-made obstacles including banks, ditches and hedges.

Stayer: A stayer is a term used to refer to horses that thrive on tests of stamina. In jumps racing, staying races are held over 3 – 4 ½ miles where extreme stamina comes into play.

Novice: A novice is a horse who had not won a race under a particular code (hurdle or chase) prior to the current season. Novice races can be great pointers to future success, with runners in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle often aimed at the following season’s Champion Hurdle. For chasers, the RSA Chase is seen as a stepping stone to the next year’s Gold Cup.

Furlong: A furlong is one eighth of a mile. For example, a 2 ½ mile race is often referred to as a distance of two miles four furlongs.

Handicap: A handicap is a race where horses carry different weights to compensate for their relative ability. Each horse is allotted a rating by the official handicapper which determines the weight it will carry in the race. The aim is to level the playing field and make the race more competitive.

Each-way bet: An each-way bet is when your stake is split into two bets, one backing the horse to win and one backing it to place in the race. A place means finishing in the first 2 – 5 of a race, depending on the number of runners. If your horse places, you will be paid out at a quarter or a fifth of the odds. If it wins, both parts of your bet are paid out.

Blinkers: Blinkers are a type of headgear worn by horse to restrict their peripheral view and help them to concentrate on the race.

Steamer: A ‘steamer’ is a horse who is being continually backed in the betting markets causing its odds to shrink in the build-up to the race. The opposite is a ‘drifter’ – a horse whose odds get larger because it is not being backed.

Market-mover: A ‘market-mover’ can be a steamer or a drifter – it refers to a horse whose odds are changing due to the amount of money being bet on the race.

Ante-post: The ‘post time’ is the start of the race. Ante-post bets refer to wagers placed at least a day in advance of the race, sometimes months beforehand.

Non-runner no bet: This is a deal offered by several bookmakers. If your horse doesn’t run in the race for any reason, your bet is refunded. It’s useful for ante-post bets where a horse might get injured before the big day and be unable to race.

Extra place terms: Another deal offered by bookmakers, extra place terms means your each-way bets will be paid for an extra finishing position in the race. For example, if the top three places are paid out in a race, a bookie offering extra place terms will pay out for the first four finishers.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Jockey Club expects over 260,000 people to attend the festival over the course of the four days in March 2019. The average attendance is 65,000 per day while the maximum capacity on Gold Cup day is 70,000.

The first official Cheltenham Festival was held in 1911. It was originally named the National Hunt Meeting and had regularly changed venue since the first National Hunt Chase was run in 1860. The meeting settled at Cheltenham in 1911 after an agreement between the National Hunt Committee and the Steeplechase Company, and it has remained at Cheltenham’s Prestbury Park ever since.

The prize fund for the 2019 Gold Cup is a whopping £625,000. In addition, the original Gold Cup will also be awarded to the winner this year after its return to the racecourse. It will be mounted on a plinth bearing the name of every horse to have won the famous race.

The top two trainers in the history of Cheltenham are Willie Mullins (61 winners) and Nicky Henderson (60 winners). Both have great chances to add to their numbers at the 2019 Festival. The leading jockey is Ruby Walsh, with 58 winners to date at the Cheltenham Festival. His partnership with Willie Mullins is one to watch again this year.