Cheltenham racecourse is a natural amphitheatre, set in a valley and is a left handed track. The course is shaped like a heart. It has some sweeping turns and many undulations with avery steep uphill finish, making it one of the most testing racecourses in the country. Cheltenham has seen some of the most exciting finishes in the most prestigious races in the National Hunt racing calendar.
The Cheltenham Festival
Below is our helpful guide to the world's most famous national hunt racing festival, with some interesting facts and even useful advice on how to get there!
Most Famous National Hunt Race Meeting In The World
The March race meeting at Cheltenham is the date that every lover of National Hunt horse racing marks on their calendar. It is the most famous jumps meeting in the world. It is not just host to some of the best horse races ,but it is one of the biggest social events of the horseracing year. Over 200,000 spectators attend the 4 day race meeting, which includes 26 top class races.
Cheltenham Racecourse Opened in 1815
The first organised Flat race meeting in Cheltenham took place in 1815 on Nottingham Hill, with the first races on Cleeve Hill in August 1818. Racing’s popularity soared over the next decade with crowds of 30,000 visiting the Racecourse for its annual two day July meeting featuring the Gold Cup, a 3m flat race. In 1829, Cheltenham’s Parish Priest, Reverend Francis Close, preached the evils of horseracing and aroused such strong feeling amongst his congregation that the race meeting in 1830 was disrupted. Before the following year’s meeting the grandstand was burnt to the ground! To overcome this violent opposition the racecourse was moved to Prestbury Park, its current venue, in 1831. Steeplechasing became established in nearby Andoversford from 1834 and moved to the present course in 1898. In 1964, Racecourse Holdings Trust (now Jockey Club Racecourses) was formed to secure the future of Cheltenham. The Group now owns 13 other racecourses – a combination of Jumps, Flat, Dual Purpose and All Weather racecourses. Wholly owned in a Trust by The Jockey Club, Jockey Club Racecourses reinvests all of its profits into its 14 racecourses to ensure the continued success and development of British horseracing.
Cheltenham Festival Days and Races
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL DAY ONE – TUESDAY: Supreme Novices Hurdle, Arkle Challenge Trophy, William Hill Handicap, Champion Hurdle, Cross Country Chase and David Nicholson Hurdle.
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL DAY TWO – WEDNESDAY: National Hunt Chase, BP Novices Hurdle, RSA Chase, Queen Mother Champion Chase, Coral Cup, Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle and Wetherbys Champion Bumper.
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL (LADIES DAY) DAY THREE – THURSDAY: Jewson Novices Handicap Chase, Pertemps Final, Ryanair Chase, Ladbrokes World Hurdle, Festival Plate Handicap Chase and Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase.
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL DAY FOUR – FRIDAY: Triumph Hurdle, County Handicap Hurdle, Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase, Foxhunter Steeple Chase, Martin Pipe Conditionals’ Hurdle and Grand Annual Steeple Chase.