Cheltenham Festival 2024 Preview: A Century of Racing Excellence

Horse racing fans will already be checking their calendars and getting excited about the upcoming Cheltenham Festival. The event which runs from the 12-15 March, is the UK’s most popular horse racing festival and one of the greatest racing festivals in the world.

Not only is winning a race at this National Hunt festival highly coveted, but so too is a ticket. A record aggregate attendance of 280,627 people was set in 2022, as thousands of racing fans from around the world descended on Cheltenham racecourse in Gloucestershire, England.

The premier event of the jump-racing season, this year’s festival will be more exciting than ever with the iconic Gold Cup celebrating 100 years since its inaugural race in 1924. It promises to be an incredible race, with last years winner Galopin Des Champs a strong favourite to retain his Gold Cup crown. But who will be likely to win the 100th Gold Cup? You can check out the latest Cheltenham betting offers here and review the latest odds for each contender.

Every year, cheered on by the most passionate fans in the world, the best horses, jockey’s, trainers, and breeders, come to Cheltenham hoping to secure a famous win. With 28 races over 4 days, 14 of which are Grade 1 races, Cheltenham is where history is made, and legends are created.


Day One: Champion Day – Schedule

  • 13:30 The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Race (Grade 1)
  • 14:10 The Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
  • 14:50 The Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase (Premier Handicap)
  • 15:30 The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1)
  • 16:10 The Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle Race (Grade 1)
  • 16:50 The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Race (Premier Handicap)
  • 17:30 The National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup (Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Steeple Chase) (Grade 2)

The feature race of the day is the 2-mile Grade 1 Unibet Champion Hurdle. Last year’s winner was Nicky Henderson’s Constitution Hill, finishing nine lengths clear of the rest of the field

This year it’s hard to look past Constitution Hill repeating the feat, although trainer Wille Mullins will be hoping for better luck this time round, with runner-up State Man and Vauban also among the favourites.


Day Two: Style Wednesday – Schedule

  • 13:30 The Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle Race (Grade 1)
  • 14:10 The Brown Advisory Novices’ Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
  • 14:50 The Coral Cup Hurdle (A Handicap Hurdle Race) (Premier Handicap)
  • 15:30 The Betway Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
  • 16:10 The Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase
  • 16:50 The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Steeple Chase Challenge Cup (Premier Handicap)
  • 17.30 The Weatherbys Champion Bumper (A Standard Open NH Flat Race) (Grade 1)

Wednesday’s premier race is the Betway Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase, a Grade 1 event jump over 2 miles and 12 fences. Last year saw the favourite Energumene become the 13th dual winner after successfully defending his 2022 triumph. This year’s race looks too close to call, although Edwardstone, Boothill, Captain Guinness and Ferny Hollow are all tipped to do well.


Day Three: St Patrick’s Thursday – Schedule

  • 13:30 The Turners Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
  • 14:10 The Pertemps Network Final (A Handicap Hurdle Race) (Premier Handicap)
  • 14:50 The Ryanair Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
  • 15:30 The Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
  • 16:10 The Trust-A-Trader Plate (A Handicap Steeple Chase) (Premier Handicap)
  • 16:50 The Ryanair Mares Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2)
  • 17:30 The Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Steeple Chase

One of the most thrilling racing days of the year, St Patrick’s day sees a passionate Irish crowd fill the stands at Cheltenham, creating an atmosphere like no other. The days feature race is the Grade 1, Ryanair Steeple Chase over 17 fences.

Last year saw Rachael Blackmore bring Envoi Allen home first and Allaho is many peoples choice for 2024. The Nicky Henderson trained 9-year-old has an impressive record over fences and won the 2022 Cheltenham Ryanair Chase, making him a stand out favourite for this race.


Day Four: Gold Cup Day – Schedule

  • 13:30 The JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1)
  • 14:10 The County Handicap Hurdle Race (Premier Handicap)
  • 14:50 The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Race (Grade 1)
  • 15:30 The Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
  • 16:10 The St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Steeple Chase
  • 16:50 The Mrs Paddy Power Mares’ Steeple Chase (Grade 2)
  • 17:30 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (0-145)

There’s no discussion when it comes to the race of the day, with all eyes on the 100th running of the iconic Cheltenham Gold Cup over jumps. The blue riband race is run over a distance of 3m2f and 70 yards, with 22 fences to be navigated along the way.

Galopin Des Champs, the French-bred Irish-Trained thoroughbred is looking to retain his Gold Cup crown and is the clear favourite. However, only eight horses have ever won the Gold Cup more than once, with Al Boum Photo (2019, 2020), Kauto Star (2007, 2009), and Best Mate (2002, 2003, 2004) the most recent.

The winner will take home over £350,000 and Shishkin Geri Colombe, L’Homme Presse, and Fastorslow are best placed to stop Galopin Des Champs from creating history. However, the Gold Cup can be unpredictable, with Norton’s Coin famously winning and pulling off the biggest ever Gold Cup upset in 1990 at odds of 100/1.

Toby @ Punter2Pro
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