When it comes to the sport of horse racing, there are few events more prestigious than the Cheltenham Festival. Each year, the best horses and jockeys from across the UK and Ireland converge on Prestbury Park to battle it out in some of the biggest races on the calendar. Meanwhile, the punters analyse the best horse racing betting site to try and predict the winners.
Throughout the four days of action, there are standout races that attract the interest of all sports fans. These are the blue riband events of horse racing, and it’s every owner, trainer and jockey’s dream to land a winner in one of the Festival’s showpiece races. Read on, as we take a look at five of the most highly anticipated Cheltenham events each year.
The Champion Hurdle is the traditional curtain-raiser for the Festival as far as the showpiece races are concerned, and it’s usually a cracking contest. Run over a distance of about two miles and half a furlong, there are eight hurdles to be jumped in total, and there have been some memorable races over the years.
In 2021, Honeysuckle emerged triumphant for trainer Henry de Bromhead, with Rachael Blackmore in the saddle. It was a fine performance from the unbeaten mare, and she’ll be aiming to repeat the trick in 2022.
Queen Mother Champion Chase
The biggest race on day two of the Cheltenham Festival is the Queen Mother Champion Chase, which is run over fences at a distance of about two miles. The event is open to horses aged five and over, and has witnessed some of the most dramatic moments in Cheltenham Festival history over the years.
There was a real underdog story in 2021, as Put The Kettle On triumphed in the Champion Chase at the unlikely odds of 17/2, consigning Nube Negra and pre-race odds-on favourite Chacun Pour Soi to second and third respectively.
There are two big races on day three of the Cheltenham Festival, the first of which is the Ryanair Chase. Run over a distance of two miles and four and a half furlongs, this is an event that has grown in stature since its inauguration in 2005.
The 2021 edition saw Allaho rule the roost, earning another incredible win for Blackmore and ensuring a second successive victory in the Ryanair Chase for trainer Willie Mullins, following Min’s victory with Paul Townend in 2020.
The showpiece event on the third day of Cheltenham, the Stayers’ Hurdle is run over a distance of over two miles and seven furlongs, with 12 hurdles to be jumped by horses aged four years and over.
The 2021 victor was Flooring Porter, who got the better of the favourites Sire Du Berlais and Paisley Park to triumph for trainer Gavin Cromwell.
Even in a Festival with as many high-quality races as Cheltenham, the Gold Cup stands a level above. It is one of the most famous races in the world of horse racing, and it is every jockey’s dream to one day winning the prestigious race, run over three miles at the famous racecourse.
Minella Indo earned the victory for trainer De Bromhead in 2021, with Jack Kennedy in the saddle, pipping stablemate A Plus Tard to the prize.