The 2019 Cheltenham Festival promises to be the biggest event of its kind, with the it being the most anticipated national hunt meeting in the horse racing calendar. The best runners and riders from the UK are set to battle it out for some of the most famous races in the sport between Tuesday 12th – Friday 15th March, writing themselves into the record books in doing so.
Gordon Elliott claimed the Champion Trainer title 12 months ago, however competition is set to be fiercer than ever in the South-West this year. Let’s take a closer look at just how things might pan out.
Day 1: Champions Day (Tuesday 12th, 2019)
Well-known races including the Supreme Novices Hurdle, Champion Hurdle and Arkle Trophy help to make up Champions Day at the Cheltenham Festival, along with a host of other competitive races that gives runners and riders a chance to shine in front of an expectant crowd.
The likes of Buveur D’Air and Summerville Boy were among the winners on the opening day in 2018, with the former having become the first horse since 2005 to retain the Champion Hurdle title. Names including Hurricane Fly and Istabraq have also won the Champion Hurdle in the past, with the latter having won it three times in succession between 1998-2000.
Day 2: Ladies Day (Wednesday 13th, 2019)
Perhaps the most glamorous among the Festival race days, Ladies Day is more than just fancy dresses and high heels, with the Queen Mother Champion Chase undoubtedly being the standout race on day two. Last year’s race saw star names Douvan and Altior do battle in what was one of the most anticipated races of the 2018 Festival, with Nicky Henderson’s prized asset eventually running out the victor.
There are a large number of prized on offer to racegoers on Ladies Day, however it is still ultimately events on the track that take centre stage, with races such as the Juvenile Handicap Hurdle and RSA Steeple Chase just two to look out for in March.
Day 3: St. Patrick’s Thursday (14th, 2019)
Many people’s highlight of the Cheltenham festival days, St. Patrick’s Thursday is the third day at Cheltenham, with live music accompanying the action on the track as it unfolds. The Stayer’s Hurdle, JLT Novices’ Chase and Ryanair Chase are among the standout races, with Irish trainers having dominated proceedings last year.
Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott winning six of the seven races on day three of the Festival, which included a success for Penhill in the Stayer’s Hurdle. Min, Apple’s Jade and Defi Du Seuil are among the favourites for the biggest titles on St. Patrick’s Thursday at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival.
Day 4: Gold Cup Day (Friday 15th, 2019)
The Gold Cup takes priority on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival, with many feeling that the race is the pinnacle of jump racing around the world. The Colin Tizzard-trained Native River won the famous race 12 months ago, seeing off an almighty challenge from rival Might Bite in what was one of the most competitive contests of the entire Festival.
Away from the Gold Cup, the JCB Triumph Hurdle, Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Race and Foxhunter Steeple Chase Challenge Cup help make up the final day line-up, as trainers look on nervously ahead of the Champion trainer award being decided.
Follow the Action
For those not lucky enough to be heading to Cheltenham Racecourse this year, it is now easier than ever to follow the action during the Cheltenham Festival week from the comfort of your own home or when on the move. Many bookmakers now offer live streaming of the historic event via their online websites and mobile apps, with a small bet normally required in order to gain access. Streams are in high-quality, meaning that you will not miss a thing from all 28 races of the 2019 Festival, taking place in March.