Cheltenham Festival

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The Cheltenham Festival takes place every spring in the spa town of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. The Cheltenham Festival is one of the most anticipated race meets of the British National Hunt season as it sees the premier of British and Irish race horses competing against each other. During the Cheltenham Festival millions of pounds exchange hands between the betters and bookies as enthusiastic spectators cheer on their favourite champions.

Free Racing Tips The Cheltenham races are held in March over four days and have the second largest prize fund in the country after the Grand National, which might explain why the festival is famous for 'the Cheltenham roar', a loud and infectious cheer that spectators let out at the beginning of each race. The Cheltenham races have been held at Prestbury Park since 1902 with the first National Hunt Steeplechase being raced in 1904 which twenty year later became the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is one of four championship races that take places during the Cheltenham Festival; the others include the Stayers Hurdle, the Queen Mothers Champion Chase and the Champion Hurdle. The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the main attraction at the Cheltenham Festival which is open to race horses aged 5 years and over. The race is held at Cheltenham Racecourse on the New Course and covers a distance of three miles and two and a half furlongs and during which the horses must jump over twenty two hurdles.

During the Champion Hurdle feel the electric atmosphere of the Cheltenham Festival's opening race. The race is run on the Old Course at Cheltenham Racecourse and covers a distance of two mile and one hundred and ten yards with eight hurdles to be jumped. The race is open to horses over three years old always promises to get a good old 'Cheltenham roar'.

The Queen Mothers Championship Race was originally known as the National Hunt Two Mile Championship Chase, until 1980 when the race was dedicated to the Queen Mother during her 80th birthday celebrations. The race was first run in 1959 on the Old Course at Cheltenham and has taken place there every year since on the second day of the festival. The Queen Mother was a big fan of the two mile race and successfully owned many National Hunt chasers, including Game Spirit who was the runner up of the race during the 1976 Cheltenham Festival.
Cheltenham Festival, inside rail

The fabulous four day Cheltenham races closes with the World Hurdle, a three mile sprint down the New Course which ends with huge celebrations and has a carnival like atmosphere with spectators toasting their victories or consoling their losses.

The Cheltenham Festival was originally a three day event until 2005 when the organisers decided to extend it so that each Championship race would take place on separate days, a decision welcomed by the horse racing community. However to keep up with traditions and to keep the spectators happy they also introduced five new races, so that each day would still have six races.

However, over the past several years the Cheltenham Races have come under fire from animal rights groups for the number of deaths and injuries to horses during the Cheltenham Festival, consequently the organisers have lowered several dangerous jumps and reduced the number of competitors competing in each race which has significantly reduced the number of fatalities.

The Cheltenham Festival is one of the most marvellous events in the horse racing calendar, as it showcases the best race horses that Ireland and Britain has to offer. If you're looking for a truly magical horse racing experience then head down to the Cheltenham races, where all the thrill and delights of the festival are waiting for you!