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- Cheltenham 2015
The annual Cheltenham Festival will be run over 4 days from the 10th-13th March 2015. You can browse through fact-packs for each Cheltenham Festival race below, get the best odds on every entry in your race or read our in-depth tips for Cheltenham 2015 and previews.
|Cheltenham Card – Day 1, 10th March 2015|
|13:30||Supreme Novices’ Hurdle||(4yo+, Class 1, 2m 110y)|
|14:05||Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy||(5yo+, Class 1, 2m)|
|14.40||Festival Handicap Chase||(5yo+, Class 1, 3m 110y)|
|15.20||Stan James Champion Hurdle||(4yo+, Class 1, 2m 110y)|
|16.00||Dave Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle||(4yo+, Class 2, 2m 4f)|
|16.40||National Hunt Chase||(5yo+, Class 2, 4m)|
|17.15||Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase||(5yo+, Class 1, 2m 4f 110y)|
|Cheltenham Card – Day 2, 11th March 2015|
|13.30||Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle||(4yo+, Class 1, 2m 5f)|
|14.05||RSA Chase||(5yo+, Class 1, 3m 110y)|
|14.40||Coral Cup||(4yo+, Class 1, 2m 5f)|
|15.20||Queen Mother Champion Chase||(5yo+, Class 1, 2m)|
|16.00||Cross Country Handicap Chase||(5yo+, Class 2, 3m 7f)|
|16.40||Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle||(4yo, Class 1, 2m 110y)|
|17.15||Champion Bumper||(4yo-6yo, Class 1, 2m 110y)|
|Cheltenham Card – Day 3, 12th March 2015|
|13.30||JLT Novices’ Chase||(5yo+, Class 1, 2m 5f)|
|14.05||Pertemps Final||(5yo+, Class 1, 3m)|
|14.40||Ryanair Chase||(5yo+, Class 1, 2m 5f)|
|15.20||Ladbrokes World Hurdle||(4yo+, Class 1, 3m)|
|16.00||Byrne Group Plate||(5yo+, Class 1, 2m 5f)|
|16.40||Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup||(5yo+, Class 2, 3m 1f 110y)|
|17.15||St. Patrick’s Derby (Charity Race)||(1m 5f)|
|Cheltenham Card – Day 4, 13th March 2015|
|13.30||JCB Triumph Hurdle||(4yo, Class 1, 2m 1f)|
|14.05||Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle||(5yo+, Class 1, 2m 1f)|
|14.40||Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle||(4yo+, Class 1, 3m)|
|15.20||Cheltenham Gold Cup||(5yo+, Class 1, 3m 2f 110y)|
|16.00||CGA Foxhunter Chase||(5yo+, Class 1, 3m 2½f)|
|16.40||Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle||(4yo+, Class 2, 2m 4f 110y)|
|17.15||Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase||(5yo+, Class 1, 2m 110y)|
The Cheltenham Festival is the unofficial championship of national hunt racing in the United Kingdom and Ireland. While other important festivals take place at Aintree, Punchestown and Leopardstown during the course of the national hunt season, none attracts as many top quality horses from the UK, Ireland and the rest of Europe.
A total of 12 of the Cheltenham Festival’s 27 races are top rated Grade 1 events, attracting a substantial number of the highest rated racehorses active in national hunt racing. In addition many of the Grade 2, Grade 3 and handicap races at the Cheltenham Festival are considered to be unofficial championship races for their format and race distance.
The following is an introduction to the Grade 1 races at the Cheltenham Festival, giving you an overview of what makes each race a noteworthy part of the national hunt racing calendar.
The Supreme Novices Hurdle is probably the most eagerly anticipated novice hurdle event of the Festival. The race tends to attract relatively inexperienced hurdlers, and is known to attract bumper fields that travel at a fast pace over the 2 mile race distance. The race opens the Cheltenham Festival and is renowned for the loud roar that greets race leaders as they approach the finishing post.
Named in honour of one of Ireland’s most beloved racehorses, the Arkle is the premier 2 mile novices chase at the Cheltenham Festival. The race does justice to its namesake by attracting top quality horses, many of whom were stars over hurdles earlier in their career. The race is also considered a proving ground for horses with ambitions of competing in and winning the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
The Champion Hurdle is regarded as the most prestigious hurdles race in national hunt racing. The race is run over a distance just over 2 miles, and tends to feature an intriguing mix of established hurdles racehorses and impressive youngsters. The quality of the horses competing in this race can be outstanding, and when two top-class horses emerge as contenders has tended to produce some of the most breathtaking duels in national hunt history.
The Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle is the UK’s premier race for middle distance novice hurdles racehorses. The 2 mile 5 furlong race is notable for blooding two of hurdles racing’s greatest champions, with both Istabraq and Hardy Eustace winning the race before going on to multiple victories in the Champion Hurdle. This Cheltenham Festival race draws relatively small fields, and is sure test of class over this distance.
The RSA Chase is the UK’s premier race for top class staying novice chase horses. While the event is just over a furlong shorter than the Cheltenham Gold Cup, and run over a different course, it is considered to be the novices’ version of national hunt’s most prestigious race. With its fast pace and challenging distance, the RSA Chase is also considered to be one of the most grueling races at the Cheltenham Festival, and a significant number of entries will fail to complete the course in any given year.
The Queen Mother Champion Chase is the 2 mile steeplechase highlight of the Cheltenham Festival. It is not unusual for the race to feature a sample of the highest rated horses at the Cheltenham Festival in any given year. As a result the Queen Mother Champion Chase tends to attract some of the smallest fields at the festival, and it is not unusual for the race to produce repeat winners, with ten horses claiming two or more race wins since 1959.
The Champion Bumper is the only flat race run at the Cheltenham Festival, and the only Grade 1 flat race in the UK. The event can attract horses that have been successful stayers on the flat, and horses that are successful in the Champion Bumper have been known to cross over into long distance flat races like the Ascot Gold Cup. The event attracts large fields and is run at a fast pace, producing one of the most unpredictable, and exciting, events at the Cheltenham Festival.
The Ryanair Chase is the most important middle distance steeplechase for novices in the UK. A recent introduction to the UK racing calendar, the race attracts horses who are expected to compete in either the Queen Mother Champion Chase or the Cheltenham Gold Cup. To date one Ryanair Chase winner has come good at the highest level, with Imperial Commander winning both the Ryanair Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The World Hurdle is the ultimate showcase for the talents of national hunt’s best staying hurdlers. The race covers a distance of 3 miles, and since 2000 has been the Cheltenham Festival race that has most consistently reward top quality racehorses with a level playing field and excellent conditions. As a result the race has blooded a number of multiple champions, including three times winner Inglis Drever and four times champion, Big Buck’s.
The Triumph Hurdle is a novices hurdle run over a similar distance to the Supreme Novices Hurdle. However, unlike the Supreme Novices Hurdle entry is restricted to only 4-year-olds, which means the field is packed with contestants who are still finding their way in national hunt racing. Needless to say, the Triumph Hurdle is considered to be the most unpredictable Grade 1 hurdles race at the Festival, with betting markets rarely succeeding in pinpointing the eventual race winner.
The Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle is an important proving ground for horses who will be aimed at high quality stayers races later in their racing careers. While run over the same course and distance as the World Hurdle, the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle has launched the careers of a couple of horses that have succeeded in major steeplechase races. These include Gold Cup winner, Bob’s Worth, and RSA Chase winner, Weapon’s Amnesty.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is one of a handful of national hunt races that attracts extensive mainstream media coveragen in the UK. Winners of the 3 mile 110 furlong race are considered to be the superstars of national hunt racing, and the race has produced some of the sport’s most tense and exciting moments. The Gold Cup is also the primary race where the big stables slug it out, with the event dominated by the top trainers and highest-quality racehorses.