Guide to Cheltenham Festival 2016

what is cheltenham

What is Cheltenham Festival?

Cheltenham Festival is a four-day event held annually in March at the Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. The festival brings together the best horses from Britain and Ireland with prize money on offer matched only by the Grand National.

The festival, which originated back in 1860, is known for its raucous atmosphere, highlighted by the “Cheltenham roar”, which refers to the enormous amount of noise that the crowd generates as the starter raises the tape to signify the beginning of the carnival. The Festival is held each year to coincide with St. Patricks Day, something that only enhances the already boisterous mood of festival punters.

A record 248,521 racegoers went through the turnstiles during the 2015 festival, a figure that is expected to rise again this year.

In total 14 Group 1’s will be run and won at Cheltenham Festival, varying from hurdles, fences and flat races.

One of the main attractions of the festival is the £575,000 Cheltenham Gold Cup, which takes place on the Friday of the festival (Saturday morning Australian time). Often referred to as the ‘Blue Riband event of jump-racing’, the Gold Cup is run over a distance of 3 miles 2½ furlongs (5,331 m), with jockeys and horses needing to navigate past 22 jumps.

Other highlights of the festival are the Champion Hurdle, Champion Bumper, Triumph Hurdle, Ryanair Chase and the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.


2016 Cheltenham Festival Schedule

*All times AEDT

Tuesday March 15th – Day One

(Wednesday March 16th AUS Time)

Time           Race        

12:30am     Supreme Novices Hurdle (G1)         

1:10am       Arkle Challenge Trophy (G1)

1:50am       Festival Handicap Chase               

2:30am       Champion Hurdle (G1)           

3:10am       Mares Hurdle (G1)  

3:50am       National Hunt Chase     

4:30am       Novices Handicap Chase    

Wednesday March 16th – Day Two

(Thursday March 17th AUS Time)

Time            Race                       

12:30am      Neptune Novices Hurdle (G1)            

1:10am        RSA Chase (G1)         

1:50am        Coral Cup            

2:30am        Champion Chase (G1)            

3:10am        Cross Country Chase     

3:50am        Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle    

4:30am        Champion Bumper (G1)      

Thursday March 17th – Day Three

(Friday March 18th AUS Time)

Time            Race                     

12:30am      JLT Novices Chase (G1)          

1:10am        Pertemps Final Hurdle  

1:50am        Ryanair Chase (G1)  

2:30am        World Hurdle (G1)   

3:10am        Festival Plate    

3:50am        Kim Muir Challenge Cup

4:30am        Mares Novices Hurdle  

Friday March 18th – Day Four

(Saturday March 19th AUS Time)

Time            Race                     

12:30am     Triumph Hurdle (G1)

1:10am       County Handicap Hurdle              

1:50am       Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle (G1) 

2:30am       Cheltenham Gold Cup (G1) 

3:10am       Foxhunter Steeple Chase            

3:50am       Conditional Jockeys Hurdle         

4:30am       Grand Annual Chase    

Set the Alarms – Here are the races you won’t want to miss


Cheltenham Gold Cup

Time: Saturday March 19, 2.30am AEDT
Distance: 3m 2 1/2f (5,331 m)

Race Profile

  • Only one horse aged under 7 has won the race since 1964.
  • 7 favourites have won out of the last 13 races.
  • Only two horses higher than 8.00 have won since 1999.
  • No horse older than 10 years of age has won since 1969.


Champion Hurdle 

Time: Wednesday March 16, 2.30am AEDT
Distance: 2m 1/2f (3,319 m)

Race Profile

  • 11 of the last 16 winners were trained in Ireland.
  • 24 of the last 30 winners had won at Cheltenham before.
  • Only one 5yo has won since 1985.
  • 7 of the last 14 winners were placed in the race the previous year.
  • Only 4 clear favourites have won in the last 13 years.


RyanAir Chase

Time: Friday March 18, 1:50am AEDT
Distance: 2m 5f (4,225 m)

Race Profile

  • 9 of the last 11 winners have started at 7.00 or less.
  • Only 3 favourites have won the race.
  • All winners bar one had won at Cheltenham previously.
  • 8 of the 10 winners were aged 8 or over.


World Hurdle

Time: Friday March 18th, 2.30am AEDT
Distance: 3 miles (4,828 m)

Race Profile

  • No 4 or 5 year old has won the World Hurdle.
  • Only one Irish trained winner in the last 17 races.
  • Only one horse higher than 7.00 has won the race since 2000.
  • 6 favourites have won in the last 13 years.

Cheltenham Festival Betting Strategies

The Hub will contain a comprehensive coverage of all feature races with expert analysis from Rory Delargy & David Massey from Racing Consultants. UK data specialists TimeForm will also be covering feature races from a purely data focus. Stay tuned to the International Racing section of The Hub for Cheltenham insights and betting strategies.