The Festival as it is known to followers of the National Hunt Racing calendar is run at the Cheltenham Racecourse during the second week of March.
The Cheltenham Festival is without doubt the biggest meet of the year and is one of the most prestigious events for horses, jockeys and trainers who compete for the coveted honor of winning at Cheltenham.
Feature races include; The Champion Hurdle, The Queen Mother Champion Chase, The World Hurdle and The Gold Cup. Other major races: the Triumph Hurdle, Supreme Novices' Hurdle, Royal & Sun Alliance Novices' Hurdle and Arkle Challenge Trophy.
The Cheltenham Festival
Atmosphere plays a big part over the four days and it just seems to get more charged every year, especially when there's an Irish winner!
There is a famous Cheltenham roar that is at its loudest when the horses come into the home straight and try and get up the Cheltenham hill which often changes the complexion of the race with horses that are seemingly out of contention, coming from the clouds to nail the leader.
There is also traditionally a huge roar at the start of the first horse race of the meeting. Cheltenham Festival sees a record £3m in prize money at stake over the four days celebrating European National Hunt Jump Racing.
The Cheltenham Festival sees 480 horses, 230,000 spectators, £25m in bets and 200,000 pints of Guinness consumed. It all sets the scene for some spectacular horse racing bets for what is considered the biggest horser racing party in the calendar year!
Cheltenham Day 1
The Arkle tends to go to form. Horses priced shorter than 10/1 are generally a good bet. The Arkle run at Cheltenham Racecourse has in the past 10 years only produces 1 winner with odds bigger than 10/1.
Champion Hurdle Multiple winners are not uncommon here. Istabraq won 3 years in a row (1998-2000). Hardy Eustace won the race in both 2004 and 2005 running of the Champion Hurdle race. The last 8 winners of the Champion Hurdle has all had previous wins at the Cheltenham Festival - so look out for previous winners.
National Hunt Handicap
This race attracts a large field as it is the 1st big handicap meeting of the Festival. Antonin, back in 1999, was the last favourite to win the race - so no conclusive evidence that the favourite is worth backing.
Cheltenham Day 2
Royal and SunAlliance Chase
With 1 favorite winning the Royal and Sun Alliance Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in the past 12 years - it's no wonder that this race is difficult to predict.
This race is normally won by horses between the ages of 7-8 years - with 2006's winner, Star De Mohaison, being the exception at age five.
Queen Mother Champion Chase
Favourites and Arkle winners have a strong record running the Queen Mother Champion Chase - with a small field usually being entered.
Young horses do not fair well at the Queen Mother - with the last five year old winner back in 1973. Six of the last ten Champion Chase winners won at the festival over fences.
Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle
The first big handicap hurdle of the meeting and is always a lively betting heat. Only one favourite has won in the last ten years but there are often some big gambles.
Cheltenham Day 3
Ladbrokes World Hurdle
This is the featured race on day three of the Cheltenham Festival. Horses ages between 6-8 years are the ones to watch - with the favorites tending to have the edge. Keep in mind that a horse that ran previously and finished in the top 4 places is definitely worth a punt.
Racing Post Plate
Formerly called The Mildmay of Flete, trainers Pipe and Henderson hold a good record in this event. Nine y/o do well. Average winning odds are over 20/1 so look for Each Way value.
National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup
The longest race of the meeting and a very tough one to get right. Seven and eight year olds hold a significant advantage. Rule out unplaced runners last time out and also runners with an absence of 45 days racing or more.
Cheltenham Day 4
The Triumph Hurdle race is normally won by a previous winner or a horse that has won at least twice during the current National Hunt Racing Season.
Novices Hurdle Final
Stick to runners that are 5-6years old - previous winners of the Novice Hurdle Final and second placed horses also tend to be ones to punt. Horses that are 12/1 or lower in the betting are the ones to watch.
Cheltenham Gold Cup
Avoid horses younger than 7 or older than 10. Previous win or place form at the festival is a must - with the Cheltenham Gold Cup considered by most as the must see race.
Horses that have not been heavily run and with less than 14 career runs are worth a look in. Horses that have won over 3 miles or lfurther are worth noting as well.