The UK’s national hunt season will reach its zenith in just a few weeks when the Cheltenham Festival kicks off on 13th March. Plenty of punters would argue that the four-day horse racing festival has now overtaken the Grand National as the UK’s premier racing event. While that view is subjective, it cannot be doubted that the Festival is now one of the must-see events in horse racing.
This piece intends to provide an overview of the 2018 Festival, highlighting some of the best races and odds of some of the standout candidates. If you are going to follow the races this year, check out the best Cheltenham free bets for UK punters before you part with your money.
Day 1: Champion Day – 13th March:
This is often the most exciting day at the Festival, best summed up by the ‘Cheltenham Roar’ – a huge cry that booms from the thousands of fans greeting the first race. There are four Grade 1 races on Champion Day – the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the Arkle Chase, Mares’ Hurdle and the Champion Hurdle. It is the latter which is the feature race of the day, as it acts as one of the great showcases in modern hurdling.
Best Tip for Day 1 at Cheltenham: Apple’s Jade in the Mares’ Hurdle at 5/6 (-120) William Hill.
Day 2: Ladies’ Day – 14th March:
A day noted for high fashion and thrilling racing, Ladies’ Day is all about the Queen Mother Champion Chase. The race has been won in the past by legends like Moscow Flyer and Badsworth Boy. If was also the scene of Sprinter Sacre’s comeback triumph in 2016 – one of the great stories of redemption in horse racing. Other brilliant races on Ladies’ Day include the RSA Chase and Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
Best Tip for Day 2 at Cheltenham: Fountains Windfall in the RSA Chase at 8/1 (800) William Hill.
Day 3: St Patrick’s Thursday – 15th March:
Named for the huge Irish connections to the Cheltenham Festival, Day 3 always has some spectacular action. It opens with the Golden Miller Novices’ Chase, which has seen luminous winners like Vautour and Sir Des Champs in recent years. Irish jockey Ruby Walsh won no less than four races on St Patrick’s Thursday last year, including the day’s main race – the Stayers’ Hurdle. Sometimes called the World Hurdle, the Stayers’ is the most prestigious long-distance hurdling event in horse racing. Don’t miss it.
Best Tip for Day 3 at Cheltenham: Sam Spinner in the Stayers’ Hurdle at 9/2 (450) Ladbrokes.
Day 4: Gold Cup Day – 16th March:
The climax of the Festival comes with the one of the great event in modern horse racing – the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Its roll of honour includes Golden Miller and Arkle, both near mythical figures in British racing lore. There has been plenty of buzz around this year’s early favourite, Might Bite, who has already tasted success in the King George VI Chase. Aside from the Gold Cup, punters can also look forward to the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle and Spa Novices’ Hurdle.
Best Tip for Day 4 at Cheltenham: Might Bite in the Gold Cup at 7/2 (350) Bet365.