The Cheltenham Festival is one of the biggest horse racing events on the planet and the real pinnacle of jumps racing for horses, trainers, jockeys and spectators alike.
In this guide, we give you the low-down on all the races at the Festival, the key runners to watch out for and a look at their 2021 Cheltenham Festival odds.
Before you can place any bet on Cheltenham, you need to know what the races are called, their distance and whether the horses will be jumping hurdles, fences or running in a bumper.
In 2021, even with the COVID-19 situation, the meeting is expected to run from Tuesday 16th March until Friday 19th March, with 28 races across the four days.
Day One – Tuesday 16th March
The first day of the Festival is well known for the famous ROAR, which goes up from the spectators at the start of the first race – the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
The day’s main event is the Champion Hurdle over two miles, which is a real test of speed for some of the quickest hurdlers in the UK and Ireland.
Owner, JP McManus, always has a strong hand with multiple winners including Istabraq and Buveur D’Air. He’s likely to have Epatante aiming to follow suit this season, as the hot ante-post favourite at around 9/4 with most bookies.
Day Two – Wednesday 17th March
The second day is opened by the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, which has unearthed some real talent down the years, none better than 2020 winner Envoi Allen, who could go on to further glory in the Marsh Novices’ Chase (EVS) this year.
However, the second day is headlined by the Queen Mother Champion Chase, which pits the best of the best over two miles. Altior has dominated this division for the last few years, but Chacun Pour Soi looks to be the new pretender.
He is the 6/4 favourite in the ante-post market, and the one to beat if he can stay fighting fit in the run up to March.
Day Three – Thursday 18th March
Day Three features another action packed card for punters to get stuck into, and is often the most competitive day with high quality fields battling it out in all seven races.
The Stayers’ Hurdle is arguably the main event with Paisley Park (3/1) and Thyme Hill (4/1) at the top of the market. They’ve already had a few ding-dong battles this season and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top at Cheltenham.
Elsewhere on the card, the Ryanair Chase is another hot affair with Willie Mullins regularly coming up trumps. He could follow up and land a double with Min, who is already installed as the 6/1 favourite.
Day Four – Friday 19th March
Despite hosting top quality races such as the Triumph Hurdle and Albert Bartlett, the final day is all about the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
For National Hunt enthusiasts, this is the biggest race in the calendar and one that everybody wants to win.
Willie Mullins went decades without winning one, but now has the chance to land a hat-trick with Al Boum Photo, who is already as short as 7/2 with some bookies.
Ante Post Betting On Cheltenham
The first thing to consider before choosing your bookmaker for Cheltenham is whether or not they offer ante-post betting on the meeting.
This has become increasingly popular in recent years, with punters having the ability to place bets on the Cheltenham Festival races up to 12 months before the actual event.
As a punter, this means you can often get bigger odds on your selection, as obviously, you take the risk of your selection even making it to the race.
Many bookmakers give out early ante post offers for Cheltenham, including non-runner no bet, boosted odds and specials such as the top trainer or jockey.