It is difficult to think of a horse racing festival that matches the sheer excitement of The Cheltenham Festival.
Featuring a glut of top jockeys, trainers and some of the world’s finest horses, this feast of racing is undoubtedly one of the golden weeks in the UK sports calendar.
The 2019 Cheltenham Festival kicks off Tuesday, 12 March and end with Gold Cup Day on Friday, 15 March. The course can expect to welcome over 200,000 racegoers from all over the world, with it believed that more than £500 million will be gambled throughout the week.
The Festival features 28 races, 13 of which are Grade 1 races. The four day festival is always action packed, attracting some of the world’ best jockeys, trainers and, of course, horses. Held at the Cheltenham Racecourse, Gloucestershire, it features some of the finest jumps (national hunt) races in the world, including the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase and World Hurdle.
Don Cossack wins the 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup under Bryan Cooper
2018 Cheltenham winners back in 2019
Seven horses that won at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival are set to return in 2019 to defend their titles.
Five are among the favourites to repeat their victory, with these being Buveur D’Air (Champion Hurdle), Benie Des Dieux (Mares’ Hurdle), Altior (Champion Chase), Tiger Roll (Cross Country), Penhill (Stayers’ Hurdle) and Native River (Cheltenham Gold Cup).
The one exception comes in the betting for the Foxhunters, with Pacha Du Polder lining up for the fourth straight year. He was ridden to finish fifth by Olympic gold-medallist cyclist Victoria Pendleton in 2016, before being steered to victory by Bryony Frost in 2017 and Miss Harriet Tucker last year.