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 2017 Cheltenham Festival will kick off Tuesday, 14 March and end with Gold Cup Day on Friday, 17 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, 14 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
The 2016 Cheltenham races will be remembered for some spectacular results and heart-pounding action. Day 1, Champion Hurdle Day, opened the Festival with a minor shock when Altior outclassed the heavily fancied Min to win the Supreme Novices' Hurdle. Douvan showed why he is one of the classiest horses to emerge in years to take the Arkle. But the big talking point of Day 1 was Annie Power, who made up for her, now infamous, 2015 fall with a stirring victory in the Champion Hurdle.
Day 2, Ladies' Day, had a lot to live up to, but more than delivered with some of the finest races of the week. Yorkhill opened the day with a fine run to win the Neptune Investment Management Hurdle. However, all eyes were on the Champion Chase: the pre race chatter was all about two horses, the odds on favourite Un de Sceaux and the injury-ravaged hero, Sprinter Sacre. The latter was given little chance in the betting, but delivered one of Cheltenham’ finest performances to win the race by several lengths.
St Patrick’ Day at Cheltenham 2016 continued the trend that this Festival would turn out to be a classic. Black Hercules put in a big performance to win the JLT Novices' Chase for trainer Willie Mullins. The mercurial Irish trainer’ luck was in again when Vautour won the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase later in the day. But the big talking point was Thistlecrack winning the World Hurdle, this big, muscular brute of a horse announced himself on the biggest stage with a fine win with Tom Scudamore in the saddle.
The final day of Cheltenham 2016, Gold Cup Day, was a fitting end to a fantastic festival. Ivanovich Gorbatov took the first race of the day, the JCB Triumph Hurdle. Later, the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle went to Unowhatimeanharry in what was a fine ride by Noel Fehily. Of course, the big story of the day was the Gold Cup. The list of runners was incredible, it included Don Poli, Cue Card, Djakadam and Don Cossack, who were all very tightly packed together in the betting odds. But the Gold Cup results show that it would be Don Cossack’ day; he fought off a challenge from Djakadam to land the trophy for jockey Bryan Cooper and trainer Gordon Elliot.