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 2016 Cheltenham Festival will kick off Tuesday, 15 March and end with Gold Cup Day on Friday, 18 March. The racing world will be waiting with bated breath to see if the likes of Vautour, Gold Cup winner Coneygree, and Dodging Bullets can weave their magic over the Festival once again. Whatever the results, we are all in for a spectacular week of horse racing action.
Last year’s festival was stuffed full of great races with big shocks and triumphant wins by festival favourites throughout the week. You could hear the famous “Cheltenham Roar” as champion horses like Faugheen (Champion Hurdle winner), Douvan (Supreme Novices Hurdle winner) and Un de Sceaux (Arkle winner) all romped to victory. You could hear the cries of anguish as Annie Power fell when victory seemed all but certain. Tears were shed as the crowds waved goodbye to the legendary Tony McCoy who was racing his last Cheltenham Festival. All in all, a fabulous four days of racing.
Gold Cup Day in 2015 was an exciting affair, with Nico De Boinville riding Coneygree to glory in the Gold Cup race. It was De Boinville’s first ride in the Gold Cup and Coneygree made history by becoming the first novice to win the race in 41 years. Other highlights included Windsor Park thrashing the field in The Neptune Investment Chase, Vautour and Ruby Walsh winning the JLT Novices Chase and the favourite Peace and Co bringing it home in JCB Triumph Hurdle.
The festival is noted for its tradition with Ladies’ Day and Champion Day being particular highlights. St Patrick’s Day is also a fun affair with the festival’s Irish links being celebrated. Indeed, if any evidence is needed for the ‘luck of the Irish’, then look no further than trainer Willie Mullins who had 8 winners at the 2015 festival. Check out William Hill for all the latest news and betting buzz around the 2016 Cheltenham Festival.
Coneygree leads the 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup field Image by Steven Cargill