Get Ready For The Cheltenham Festival – What You Need To Know

CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 2019: Sign on the platform of Cheltenham Racecourse Station on the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Steam Railway.

Cheltenham is the biggest jump horse racing festival in the world and now is the time to learn the ropes and start getting excited about one of the greatest shows on turf. It is the be-all and end-all for everyone involved in jump racing and sees the best horses, trainers, and jockeys go to war in the heart of Gloucestershire.

For twelve months of the year, attention is focused on the four-day festival in March, and nearly every jump horse in training is campaigned throughout the year with Cheltenham in mind. For those with a keen interest in racing the Cheltenham Festival and its nuances are well known, but for those that don’t know their Gold Cup from their Champion Hurdle, or their Henderson from their Mullins, below we look at the main things you need to know.

The Two Big Races

All owners and trainers dream of having a horse capable of competing at the Cheltenham Festival, but to have an equine athlete good enough to challenge in one of the four championship races is another level altogether.

Gold Cup

The Gold Cup is the blue ribband of jump racing, and last year’s winner, Galopin Des Champs, who is again an Evens favourite in the racing betting for 2024, is an example of the special type of horse that is needed to win the big one.

Run over a distance of 3 miles and 2 furlongs, horses hoping to be included in horse racing tips for the famous race must possess a mix of speed, stamina, and the ability to jump quickly over the 22 fences faced around the track.

Champion Hurdle

The complete opposite of the Gold Cup, but no less significant and coveted, the Champion Hurdle pits the best two-mile hurdlers against each other. Hurdles are far easier obstacles to negotiate, but with the competitors reaching unbelievable speeds throughout, it takes a very talented horse to be able to jump at such velocity.

Some of the most famous horses in history have won the race over the years, but in the present climate, there is only one horse you need to know. Constitution Hill is the best horse in training right now and having been victorious in the race last year, it would be a huge surprise were he not to retain his crown in 2024.

Top Trainers

As the 2024 festival approaches, it is Irish trainer, Willie Mullins, that holds the record for most wins with 94. Mullins has swept up the top prizes in jump racing in the last decade, and with a top-class team of horses, including Galopin Des Champs, El Fabiolo, and Gaelic Warrior, at his disposal once again this year, he is likely to extend his record.

Although Irish horses and trainers have dominated the Cheltenham Festival in recent years, Britain’s top trainer, Nicky Henderson, has represented the home team with some big race wins. The veteran trainer is lucky enough to have the aforementioned Constitution Hill under his care, and he can also rely on the special pair of Shishkin and Jonbon in 2024.

Nicky Henderson” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Carine06

These are just examples of races and trainers that you need to know if you want to follow the action at Cheltenham this year, but there is so much more to the greatest four days of action in the year. If you are looking to follow the festival in 2024, now is the time to start swatting up.