Cheltenham festival preview

The Cheltenham Festival is one of the most prestigious jumps race meetings in the horse racing world. As the saying goes ‘‘Football has Wembley, tennis has Wimbledon and jump racing has Cheltenham’’. 

Cheltenham is a four day festival and each day has a theme.  Champion day is the first of the four days which is usually greeted with great excitement. 

The first big race of the festival, the Champion Hurdle is run on this day. Trainer Willie Mullins will be hoping for a repeat of last year, when his horse Hurricane Fly, ridden by Ruby Walsh won the Champion Hurdle.

Day two is Ladies Day at the festival and is a chance for all women to dress up and win the coveted best dressed award.  

The Queen Mother Champion Chase is the highlight of Ladies Day each year and last year’s winner Sizing Europe will enter this year’s outing as the outright favourite, ahead of Big Zeb

The third day is usually geared towards St. Patrick’s Day as the festival coincides with the Irish national holiday. Many of the crowd often wear shamrock on their clothes on this day.  

Ruby Walsh has won the World Hurdle, Thursday’s flagship race, on the Paul Nichol’s trained Big Bucks for the last three years in a row. He is odds on favourite to retain the title this year.

Day four is the biggest and final day with the highlight of the festival, the Cheltenham Gold cup, being run on this day.

Last year Sam Waley-Cohen became the first amateur jockey in 30 years to win the coveted Gold Cup on his father’s horse, Long Run. The Nicky Henderson trained horse is the favourite for this year’s race ahead of previous winner, Kauto Star.

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