Cheltenham Festival | Racing & Live Betting

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Say ‘Cheltenham Festival’ and you’ll see a smile appear on the faces of, well, almost everyone. It’s fun and exhilarating, people dress up and oh, it offers massive betting opportunities. So how do you not only have fun, but stand a chance to win as well? We’ll tell you all about it.

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Ready to bet on Cheltenham? The annual horse racing calendar is filled with festivals of all shapes and sizes. But none of them offer as much entertainment, engagement and last but not least, opportunities for live betting, as Cheltenham.

The Cheltenham Festival is held every year at the Cheltenham Racecourse. And is a must attend event for jump jockeys and trainers from the top stables in the UK, Ireland and beyond.

Cheltenham doesn’t get as much attention from the masses as the Grand National. But the event is arguably the most important in the National Hunt season. Just look at the festival’s major races and its prize money (as well as the money wagered). And it’s clear that Cheltenham is second only to the Grand National in terms of size and stature. 

One of the main reasons the Cheltenham Festival is so popular with horse racing fans, other than the quality of its races, is the fact it traditionally falls on St Patrick’s Day. You read it correctly. Cheltenham Festival takes place in mid-March each year. And that means the live betting antics will kick into life around March 15. So hopefully some of that magic luck rubs off on your bet on Cheltenham.

Cheltenham Racecourse: A Complete Form Guide

Cheltenham Racecourse is located in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK, and is situated away from the main town in a rural setting. A natural amphitheatre carved into the landscape of the Cotswold Hills. The course is one of the most aesthetically pleasing in the world. And due to its size and location, it can hold an impressive 67,500 spectators. 

Back in the day the racecourse had its own steam railway station that connected to the national circuit. Although this is no longer the case, the railway is still a major feature of the racecourse. And one of the reasons Cheltenham is one of the more traditional race meets. 

In structural terms, Cheltenham Racecourse is split into two main sections: the Old Course and the New Course. Although both courses are deemed to be a test for even the best horses, the New Course has a slightly tougher downhill run. Cheltenham’s hurdles are often situated at the opening straight of the course. Which leaves an unusually long run into the home straight. This is relatively rare for jump races. But makes betting on Cheltenham so much more interesting.

Away from the famous Old and New Courses, Cheltenham also has a cross-country course that runs outside of the main circuit. Bringing all these elements together is the famous Centaur auditoria. Capable of holding 2,000 seated spectators, this open air stand is one of the largest in England. And allows Cheltenham to host a range of events, including concerts, conferences and graduation ceremonies. 

The Cheltenham Festival

Aside from the Grand National, the Cheltenham Festival is the richest race meet in the UK. In part because of the attendance of top stables in the UK and Ireland. Given the festival’s proximity to St Patrick’s Day, a number of Irish racing fans will make the trip over to Gloucestershire. Or watch an online horse racing stream via their computers. And bet on Cheltenham remotely.

The main appeal of Cheltenham for race fans is the high concentration of Grade I races on the schedule. The quality of runners and riders make for an impressive spectacle in terms of racing prowess. Which results in a loads of betting opportunities with the largest bookmakers in the industry.

Cheltenham’s Major Races

The Cheltenham Festival offers a higher concentration of Grade I races than any other festival. Spead out over a four day period. Which means there’s Grade I action every single day. Let’s have a look at the front-runners for your Cheltenham betting action.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup

Taking place on the New Course, this Grade I race is contested over a 3 mile 2 1/2 furlong circuit. Since the race was first run in 1924 the format has been tweaked. Nowadays the race contains 22 fences and it’s open to any Grade I horse aged five and over. The Cheltenham Gold Cup is regarded as the most prestigious National Hunt event in the industry. Which makes sense, given the standard of runners in the race.

The Queen Mother Champion Chase

Another Grade I race that takes place on Cheltenham’s Old Course. The Queen Mother Champion Chase is a testament to the festival’s royal connections. And often regarded as one of the most entertaining races of the year. It stretches over a 2 mile course and laces with 12 fences. The Champion Chase is always the feature race of Day 2 at Cheltenham. And traditionally offers prize money in excess of £350,000.

The World Hurdle

Regarded as the leading long-distance race on the National Hunt calendar. The World Hurdle is open to runners aged four-years-old and above carrying a weight of 11 stone. The race covers a distance of three miles, during which a horse will be required to clear 12 fences. 

The Champion Hurdle

The Champion Hurdle might not be as prestigious as the Gold Cup. But it is arguably one of the most intense and revered races on the racing calendar. Contested over a distance of 2 miles 2 1/2 furlongs, this race contains eight hurdles. First runner across the line is given the lion’s share of a prizepool worth around £400,000.

Cheltenham’s Legendary Runners and Riders

Over the years Cheltenham has seen some sensational races contested by the finest horse ever to grace the sport. The same goes for the men in the saddle. The list of top riders at the Cheltenham Festival in recent times reads like a who’s who of racing. 

Indeed, names such as Tony McCoy, Barry Geraghty, Ruby Walsh and Jamie Osborne have all claimed five titles in a single festival. The list also contains multiple race winners like Mick Fitzgerald, Richard Dunwoody and Peter Scudamore. However, when it comes to overall success at the Cheltenham Festival, there is no one who can challenge Mr. Walsh. 

Aside from claiming as many as five wins in a single festival, Walsh managed to win more Cheltenham races than any other jockey between 1980 and 2015 with a staggering 35 victories. 

Behind the men in the saddle a similarly impressive list of trainers sits. Many of the UK and Ireland’s top trainers focus much of their resources on the four-day festival. Prestige matters. This means they often peak a number of horse at the same time. With a plethora of winners as the end result. 

In recent years Willie Mullins has dominated with a total of 21 wins between 2011 and 2015. Impressive as this tally is, the honour of the most consistent trainer goes to Paul Nicholls though. The man behind Cheltenham Gold Cup winners in 1999, 2007, 2008 an 2009 as well as countless other festival titles. Nicholls has almost made a career of training champions for the leading National Hunt festival in the sport. 

Cheltenham Live Betting

Cheltenham will take place in March with the Gold Cup slated to get underway on the 18th. Early markets already have a number of horses among the favourites for the trophy – so make sure to do your research before you bet on Cheltenham. And keep in mind the odds will be subject to changes.

The fact that markets are already available for the festival shows its immense popularity. Helping to ensure top quality fields and impressive prizepools for many of the major races in will be a selection of online betting companies, including yours truly, Mobile Wins.

By clicking through the horse racing tab and entering the Cheltenham Festival, you’ll be able to speculate and bet on any horse you think looks strong in the parade ring, or bet on any rider who has shone in previous races. 


  • What is the Cheltenham Festival?

    The Cheltenham Festival is an annual horse racing event held at Cheltenham Racecourse in England, featuring top-class jump racing.

  • When does the Cheltenham Festival take place?

    The Cheltenham Festival is usually held in March, spanning four days of thrilling racing action.

  • What are the key races at the Cheltenham Festival?

    The festival features prestigious races like the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, and Stayers’ Hurdle.

  • Who are some legendary horses that have excelled at the Cheltenham Festival?

    Horses like Arkle, Desert Orchid, and Kauto Star have left indelible marks on the festival’s history.

  • What role does the Cheltenham Festival play in horse racing culture?

    The festival is a pinnacle event in the National Hunt racing calendar, attracting top trainers, jockeys, and horses from around the world.

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