The Cheltenham Festival is a major four-day horse-racing event that promises heaps of exciting action both on and off the track.
The prize money to be won at Cheltenham is second only to the Grand National – glory and riches are waiting!
Festival 2015 at the Cheltenham Racecourse is a four-day event that runs from Tuesday, March 10 to Friday, March 13. Cheltenham is often referred to as the jewel in the National Hunt racing crown, and the 2015 edition of this annual festival promises to be no exception when it comes to hosting some of the best jump action of the season. Each day of the event is aptly titled and boasts its own race schedule as well as a host of extracurricular activities.
The festival features seven races a day, 28 contests overall, and this review highlights two must-see races from each of the four schedules.
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The Cheltenham Festival tends to attract a lot of casual action, which often leads to an emphasis on straight bets — win, place and show — and a bigger choice of prop bets. Since the most important races at this event usually stress the favorites, each-way wagers are quite popular as well. With an each-way bet, the bettor cashes in whether the horse wins or places, and the advantage over a straight place bet is that the payout is larger on a win.
Experienced punters generally gravitate to the more complex bets, such as a quinella, which requires choosing the first- and second-place finishers in any order, or an exacta, which is similar but requires exact order. The most ambitious horseracing wager is the multiple bet, also called parlaying, and in this configuration, the bettor combines two or more bets of any type. Adding bets to a parlay lengthens the odds but also increases the payout multiplier.
Day One Schedule: Champion Day, Tuesday 2015 March 10
Champion Day hosts a seven-race schedule that begins with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and concludes with the Novices’ Handicap Chase. This day is named for the Stan James Champion Hurdle, which most consider as the most important race of the hurdle season. The four main contenders for the Champion Hurdle are Faugheen, the Neptune winner last year; The New One, who will be unbeaten going into this race; Jezki, who won the event last year but has unperformed this season; and Hurricane Fly, who looks to regain the title for a second time.
Schedule Day One:
1:30 Supreme Novices Hurdle
2:05 Arkle Challenge Trophy
2:40 Festival Handicap Chase
3:20 Champion Hurdle
4:00 David Nicholson Mares Hurdle
4:40 National Hunt Steeple Chase
5:15 Centenary Novice Chase
Supreme Novices Hurdle
The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Race is the very first contest of the festival, and while it’s enthralling for that reason alone, the expectations surrounding Douvan are fascinating. While much noise downplays his expected dominance, we really like him and Lami Serge as a quinella option.
Day Two Schedule: Ladies Day, Wednesday 2015 March 11
Ladies Day is one of the most recognized events in racing because it is as much about fashion as it is racing and thus tends to attract a casual crowd in addition to the fans. This day also has a seven-race schedule, and it starts with the Diamond Jubilee National Hunt Steeple Chase and concludes with the Weatherbys Champion Bumper. A highlight of this day is the sportingbet.com Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase. The 2013 champion Sprinter Sacre is the odds-on favorite, but Gary Moore’s Sire De Grugy looks every bit as good as he did when he won last year.
Schedule Day Two:
1:30 Neptune Investment Hurdle
2:05 RSA Chase
2:40 Coral Cup
3:20 Queen Mother Champion Chase
4:00 Cross Country Handicap Chase
4:40 Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle
5:15 Champion Bumper
The Coral Cup Hurdle is the third race of Ladies Day. It’s traditionally one of the most open races at the festival, and that looks to be the case here again in 2015. We wouldn’t place big money on this one, but it’s a great slot for longshots due to how many of them have a legitimate chance to win.
Day Three Schedule: St. Patrick’s Thursday, Thursday 2015 March 12
The third day of Cheltenham is associated with St Patrick’s Day festivities, but it also features an eight-race schedule that begins with the Jewson Novices’ Steeple Chase and finishes with the St. Patrick’s Derby, a charity race. The JLT Novices’ Chase is of particular note to punters because it has historically presented the best value of the entire slate. Although less of a value, the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle is popular among bettors as well because every participant must quality, which yields a very competitive race coupled with a great deal of unpredictability.
Schedule Day Three:
1:30 JLT Novices Chase
2:05 Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle
2:40 Ryanair Chase
3:20 Ladbrokes World Hurdle
4:00 Byrne Group Plate
4:40 Kim Muir Challenge Cup
Day Four Schedule: Cheltenham Gold Cup Day, Friday 2015 March 13
The fourth day is the culmination of the event. It boasts a seven-day race schedule that begins with the JCB Triumph Hurdle and concludes with the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Steeple Chase. Of course, the highlight is the race everyone is waiting for: the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase. Lord Windermere comes in as the defending champion, and while there is little doubt that he will be in the final frame, few are bullish on him. Silviniaco Conti is the favorite, and Many Clouds, Road To Riches and Holywell are more favorited than the reigning champ.
Schedule Day Four:
1:30 JCB Triumph Hurdle
2:05 County Handicap Hurdle
2:40 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle
3:20 Cheltenham Gold Cup
4:00 Foxhunter Steeple Chase
4:40 Conditional Jockeys Hurdle
5:15 Grand Annual Chase
Grand Annual Chase
The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Steeple Chase Challenge Cup closes out this year’s Cheltenham Festival, and it promises to be a doozy. This race is tough to predict and often won by a horse at double-digit odds, so it’s usually a great spot to take a flyer on some long shots.
Cheltenham Free Bets
The JLT Novices’ Chase on day three is already trending, and that comes as little surprise, but keep in mind that some trainers will be waiting until the final moments to determine if their horses participate. Doing well at Cheltenham is usually about minimizing risk, but most punters will want to risk some of their bankroll on double-digit odds, and this race is as good as any with which to do that. Combination bets for the Champion Hurdle on day one involving favorites also look to be solid bets. The Ladbrokes World Hurdle also presents some enticing options, but the best action on this event is likely to be in the ante-post market.
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