Cheltenham Course Guide

Undisputedly THE home of National Hunt racing, Cheltenham and its four-day Festival represent the pinnacle of the sport. Put simply, no horse can be considered a jumps ‘champion’ without proving itself on the biggest stage of all in the Cotswolds in March.

For most professionally-involved in the sport, leading in or riding a winner at the Festival is an achievement equal or greater than any other, be it in a blue riband event such as the Champion Hurdle or Gold Cup or in one of the clutch of competitive handicaps that are an equal hallmark of the meeting.

Cheltenham’s position at the top of the tree is further boosted by its racing calendar outside of the Festival, which is possible due to the course having two tracks – the ‘Old’ and ‘New’ courses - at its disposal. The opening October meeting is viewed by many as the unofficial start of the season, whilst the standard of the three-day Open meeting a month later is almost as high as the Festival itself. Valuable races are staged at the mid-December and New Year meetings whilst the late January fixture is rightly billed as ‘Trials Day’. After the Festival there is also a popular two-day meeting in April and the season ends with the Hunter Chase evening in early May.


Left handed, undulating. Stiff fences; the fourth last comes soon after a turn at the top of the hill and catches out plenty. The last half mile is uphill, although the lead changes hands on the run-in less frequently than expected. Horses who race prominently often fare well on the chase course, especially in races up to 2m 4f 100yds. The hurdles course has just two flights in the last six furlongs, resulting in more emphasis on stamina; large-field races over two miles often go to hold-up horses, as there can be a tendency to go for home too soon.

To the naked eye, or to the layman, Cheltenham looks very stiff, but the two courses are actually totally different and I rate the Old Course much the quicker. So, especially on that, you need a horse that can travel easily within itself. Without one of those, you invariably find yourself snookered, because you’re always trying to get into a position to improve. Ideally, therefore, you need a horse that can get into a gap as soon as one appears, because there’s so little time to manoeuvre. If you have to think about going for a gap, nine times out of ten it’s too late - someone else will have got into it before you. As for the uphill finish, it only rides really testing if you’re on one that’s tying up. Then, it feels like an eternity from the last to the line.

View from the saddle: Mick Fitzgerald
Advance Going
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Upcoming races
12:40 Jcb Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle
grade 2 | registered As The Finesse
2m 1f | Class 1 | 4YO only | 6 ran
  • Winner: Galahad Quest 6/1
  • Jockey: H Cobden Trainer: Nick Williams
  • Owner: Holt, Macnabb, Robinson & Jeffrey
13:15 Timeform Novices' Handicap Chase
2m 4½f | Class 2 | 5YO plus | 12 ran
  • Winner: Simply The Betts 11/2 J2Fav
  • Jockey: G Sheehan Trainer: H Whittington
  • Owner: Kate & Andrew Brooks
13:50 Paddy Power 45 Sleeps To Cheltenham Trophy Handicap Chase
Grade 3
2m 4½f | Class 1 | 5YO plus | 10 ran
  • Winner: Cepage 8/1
  • Jockey: Charlie Deutsch Trainer: Miss V Williams
  • Owner: The Bellamy Partnership
14:25 Paddy Power Cotswold Chase
Grade 2
3m 1½f | Class 1 | 5YO plus | 6 ran
  • Winner: Santini 13/8 Fav
  • Jockey: Nico de Boinville Trainer: N J Henderson
  • Owner: Mr & Mrs R Kelvin-hughes
15:00 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle
Grade 2 | Registered As The Classic Novices' Hurdle
2m 4½f | Class 1 | 4YO plus | 8 ran
  • Winner: Harry Senior 4/1 2Fav
  • Jockey: R M Power Trainer: C L Tizzard
  • Owner: Brocade Racing
15:35 Cleeve Hurdle
Grade 2
3m | Class 1 | 5YO plus | 8 ran
  • Winner: Paisley Park 4/6 Fav
  • Jockey: Aidan Coleman Trainer: Miss E C Lavelle
  • Owner: Mr Andrew Gemmell
16:10 Steel Plate And Sections Handicap Hurdle
2m 1f | Class 2 | 4YO plus | 11 ran
  • Winner: Back On The Lash 13/2
  • Jockey: J J Burke Trainer: M Keighley
  • Owner: M Boothright G Lovett P Deffains

Address & Contact

Cheltenham Racecourse
GL50 4SH
01242 513014

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