The Cheltenham Festival, which features four days of nonstop activity in March every year, is the highlight of the Jumps racing calendar. The Festival’s 2023 edition is much awaited and will take place in only two months. The 28 events that make up the Cheltenham Festival 2023 are the most fiercely contested of the entire racing season, including almost 500 horses vying for over $6 million in win and place prize money, which is second only to the Grand National in status among jump races.
Unexpectedly, Nottingham Hill hosted Flat races on the earliest days of the 1800s, which were some of pioneer horse racing events held in the vicinity of Cheltenham. It was not until 1834 that Cheltenham hosted the first-ever Grand Annual Steeplechase, the oldest race on the National Hunt calendar, and this is when the jump racing that we have come to know and love so much began. It is two years younger than the renowned Grand National, which is run at Aintree.
Naturally, there are a number of different meets that take place throughout the annual Festival, with the event continuing to attract horse racing enthusiasts in their droves. Indeed, with excitement levels for the event being high, here are just some of the hotly-anticipated races and horses that you need to keep a close eye on in March!
The Champion Hurdle
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The Champion Hurdle, widely regarded as one of the world’s best hurdles races, serves as the focal point of Day One’s activities. Honeysuckle, one of the most impressive racehorses at jumps, will try to add to her 2021 Champion Hurdle success and continue her undefeated streak in this race, which has been won by some excellent horses over the years.
Queen Mother Champion Chase
The Queen Mother Champion Chase takes center stage on Day 2. Potential winners must have flawless foot placement over a 2 m distance in what is thought to be one of the toughest jumping tests. Shishkin has established himself as the face of National Hunt racing in recent years, and he is anticipated to run in this year’s Champion Chase.
Given the race’s popularity and the importance of the meet at the Cheltenham Festival throughout its history, it should hardly come as a surprise that the event is one of the premier races that continues to attract horse racing enthusiasts from around the world. Indeed, a global audience watches intently, with a number of those viewing placing bets on the outcome of the race. The 2023 edition will particularly attract gamblers who will want to explore some of the best horse race bets & odds that will be made available ahead of the iconic meet.
Three major contests are scheduled for Day Three of the Festival, which is unusual. The first one is the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase, which is run over a 2m 5 f intermediate distance. The Festival’s lineup has found this to be a big success. On Day Four, wagering enthusiasts can also take in the Stayers’ Hurdle. This is the ultimate competition for staying hurdlers and is often regarded as the more recognizable of the two Thursday highlights.
Cheltenham Gold Cup
The Cheltenham Gold Cup, which takes place on Day Four, marks the Festival’s conclusion. This race, which many would argue is the most well-known of the entire week, is the one that every trainer, jockey, and owner hopes to win, and its roll of honor is full of legendary National Hunt athletes.
Horses To Keep An Eye On
Despite the fact that favorites have a mixed track record in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, highly regarded horse Facile Vega appears to be one of the primary contenders. Although he has already won a Grade One hurdles race, the Weatherby’s Champion Bumper winner from last year has yet to experience defeat in his career.
However, none of the inexperienced chasers have yet impressed in the way that Jonbon has since switching to fences, despite the fact that four of the top five horses in ante-post Sporting Life are well-trained. Despite being defeated by stablemate Constitution Hill in the Supreme race last season, Grade One winner over hurdles Jonbon was always anticipated to perform better when put over the bigger obstacles.
For many, the superstar horse is a top favorite for the 2023 Cheltenham Festival. He appears set to start as the shortest-priced Champion Hurdle favorite in history, and for good reason. Unbeaten in five attempts, he was the highlight of the 2017 Cheltenham Festival courtesy of a magnificent 22-length victory in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, and nothing has been able to touch him in two Grade One races this year.