cheltenham festival

Your essential guide to the Cheltenham Festival 2018

For both avid and new racegoers, nothing compares to the Cheltenham Festival for colour, interest and excitement. It is widely considered to be the highlight of the jump season.

And, the 2018 event – being held 13th-16th March at the stunning Cheltenham racecourse at Prestbury Park – has all the ingredients of being a runaway success. So it’s no surprise that tickets in some categories have already sold out.

Why is the Cheltenham Festival special?

This sports event attracts upwards of 260,000 people over its four days, to enjoy breathtaking jump racing. The spirit and kudos of the festival – and the £4.5m prize money on offer – also attract the finest of horses, with the top named jockeys and trainers.

Cheltenham racecourse – which hosts the festival – is widely acclaimed as the home of National Hunt racing. This is a wonderfully laid out series of three courses, offering all that competitors and racegoers could possibly ask for.

The Cheltenham Festival uses both the “new” and “old” courses, and alternates to ensure the ground is not too churned up by the separate events. The third course is for the Cross-Country Chase held on the first day of the festival.

During the Cheltenham Festival, the horses compete across this ideal natural landscape, including undulating slopes that truly test their stamina and strength.

From the audience’s perspective, the course is visually appealing and set in stunning countryside. Cheltenham also offers the calibre of refreshments and facilities you would expect from a premier horse racing event.

But don’t let the beauty of the setting or the comfort factor fool you into thinking this is a “walk in the park”. The Cheltenham Festival offers some tough challenges for competitors, especially the notorious penultimate fence, which really tests tired jockeys and horses.

Horses to look out for

Fan favourites such as Thistlecrack and Footpad are likely to attend the Cheltenham Festival in 2018. And of course, the 2017 Gold Cup Winner Sizing John should be ready to defend his title. Other previous winners will be ready to prove their mettle too.

The younger talent to watch out for include We have a Dream, Samcro, Claimantakinforgan and Next Destination.

Ticketing of the Cheltenham Festival

The festival is split into different events: Champions Day (held on the 13th); the ever-popular Ladies Day (14th); St Patricks Thursday for anyone with the luck of the Irish (15th); and the climax, the Cheltenham Gold Cup on the 16th.

Clearly, you can pick the event that you would find most entertaining and interesting.

Another reason the Cheltenham festival is popular, is that it offers plenty of options for racegoers to see the action live, including affordable vantage points in its various enclosures.

There are various companies offering a variety of hospitality packages for the UK’s most prestigious Jump Racing event. However, the official Cheltenham Festival ticket office and online service offer plenty of options too.

Cheltenham Restaurant day packages vary in price, right up to £770 depending on your dining preference. However, enclosure spots to watch the action start from as little as £30. Prices do increase for the last day – the Cheltenham Gold Cup – with places in the Best Mate Enclosure starting at £50.

How to make a bet at the Cheltenham Festival

Whether you attend the event or not, you need to do some research and get the right information to help you to place a bet at the Cheltenham Festival. This is true whether you are a longtime fan of National Hunt Racing or someone trying betting for the first time.

Whether you attend the festival or follow it on TV, have an amazing time.