Open AccountOpen AccountDeposit 
DepositMy Bets
Join usDeposit
CasinoLive CasinoPromotionsSports

The Cheltenham Festival – An Introduction

The Cheltenham Festival 2022

This year, the 2022 Cheltenham Festival will begin on Tuesday 15 March with the final race on Friday 18 March. Horseracing fans are in for a treat with 28 National Hunt races under starters orders over these special four days. Each day features a 7-race card that are classed as chase, hurdle or bumper.

The event includes a mouth-watering 14 grade one races featuring the best horses from the most famous training stables, ridden by top class jockeys. There are several famous races across the Festival including The Champion Hurdle, The Queen Mother Champion Steeplechase, The Ryanair Steeple Chase, the Stayers Hurdle and the most famous of all, The Cheltenham Gold Cup. The winners of the races will enjoy a share of the massive four and a half million pound plus prize pot, which is only second in size to the Grand National.

With the famous ‘Cheltenham Roar’ and the amazing atmosphere, the Cheltenham Festival draws a huge crowd with hundreds of millions of pounds bet against the runners and riders. The Festival traditionally falls upon St Patricks Day making it an even greater celebration and ensuring that the course is popular with Irish visitors.

A Brief History of the Cheltenham Festival

The first horse racing event to be recorded in Cheltenham was at Nottingham Hill in 1815 with the first Cheltenham Gold Cup taking place in 1819. However, back in those days the race was contested on the flat. The Festival itself was established in 1860 when it was held at Market Harborough and called the Grand National Hunt Meeting. Thereafter, the meeting took place at a number of different locations.

In 1902 a new racecourse was developed at Prestbury Park where the Cheltenham Festival made its debut in 1904 and then once again in 1905 only to return to Warwick between 1906 and 1910. During this time, Prestbury Park was further developing its infrastructure with the construction of a fourth stand, improved drainage, paved areas and an increase in the number of saddling boxes in the paddock. With all these improvements the National Hunt Committee once again elected Prestbury Park to be the prime venue for the Cheltenham Festival in 1911. The venue never looked back and to this day it remains the favourite racecourse to hold the event.

When considering the most famous races of the Cheltenham Festival, the oldest is the Stayers Hurdle that took place in 1912. The current version of The Gold Cup first ran in 1924 with The Champion Hurdle following soon after in 1927. The Queen Mother Champion Chase was first introduced in 1959.

Today, the Cheltenham Festival at Prestbury Park hosts 28 races including 14 of grade one standard taking place over the four-day event, attracting around 250,000 visitors.

Famous Cheltenham Festival Horses

Arkle was such an all-time great that he had a race named after him at the Cheltenham Festival. One of the best jump horses ever, his pace and stamina helped him to win the majority of distance races. The bay gelding won the Gold Cup in 1964 and in 1965 again, that time by 20 lengths. If that was not enough, he claimed a hat trick of wins in 1966 with an even bigger margin of 30 lengths.

The most decorated horse of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Golden Miller, won five times on the trot. In 1934 Golden Miller made history by winning both the Gold Cup and the Grand National. Another horse that has a race named after him.

Best Mate was such a legend that he has an enclosure named after him at Prestbury Park. One of the few horses to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup on multiple occasions, in 2000, 2003 and 2004.

Famous Cheltenham Festival Jockeys

Ruby Walsh has outperformed all other jockeys at the Cheltenham Festival and reigns as the greatest of all time with a massive 56 wins. His first win came aboard Alexander Banquet in 1998. Since 1998, Walsh has been consistent in riding multiple winners at the Cheltenham Festival and has been the leading rider on no fewer than 11 occasions since 2004. Amassing an impressive collection of four Champion Hurdles and three Champion Chases.

A winner of more Arkles and Triumphs than his competition, Barry Geraghty has 34 wins to his name at the Cheltenham Festival. He has been the leading rider on two occasions and has won at least one race at every festival since 2002, except last year when he did not participate. A winner of two Gold Cups on Kicking King, two Champion Hurdles and five Champion Chases.

Tony McCoy has been such a successful jockey that he was knighted and is addressed as Sir Anthony. A winner of 31 races at the Cheltenham Festival, the first of which came in 1996. His last win was in 2015 and he has been the leading rider on three occasions. Sir Anthony has two Gold Cups and three Champion Hurdles against his record.

Famous Cheltenham Festival Trainers

Paul Nicholls has no fewer than 46 race wins to his name at the Cheltenham Festival. Trainer of the famous Kauto Star who raced to two of his three Gold Cup successes he has also had success in four Stayers Hurdles and two Champion Chases.

A winner of 64 Cheltenham Festival races, Nicky Henderson’s stable has produced some excellent pedigrees. He has been producing winners for approximately four decades with See You Then running home in the Champion Hurdle in 1985. This was one of no fewer than eight wins in this race. He also has six titles in the Queen Mother Champion Chases with his most famous horse being Altior.

By far and away the most successful trainer of horses at the Cheltenham Festival is Willie Mullins. Last year, six more races were won by his stable. Al Boum Photo won him the Gold Cup in 2019 and other horses such as Hurricane Fly and Quevega have won him no fewer than 78 races. Such is his domination in recent times he has won the leading trainer seven times out of the last nine meetings.

Prestbury Racecourse and the Cheltenham Festival


The racecourse is situated in Gloucestershire, approximately ten minutes by car from Cheltenham town centre. Cheltenham is approximately 50 miles by car South, South East of Birmingham and 40 miles West of Oxford.


It is one of the biggest racing venues in the United Kingdom with an official capacity of 67,500 spectators. With a left-handed course length of over two miles, most of the jumps are situated in the first half of the course with the last four furlongs leading uphill.


With such a volume of spectators it’s no wonder the racecourse has 13 high quality restaurants overlooking various parts of the racecourse. Private boxes are available to hire from 30 – 50 guests or you can rent private pods close to the racetrack for 12 – 20 people. Other facilities include a betting shop, children’s play area, pharmacy, gift shop, trophy room, food court, facilities for disabled persons and car parking.


Ticket prices for the Cheltenham Festival vary depending on the package. The most affordable entry price is for the Best Mate Enclosure from Tuesday to Thursday with an entrance fee of £25 - £33 per day. It offers direct and head on views of the finishing line as well as plenty of bars and food outlets to choose from.

The most expensive grandstand tickets range from £85 - £115 per day at the Guiness Enclosure. Positioned opposite the last fence, it also offers bars and live music.

There are hospitality packages starting from £575 that includes parking, betting service, TV coverage and an official race card. The most luxurious experience comes from a box or a pod with prices starting at £8,990 for an Orchard Pod.

Of course, it is still possible to enjoy the entire Cheltenham Festival from afar. At Sports we offer extensive coverage of all the races with numerous betting markets and competitive odds.

Here at we want to promote responsible gambling to ensure any betting is conducted in a sensible manner and that individuals maintain their spending within their financial limits. If you feel you may have a problem with gambling then visit for help and support.

Related Articles