CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL RACECARDS

View all the Cheltenham Festival 2024 racecards for each day of the festival, all in one place.

Cheltenham Races Guide

The Cheltenham Festival is the pinnacle of National Hunt jumps racing and a week that all racing fans look forward to. The prestige of the Cheltenham Festival is unrivalled with 28 top-class races spread across four days showcasing many of the sport’s best horses. There are 14 Grade 1 contests including the feature race on each day, the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase, Stayers Hurdle and The Gold Cup.

 

Cheltenham has three courses, the New Course, the Old Course and the Cross Country Course. The first two days of the Festival are run on the Old Course, before switching to the New course for the final two days. The Cross Country Chase on Wednesday is the only race to be run over the cross country fences, a figure-of-eight course set in the centre of Cheltenham racecourse that crosses both the Old and New courses.

The first day of the Cheltenham Festival, Champions Day, takes place on Tuesday 12th March 2024.

The opening race is traditionally the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, where the best two-mile novice hurdlers from Britain and Ireland will be greeted by the infamous Cheltenham roar as the week’s action gets underway. Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson have dominated the first Grade 1 of the festival in recent years, winning eight of the last ten runnings with high-class performers, with Vautour and Douvan scoring for the former and Altior and Shishkin for the latter. The Barry Connell-trained Marine Nationale was a ready winner in 2023, beating home Willie Mullins’ Facile Vega into second

The Arkle Challenge Trophy is a race for two-mile novice chasers, often seen as a stepping stone to the Champion Chase the following year. Iconic chasers Moscow Flyer, Azertyuiop, Voy Por Ustedes, Sizing Europe, Sprinter Sacre and Altior all won this race en route to Champion Chase glory 12 months later over the same course and distance. With the emergence of a classy performer throughout the season likely, it has historically been an enjoyable spectacle for punters with seven favourites winning in the past decade. El Fabiolo was the latest favourite to score for punters, putting in a superb effort to beat Jonbon into second. 

The Ultima Handicap Chase is the first handicap of the festival and one of two staying handicap chases on offer over the four days. The field tackle 20 fences on the Old course in a 3m1f test, with British-trained horses winning the last 16 runnings. Jonjo O’Neill and David Pipe have been responsible for three of those victories apiece and with a field of over 20 runners usually expected, the race often provides punters with a challenging betting heat with just three favourites scoring this century, including last year’s winner Corach Rambler. 

 

The feature race on day one is the Champion Hurdle, the most prestigious two-mile hurdle race in the British calendar. Superstars Night Nurse, Monksfield and Sea Pigeon won it twice each in a golden era for hurdling over four decades ago, while Istabraq emulated See You Then by winning the race for the third year in a row in 2000. Istabraq’s owner JP McManus has become synonymous with the race, with his green and gold silks carried to victory for six of the last 13 runnings. But all eyes will be on Constitution Hill again in 2024, who already looks to be one of the all-time greats of National Hunt racing. 

 

The Mares Hurdle is a relatively new addition to the Cheltenham Festival, established in 2008 as an incentive to keep mares in racing. Irish trainer Willie Mullins has won no fewer than nine of the 15 runnings, six of those with the remarkable Quevega. While Quevega’s place in Cheltenham folklore is set in stone, with a wine bar at the racecourse named in her honour, Mullins’ dominance in the race has begun to subside slightly with the last four runnings falling in the favour of other trainers. 

 

The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle is for four-year-olds who are generally thought not to have quite the class to compete in the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle. Introduced initially as a Listed race when the festival went to four days in 2005, the race was awarded Grade 3 status in 2009 and has become the bookmaker’s friend in recent years. In the past decade there have been six winners with a starting price of 25-1 or higher with Band Of Outlaws (2019) the only favourite to oblige during that period.

 

The first amateur riders’ race at Cheltenham is the National Hunt Chase. Initially a gruelling test over 4m for novice chasers, the distance was reduced to 3m6f in 2020 after just four runners completed the course 12 months earlier. A higher calibre of horse is needed to win the race in recent years demonstrated by 2017 winner Tiger Roll, who went on to win back-to-back Grand Nationals. Amateur riders were unable to compete in 2021 due to Covid-19 protocols but returned in 2022 when Patrick Mullins secured his third win in the race when helping Stattler to success, surpassing his father Willie’s two wins as a rider in this contest.

 

The second day of the Cheltenham Festival is Ladies Day and takes place on Wednesday 13th March 2024.

 

The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle kicks off the day and is often a stepping stone to either the Champion Hurdle or novice chases such as the Turners Novices’ Chase or the Festival Novices’ Chase. Ireland have held the monopoly over this race in recent years with the Ben Pauling-trained ’Willoughby Court in 2017,  the only non-Irish-trained winner in the last ten years. The Irish dominance continued in last year’s race with Impaire Et Passe providing the all-time leading trainer in this race, Willie Mulllins, with his sixth winner since 2008.

 

The Festival Novices’ Chase (formerly the RSA) is the novice equivalent of the Gold Cup and the most prestigious race of the season for staying novice chasers. Looks Like Trouble, Denman, Bobs Worth and Lord Windermere have all won the Gold Cup this century after taking this race at the previous season’s Cheltenham Festival. Might Bite, the 2017 winner of the race, has come closest to completing the double since, finishing second in the following year’s Gold Cup.

 

The Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle is one of the most competitive races of the festival. The winner needs to cope with the hustle and bustle of a field that usually features 20-plus runners and it also has to be a decent quality horse – the last six runnings have gone to a horse with experience in Graded races. Supasundae and Whisper both went on to Grade 1 glory after taking this race. Only one favourite has obliged in the 2m5f handicap in the last decade, with last year’s 50-1 winner Commander Of Fleet continuing the trend of shock winners.

 

The Queen Mother Champion Chase is the most prestigious two-mile chase in Britain and Ireland and has been won by some of the fastest chasers in racing. Nicky Henderson has won four of the last ten runnings of the race, namely with superstars Sprinter Sacre, in 2013 and 2016, and Altior in 2018 and 2019. However, Henderson has not won Wednesday’s feature since, with odds-on favourite Shishkin pulled up in 2022, allowing Energumene to provide Willie Mullins with his first win in the race. Energumene successfully defended his crown in 2023, winning by 10-lengths. 

 

The only race not run on the main Cheltenham racecourse is the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, which has its own track in the centre of the course. The obstacles and raised banks make it a unique test and it is no surprise that it has become a specialist’s track, with multiple winners a common occurrence. Garde Champetre won back-to-back runnings in 2008 and 2009 for Nina Carberry and Enda Bolger, while Balthazar King is another dual winner. Tiger Roll won this on the way to landing the Grand National in 2018 and 2019, and after regaining his crown from Easysland in 2021, was narrowly denied a record-extending fourth win by stablemate Delta Work in 2022. Delta Work retained his crown in 2023 and will be bidding to do so again in 2024.

 

The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase, named after the father of Nicky Henderson, was switched to Wednesday in 2021 from the Friday slot it had held since 2009. The 2m handicap chase, now run on the Old course, attracts a big field and is run at a fast pace which makes it a distinctive test – four of the last eight winners had run in the race previously; Next Sensation, Rock The World, Le Prezien and Croco Bay. Six of the last nine winners have also been supplied by British-based trainers.


The only race at the Festival not to be run over obstacles is the
Champion Bumper. It is designed for horses who are yet to begin their jumping careers and is often a starting point for top-class hurdlers and chasers, most notably Cue Card who won the race in 2010 at 40-1 and remains the only successful four-year-old this century. In recent years, the Cheveley Park Stud operation, who are better known for the exploits on the Flat, have used this race as a grounding for their future jump stars including Envoi Allen, Ferny Hollow and Sir Gerhard. Facile Vega halted Cheveley Park’s dominance when providing Willie Mullins with a record-extending 12th win in the race in 2022. 2023 saw a 1-2 for leading owner JP McManus with A Dream To Share edging out Fact To File.

 

 

The penultimate day of the Cheltenham Festival takes place on Thursday 14th March 2024, also known as St Patrick’s Thursday.

 

The opening race is the Marsh Novices’ Chase, registered as the Golden Miller, and is the chase equivalent of the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. Run over the intermediate trip of two and a half miles, the race has gone to an Irish-trained horse on all but three occasions since its inception in 2011. It often produces breathtaking displays such as Vautour’s flawless 15-length demolition job in 2015, and late drama such as Samcro’s win by a nose from Melon in 2020 and Galopin Des Champs’ final-fence fall in 2022. It should get St Patrick’s Day off to a flying start.

 

The Pertemps Network Final Hurdle is an ultra-competitive handicap contested by horses who have earned their spot through finishing in the first six in one of a series of qualifying races. A race which requires plenty of strategic planning, it is no coincidence trainers have gone on to win multiple runnings after cracking the code with a breakthrough success. David Pipe struck with Buena Vista in 2010 and 2011, Pat Kelly with Mall Dini (2016) and Presenting Percy (2017), while Gordon Elliott went one better to win the race three years running with Delta Work (2018) and Sire Du Berlais (2019, 2020).

 

The Ryanair Chase is the feature race over fences on day three of the Cheltenham Festival. A Grade 1 test over two miles four and a half furlongs, it is the championship contest for chasers whose optimum trip falls between that of the Champion Chase and Gold Cup. It has been won by stars such as Un De Sceaux, Vautour and Allaho as well as producing subsequent Gold Cup hero Imperial Commander, and King George winners Cue Card and Frodon. Despite sponsoring the race since 2006, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has only tasted victory once as an owner with Balko Des Flos in 2018.

 

The Stayers’ Hurdle is the most prestigious race of the season for long-distance hurdlers and threw up one of the greatest stars of 21st century jump racing in Big Buck’s, who won it four times in a row from 2009 to 2012 in the colours of the late Andy Stewart for trainer Paul Nicholls. Other classy multiple winners include Baracouda and Inglis Drever, who remains the only horse to regain his crown this century when following up his win in 2005 with back-to-back victories in 2007 and 2008. Flooring Porter became the first multiple winner since Big Buck’s, when successfully defending his crown in 2022. 2023 saw Sire Du Berlais roar back to his best, beating the defending champ Flooring Porter 3.5 lengths back into fourth. 

 

The Paddy Power Plate Handicap Chase is run over the same trip as the Ryanair. Though short-priced horses have scored for four of the last five years, the race can throw up winners at longer odds, such as Coole Cody (22-1), Darna (33-1), Carrickboy (50-1), Holmwood Legend (25-1) and Something Wells (33-1), who have all been successful since 2009. Legendary trainer Martin Pipe won this race four times and his son David is close to emulating that feat with three winners of his own, making him the joint-most prolific trainer in this race since the turn of the century with Venetia Williams.

 

The Daylesford Mares Novices’ Hurdle is one of the newest additions to the Cheltenham Festival calendar and since its introduction in 2016 has been somewhat of a one-man show, with Willie Mullins taking the first five runnings of the race. Mullins’ wins have ranged from odds-on shots such as Limini and Laurina to outsiders like 50-1 2019 winner Eglantine Du Seuil. The dominant reign of Mullins has been slightly halted in the past few of years with wins for the Henry de Bromhead-trained Telmesomethinggirl, Harry Fry’s Love Envoi and Jamie Snowden’s You Wear It Well. 

 

The second of the staying handicap chases at the festival is the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup for amateur riders over 3m2f. This race can often provide the platform for bigger things with Ballabriggs taking the 2010 running en route to Grand National glory the following year. The race usually goes to a progressive type with six seven-year-old winners in the last decade, although ten-year-old Chambard caused a 40-1 upset in 2022.

 

 

The final day of the Cheltenham Festival is Gold Cup day, taking place on Friday 15th March 2024.

 

The Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle is the championship event for four-year-old juvenile hurdlers. Four winners have gone on to land the Champion Hurdle, most recently Katchit in 2008. This was also the race that Tiger Roll burst onto the scene in 2014 with the first of his five festival wins. This race produced one of the most dramatic moments of the festival in recent years in 2020 as Goshen was set to be the most impressive winner of the race since the ill-fated Our Conor, when ten lengths clear approaching the last only to unseat jockey Jamie Moore.

 

The County Handicap Hurdle has been dominated by Willie Mullins since the race moved from its traditional slot as the final race of the meeting to its current placing as the second race on Friday in 2009. Mullins has won the race six times since then, including last year’s well-backed winner State Man, while Dan Skelton has also enjoyed this 2m1f handicap hurdle, landing his first festival winner with Superb Story in 2016 before following up with Mohaayed in 2018 and Ch’tibello in 2019.

Young long-distance stars get their chance to shine in the three-mile Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, a race won by future Stayers’ Hurdle winner Penhill in 2017. The race also gives an indication to potential Gold Cup horses with Bobs Worth and Minella Indo taking this race in 2011 and 2019 respectively before their wins in the festival feature. The only trainers successful more than once since the race was introduced in 2005 are Jonjo O’Neill and Willie Mullins, with the latter becoming the all-time leading trainer with three wins in the race when The Nice Guy took this event in 2022. In 2023 we saw Paul Nicholls’ and Chris Giles’ Stay Away Fay come home in front, a leading fancy for many in this years novice chase division. 

 

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most prestigious contest in jump racing, the championship event for long-distance chasers and a true test of stamina over a gruelling 3m2½f. Most of the sport’s biggest names, from Golden Miller to Desert Orchid, Dawn Run to Kauto Star, have won it. The legendary Arkle triumphed three times in the 1960s and the feat was matched by Best Mate in the early-2000s. After seven years without an Irish-trained winner between 2007 and 2013, there has been a significant change in fortune with Ireland taking eight of the last ten runnings.

 

The St James’s Place Festival Hunters’ Chase, formerly known as the Foxhunters’, is run over the same course-and-distance as the Gold Cup that precedes it but with the crucial difference being that it is for amateur riders. In order to qualify, a horse must be aged at least five and finished either first or second in hunter chases, won two open point-to-points or won one point-to-point and finished first or second in a hunter chase throughout the season. It is often viewed as the pinnacle of the season for amateurs.

 

The newest race in the festival programme is the Mrs Paddy Power Mares Chase, a Grade 2 run over two miles four and a half furlongs. The race was added to the meeting in 2021 in place of the novice handicap chase which was dropped from Cheltenham and is now run at Sandown the Saturday before the festival. In line with the other two contests for fillies and mares during the week, Willie Mullins asserted his dominance early by saddling a 1-2 in the inaugural running of the race in 2021, with Colreevy narrowly edging out Elimay with the runner-up going one better in 2022. In 2023 Impervious continued her progression to lower the colours of the much-fancied Allegorie De Vassy. 

 

The meeting ends with the only race confined to conditional jockeys, the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle over the same trip as the mares’ chase that precedes it. The race commemorates the 15-time champion jumps trainer who won 34 races at the Cheltenham Festival during his record-breaking career. It is restricted to horses with a BHA rating no higher than 145 but Champagne Classic, Killultagh Vic, Don Poli, Sir Des Champs and Galopin Des Champs have all gone on from success here to score at Grade 1 level. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Which are the biggest races at the Cheltenham Festival?

The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle has a high profile due to being the first race of the meeting but also because it has a history of producing superstars. The Champion Hurdle is the feature race on day one, with the Racing Post Arkle and the Mares’ Hurdle the other Grade 1s on Tuesday. The Queen Mother Champion Chase is the feature on day two, with the RSA Chase and Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle also significant races on Wednesday. The Stayers’ Hurdle and the Ryanair Chase share the limelight on Thursday, while the final day of the Cheltenham Festival is all about the Gold Cup, the most important and most valuable race of the entire meeting.

When are the Cheltenham runners confirmed?

Horses can be entered for races at Cheltenham at staggered intervals throughout January and February, handicap entries begin in late February. There is then a five-day declaration stage, for horses to be removed from any race. The final declaration stage is 48h before the race, at which point no horse is allowed to be double-entered at the Cheltenham Festival.

What are Cheltenham Non-Runners?

A non-runner is a horse that has been withdrawn from a race, after the 48h declaration stage. A non-runner on the day of the race, can cause a rule-4 in the betting ring, meaning any winnings to punters could be subject to a deduction.