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Thursday, 17 January, 2019

All you need to know about the Cheltenham Festival 2018: your questions answered

The Cheltenham Festival attracts big crowds and plenty of interest
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Ahead of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival, which is fast approaching and starts on March 13 with the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, here is everything you need to know about the big four days at Prestbury Park.

When is the Cheltenham Festival?
The 2018 Cheltenham Festival will take place between Tuesday, March 13 and Friday, March 16.

Where is the Cheltenham Festival?
The meeting takes place at Cheltenham Racecourse, Prestbury Park, on the outskirts of the Gloucestershire spa town of Cheltenham.

How do I buy tickets?
The easiest way is usually to buy tickets through the racecourse's website. On-the-day sales are sometimes an option, but are not recommended and the final day of the meeting, headlined by the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, historically sells out.

How do I follow it on TV and online?
Coverage of the Cheltenham Festival will be on ITV, which will show the first five races on each of the four days. Full televised coverage of all 28 races can be found on the Racing UK subscription channel.

Cheltenham: stage is set for a cracking festival

For those following online, stick with We will be at Cheltenham for all four days, bringing the most in-depth results, previews, reaction and tipping from our team of reporters on-track. Race replays will also be available to Members' Club Ultimate subscribers.

What are the big races?
The four main championship races headline each of the four days. Tuesday, known as Champion Day, includes the Champion Hurdle. Wednesday, Ladies' Day, the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Thursday is known as St Patrick's Thursday, whichever date it happens to fall on, and hosts the Stayers' Hurdle (as well as the de facto fifth championship event, the Ryanair Chase). Gold Cup day features the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the most prestigious prize in jumps racing.

What about the other races?
Just about every division in National Hunt racing is covered in the Cheltenham Festival, which earns it the moniker of jump racing's Olympics. Some races are subject to long-term sponsorship deals and are better known by those names. The full schedule is as follows:

1.30 Supreme Novices' Hurdle
2.10 Arkle Challenge Trophy
2.50 Festival Trophy Handicap Chase
3.30 Champion Hurdle
4.10 David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle
4.50 National Hunt Challenge Cup
5.30 Centenary Novices' Handicap Chase

1.30 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle
2.10 RSA Chase
2.50 Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle
3.30 Queen Mother Champion Chase
4.10 Cross Country Chase
4.50 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
5.30 Champion Bumper

1.30 JLT Novices' Chase
2.10 Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle
2.50 Ryanair Chase
3.30 Stayers' Hurdle
4.10 Festival Plate Handicap Chase
4.50 Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle
5.30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup

1.30 Triumph Hurdle
2.10 County Hurdle
2.50 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle
3.30 Cheltenham Gold Cup
4.10 Foxhunters' Chase
4.50 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle
5.30 Grand Annual Handicap Chase

Who are the star names?
At the time of writing, two of last year's champions are on course to mount a strong defence of their title. Buveur D'Air is a warm order for a second Champion Hurdle, while Sizing John has good claims of following up in what looks an open Gold Cup.

Special Tiara, last year's Champion Chase winner, is also a likely runner but has looked a fading force this season. He also has to contend with jump racing's rising star Altior, who won the Racing Post Arkle last year and remains unbeaten over both hurdles and fences.

One of the star human names is Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins, who along with stable jockey Ruby Walsh has plundered plenty of prizes at the meeting in recent seasons, especially on day one. British champion trainer Nicky Henderson is set for a big week with both Altior and Buveur D'Air in his care, while Gordon Elliott, last year's leading trainer at the meeting, saddles big novice hurdle hope and Irish banker Samcro in the Ballymore.

Where can I find Cheltenham Festival racecards?
The final fields for all Cheltenham Festival contests will be available on as soon as they are released by Weatherbys, racing's administration firm, at approximately 11am two days before the race. Potential runners for the non-handicap races are available and can be seen here.  

Where can I find Cheltenham Festival tips?
You have, once more, come to the right place. Ante-post tipping for the Cheltenham Festival runs more or less year-round on our tipping pages and get more frequent and honed as the meeting approaches. Make sure to check us out regularly so that you never miss a price.

You've got it wrong, I'm looking for the other Cheltenham Festival
A common confusion. The Cheltenham Festival of Literature takes place in October.


We will be at Cheltenham for all four days, bringing the most in-depth results, previews, reaction and tipping
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