When it comes to the Cheltenham Festival, horse racing betting is all about gauging the small details of horses, form guides, the racecourse and jockeys to determine who might win races.
This isn’t an easy task, even for experienced racing betting aficionados. That’s why Paddy Power is here to help with our series of Demystifying Racing guides, which is currently focusing on the Cheltenham Festival.
In this guide we will look at the Old Course and the New Course at Cheltenham, and explain why there are two courses used during the Festival that run side by side. You’ll also learn which horses are better suited to which courses, and how this can aid your picks when betting.
How is Cheltenham Racecourse set up?
If you’ve heard about the Old and New Courses at Cheltenham then you can likely guess that yes, there are two courses that overlap and diverge from each other at this racecourse. The reason for two courses is to provide different racing challenges for the horses, which means a wider variation of races can be staged during the four-day Cheltenham Festival.
Both courses naturally end at the finishing post in front of Cheltenham’s grandstands and both loop anti-clockwise into the countryside. But there is a split where the New Course extends further into the distance, which creates perfect conditions for longer races.
Knowing which course is being run will give you a better insight into how certain horses will fare, which we will examine in closer detail later in this guide.
What is the Cheltenham Old Course?
The Cheltenham Old Course is the original course that covers a shorter, tighter and more gentle run. It is less demanding than the New Course and its loop back towards the finish post cuts in much earlier.
Because of this, the Cheltenham Old Course is used for speedier horses who love to charge on a loosened rope, rather than the more steady, disciplined horses featured in longer steeplechase races on the New Course.
WELCOME TO PADDY POWER NEWS!
The last half-mile of the Old Course is uphill and there are tighter turns. Yet there is usually fewer changes of the lead on this course compared to its sister course. There are only four starting positions for the Old Course, including one in front of the grandstand.
What is the Cheltenham New Course?
As you may have guessed, the Cheltenham New Course came after the Old Course and runs in a wider arch into the countryside before coming back towards the grandstands. The additional bend on the New Course offers a wider racetrack and features a more gradual charge towards the final straight.
The New Course is used for more durable steeplechases at Cheltenham Festival, including the Cheltenham Gold Cup. It breaks from the Old Course after an open ditch and features just two extra jumps before the charge to the post begins.
There is a monster climb to the top of the hill on the New Course, which makes it a stamina-sapping run. Because of this, trainers will generally field their most durable horses for races on the New Course, which at the Cheltenham Festival take place on the Thursday and Friday.
Strong stayers are best equipped to succeed on the New Course.
- What does it mean when a horse is On the Bridle?
- What is a Black type horse race?
- What are the different types of going in horse racing?
- What is a bumper horse race?
- What are blinkers and why do some horses wear them?
- What is an Allowance Race in horse racing?
- What is the difference between hurdles and fences in National Hunt racing?
- What is a halter and why do some horses wear them?
- What does it mean when a horse has spread a plate?
- What is the Rule 4 betting rule in horse racing?
- What is the difference between graded, handicap and selling horse races?
- What does a novice hurdle in horse racing mean?
- What is a listed horse race?
- What does a novice chase in horse racing mean?
- Why do race horses have different ratings and what do they mean?
- When does the National Hunt season start and when does it end?
- Why are there different grades of horse race?
- Why are there 3 different types of National Hunt race?
- Why are race horses given different weights and what does it mean?
- How many different classes of horse race are there?
- What is a claiming race and what do they mean?
- What is an optional claimer in horse racing?
- What is a shadow roll and why do some race horses wear them?
- Why do some races start from stalls and some not?
- What is the difference between Derby and Oaks races?
- What does it mean when a horse knuckles during a horse race?
- What is a stayer in horse racing?
- What is a yearling horse and when are they ready to race?
- What does it mean if a horse has won a point race?
- What does a maiden mean in horse racing?
- How are horses’ ages calculated and why is it not the same as humans?
- What advantages do apprentice jockeys get when riding against professionals?
- What is a conditional jockey?
- What does the term ‘connections’ mean in horse racing?
- Why do some horses wear cheekpieces?
- Who are the stewards in horse racing?
- What does ‘weighed in’ mean at the end of a horse race?
- What is a nursery race?
- Why are some National Hunt races run without fences?
- Why are some horses given a tongue tie during races?
- What does it mean when a horse is ‘pushed out’?
- How are horse racing ratings calculated?
- What does it mean when a horse has a ‘wind operation’?
- How high are the fences and hurdles in horse racing?
- What is an apprentice jockey?
- What is a Bull Ring in horse racing?
- What does the phrase ‘Look of Eagles’ mean in horse racing?
- Why do some horses wear a ‘weight cloth’ during races?
- What is the Triple Crown in horse racing?
- What is a Steeplechase race in horse racing?
- How high are the Cheltenham Festival fences and hurdles?
- Why is the Champion Chase named after the Queen Mother?
- What is the Cheltenham roar? What difference does it make in races?
- Why are there no jumps in the Cheltenham Festival Champion Bumper?
- How many fans usually attend the Cheltenham Festival? How big is the capacity?
- What is a juvenile in horse racing?