This is Paddy Power’s 2020 Cheltenham Festival guide to all the horse racing action at the premier jumps meeting in the UK.
Cheltenham is the World Cup for National Hunt racehorses with championship events spread across different distances and disciplines over four fabulous days at the Prestbury Park track in the Cotswolds.
Our Cheltenham guide gives you the lowdown on everything happening at the 2020 Festival, which starts on Tuesday, 10th March and lasts until Friday, 13th March.
As well as full details of all the races, we’ve got stats and trends you need to know, plus Cheltenham 2020 tips from our racing ambassador, Ruby Walsh and others. There’s information on where and how to watch the Festival too.
You’ve got all this at your fingertips right here.
Racecards and times
There are seven races each day at the Cheltenham Festival, which means there are 28 in total. At least three of those each day are Grade 1 events, the highest level of competition in the sport.
In our Cheltenham guide, you’ll find the different races day by day below, so you know what is on and when.
Cheltenham Festival day 1 – Champion Day
The opening day of the Festival is headlined by a wide-open renewal of the Champion Hurdle. Supported by the traditional curtain-raiser, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and two more Grade 1 events, this Tuesday card really gets Cheltenham off to a flyer.
Like Ladies Day, the first day of the Festival is run on the Old course at Cheltenham. There is the mouth-watering prospect of two top Irish mares clashing in the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle. Raiders from the Emerald Isle also have a strong hand in the Arkle for novice chasers.
With a couple of hot handicaps over fences and the National Hunt Chase providing a real test of stamina, there really is something for every punter and horse racing fan on Champion day. Here are the official racecard and race times:
14:50 Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 3m 2f
15:30 Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) 2m 87y
16:10 Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle (Registered as the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle) (Grade 1) 2m 3f 200y
16:50 Northern Trust Company Novices’ Handicap Chase (Listed) 2m 4f 44y
17:30 National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) 3m 5f 201y
Cheltenham Festival day 2 – Ladies Day
Ladies Day is headlined by the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Altior is out for a historic hat-trick in the feature race but faces some very smart young pretenders to his crown.
Supporting the Champion Chase on the Wednesday of Cheltenham are three other Grade 1 events. The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle over an intermediate trip kicks things off before the RSA Novices’ Chase for stayers.
We might see a Cheltenham Gold Cup horse of the future in that. Dual Grand National hero Tiger Roll is another big attraction at the Festival on Ladies Day as he bids for a three-timer in the Cross Country Chase en route back to Aintree.
Handicap hurdles and the Champion Bumper for horses that have been running in National Hunt Flat races complete day two of the Cheltenham Festival. Check out the full racecard and off times below:
14:50 Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 5f
16:10 Glenfarclas Chase (A Cross Country Chase) (Class 2) 3m 6f 37y
16:50 Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Registered as the Fred Winter) (Grade 3) 2m 87y
17:30 Weatherbys Champion Bumper (A Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race) (Grade 1) 2m 87y
Cheltenham Festival day 3 – St Patrick’s Thursday
The penultimate day of the Cheltenham Festival has two feature races in the Ryanair Chase and Stayers’ Hurdle. Paisley Park is back to defend his title in the latter and looks the one to beat.
St Patrick’s Thursday opens with the first of three Grade 1 races, the Marsh Novices’ Chase. All the action here and on Gold Cup day takes place on the New course, ensuring fresh ground for Cheltenham runners.
With three handicaps and the Grade 2 Daylesford Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle completing the Thursday card, there is great variety and quality on offer once again. View the racecard and race times:
14:10 Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 7f 213y
16:10 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 2m 4f 127y
17:30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase (class 2) 3m 2f
Cheltenham Festival day 4 – Gold Cup day
And so to Gold Cup day. Last and by no means least, this Friday fixture is all about the blue riband event of National Hunt steeplechases. Al Boum Photo was Willie Mullins’s first-ever winner in the big race last year and he returns to Cheltenham with history against him.
Other Grade 1 action on Gold Cup day sees four-year-olds open proceedings with the JCB Triumph Hurdle. The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, meanwhile, provides a stern stamina test.
Again, there are handicaps to get stuck into and the Foxhunter, often called the amateur jockeys’ Gold Cup, rounding off what promises to be another memorable Festival. All the racecards and off times are right here:
14:10 Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 179y
16:10 St James’s Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase (Class 2) 3m 2f 70y
16:50 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase (Grade 3) 2m 62y
17:30 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) 2m 4f 56y
Tips & Predictions
No Cheltenham Festival guide would be complete without predictions. You can get Ruby Walsh tips for each and every day of the meeting from our racing ambassador. As the winning most jockey in Festival history, he definitely knows a good horse when he sees one.
There are also Cheltenham 2020 tips on all the action from leading trader Frank Hickey, pro tipster Paul Jacobs, jockey Lizzie Kelly and Paddy Power himself, plus ITV Racing duo Mick Fitzgerald and Matt Chapman. These are all distinguished figures in horse racing and betting, so between them, they should be finding you plenty of winners!
Facts, records and statistics
As with other great sporting events, the Cheltenham Festival has some important facts, records and stats that you need to know. For instance, Altior has won at the meeting in each of the last four years!
Only Golden Miller, who dominated the Gold Cup in the 1930s, and Mullins’s wondermare, Quevega, boast more consecutive Festival victories.
Tiger Roll is also a four-time Cheltenham winner but not in a row. Like Altior, he goes for a fifth Festival triumph this year on what promises to be a memorable Ladies Day.
Nicky Henderson is the most successful trainer in Champion Hurdle history. Nobody has owned more winners of that race than JP McManus, so it’s no wonder Epatante is fancied in the betting for the opening day feature.
Mullins may be the leading trainer at the Festival, but he’s yet to win the Champion Chase. He had never won the Cheltenham Gold Cup until last year either. Maybe Chacun Pour Soi can help get another monkey off the master of Closutton’s back.
Three horses this century have won back-to-back renewals of the Stayers’ Hurdle, so that bodes well for Paisley Park.
Irish raiders trained by Mullins have won four of the last five renewal of the Arkle, so it could pay for you to look at horses coming over from the Emerald Isle.
Podcasts & Videos
If you just can’t get enough horse racing, then why not listen to a special Paddy’s Big Cheltenham Festival Preview edition of our From The Horse’s Mouth podcast? Ruby Walsh and Lizzie Kelly are among the guests providing expert opinion and analysis.
There are daily From The Horse’s Mouth podcasts throughout the Cheltenham Festival. Check out our digital and social media platforms for videos during the week too.
Paddy Power Cheltenham Offer
To get your Cheltenham week off to an absolute worldy, Paddy’s going MONEY BACK AS A FREE BET ON ALL 2nd, 3rd and 4th-placed finishers on the opening day of the four-day Festival for online customers.