Friday February 24, 2017
What will you be doing between 14th and 17th March this year? Will you be watching the Cheltenham Festival on television, or will you be there in person, enjoying everything this annual event can offer?
This is part of the so-called jump season, which should tell you something about the type of racing that will be on offer to watch. Over four days, the event aims to entertain with some of the finest racing and competitive spirit the horse racing world can offer.
It is thought that more than 260,000 people will attend the event over the four-day period, so it looks set to be yet another grand success this year. The event consists of many races, but some are arguably more famous than others. Take the Queen Mother Champion Chase, for example, and the Champion Gold Cup race. As you might expect, the latter has a literal gold cup to present to the winner, who will have proven themselves worthy of the prize during an arduous race.
The Champion Gold Cup race, otherwise known as the Cheltenham Gold Cup, is run over three miles and two-and-a-half furlongs. It comprises 22 fences and some horses won’t finish the steeplechase. It has been run since 1924, and last year, the winner was Don Cossack, who was the 9/4 favourite to win. The year before that, Coneygree won at 7/1 odds. Anyone who backed Lord Windermere to win at odds of 20/1 in 2014 would have been very happy indeed as he crossed the finish line in first place!
While this is far from the only race at the Cheltenham Festival, it is one of the undoubted highlights on offer. The race has only been cancelled twice since 1924, on both occasions because of the Second World War. With that said, the foot-and-mouth crisis forced it to be cancelled for entirely different reasons in 2001. It was also abandoned because of adverse weather conditions in 1931 and 1937.
This year looks set to be another exciting event for the Cheltenham Festival, which has made a significant name for itself since it was first run nearly a century ago. Which horse and rider will you be backing to win?