Day-by-Day schedule to this year's Cheltenham Festival
Past winners and prices of the day's feature races
A brief history and timeline ahead of the Gold Cup
Top jockey and trainer markets discussed
The 2023 Cheltenham Festival
The Cheltenham Festival is a four-day horse racing meeting regarded as the highlight and most prestigious meeting in the National Hunt calendar for UK and Ireland horse racing.
It takes place annually in the middle of March at Cheltenham Racecourse, Prestbury Park in Gloucestershire, with this year's Cheltenham Festival commencing on Tuesday 14 March and lasting for four days up to Friday 17 March.
There are 28 Cheltenham races in total with each of the four days consisting of seven races, with the first race on each day starting at 13:30 and the final race due to commence at 17:30.
There are two main types of races in the Cheltenham schedule, known as Hurdles and Chases, and they are categorised as either graded races or handicaps.
The three exceptions are the Cross Country Chase, the Champion Bumper (a National Hunt Flat race), and an Open Hunters' Chase.
Racing over the four days is done on two courses, the first two days are on the Old Course, considered more of a speed test which is why the Grade 1 2m races are run on these days, while the final two days are on the New Course, considered a track more suited to stamina, hence the Stayers' Hurdle and Gold Cup being run on these days.
The 2023 Cheltenham Festival HUB
If you're looking for tips for a specific day or to back ante-post, visit our Cheltenham HUB where you'll find insight, previews, tipping columns and much more in the lead up to, and during the 2023 Cheltenham Festival.
Cheltenham Festival Day-by-Day Schedule
Day 1 Races - Champion Day
After months of hype, weeks of preview nights, and literally hundreds of tipping columns and podcasts, the Cheltenham Festival commences on Tuesday 14 March with the famous Cheltenham roar being heard around 13:30 as the tapes go up to signal the start of the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.
The are four Grade 1 races on the opening day, a Grade 2 contest for amateur riders, and two handicaps, with the feature race of the day being the Grade 1 Champion Hurdle at 15:30.
*Tuesday's race schedule:
The unbeaten Constitution Hill is a very strong favourite to win the Champion Hurdle, (1/3 at the time of writing) with seemingly only State Man (11/4) a potential danger after it was announced that defending champion Honeysuckle would miss the race in favour of the Mares' Hurdle.
In the opening Supreme Novices' Hurdle, Facile Vega has been matched at a low of 1.758/11 on the Exchange but is a much bigger price now - around 4.47/2 - after he flopped in his last race at the Dublin Racing Festival.
The Betfair Sportsbook are Non Runner Money Back on all 28 races at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival. Full deatils here.
The Grade 1 Arkle Chase is also shaping up to be a potential match with both Jonbon and El Fabiolo trading as joint 6/4 favourites on the Betfair Sportsbook, while the Grade 1 Mares Hurdle looks a fascinating contest with Honeysuckle holding on to favouritism ahead of many contenders hoping to become the new queen of the track.
*Last 10 winners of Tuesday's feature races
||Constitution Hill - 9/4
||Edwardstone - 5/2
||Honeysuckle - 8/11
||Marie's Rock - 18/1
||Appreciae It - 8/11
||Shishkin - 4/9
||Honeysuckle - 11/10
||Black Tears - 11/1
||Shishkin - 6/1
||Put The Kettle On - 16/1
||Epatante - 2/1
||Honeysuckle - 9/4
||Klassical Dream - 6/1
||Duc Des Genievres - 5/1
||Espoir D'Allen - 16/1
||Roksana - 10/1
||Summerville Boy - 9/1
||Footpad - 5/6
||Buveur D'Air - 4/6
||Benie Des Dieux - 9/2
||Labaik - 25/1
||Altior - 1/4
||Buveur D'Air - 5/1
||Apple's Jade - 7/2
||Altior - 4/1
||Douvan - 1/4
||Annie Power - 5/2
||Vroum Vroum Mag - 4/6
||Douvan - 2/1
||Un De Sceaux - 4/6
||Faugheen - 4/5
||Glens Melody - 6/1
||Vautour - 7/2
||Western Horse - 33/1
||Jezki - 9/1
||Quevega - 8/11
||Champagne Fever - 5/1
||Simonsig - 8/11
||Hurricane Fly - 13/8
||Quevega - 8/11
Day 2 Races - Festival Wednesday
Similar to Tuesday, there are four Grade 1 races to enjoy on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival, two handicaps, and the 'love it or hate it' Cross Country Chase.
The Cheltenham roar will once again be heard at around 13:30 as they day's proceedings begin, with the feature race of the day, the Queen Mother Champion Chase being staged at 15:30.
*Wednesday's race schedule:
A common theme over the first few days is the ante-post markets suggesting some of the feature races could be 'two-horse races' and the Champion Chase is no different with Edwardstone and last year's winner Energumene fighting out favouritism, well clear of third favourite Editeur Du Gete.
Energumene is another horse to have traded odds-on (1.715/7) on the Betfair Exchange before a defeat last time saw him drift in the market.
Irish raiders have tended to hold the upper hand in non-handicap races in recent years but none more so than in the novice hurdle ranks, however, Wednesday could well start with a UK-trained winner.
Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls will saddle the relatively strong favourite Hermes Allen in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle, and this 6yo looks to have outstanding claims after winning all three of his hurdle starts in Britain.
He has been matched at a high of 40.039/1 on the Betfair Exchange to win the race, but now trades at under 4.03/1.
Paul Nicholls Cheltenham Preview. Watch the champion trainer on his Festival contenders below...
The Grade 1 Brown Advisory Novices' Chase - formerly the RSA Chase - looks wide open this year with a number of horses at the top of the market having alternative engagements. It's tough to predict who will line-up for the race without trying to work out who will be favourite.
The final Grade 1 contest on Wednesday is the Champion Bumper at 17:30, and it's a race that offers a look into the future with so many previous winners of the race going on to be champions and multiple Cheltenham Festival winners.
This year's renewal has an open feel to it with the Betfair Exchange going 6.05/1 the field at the time of writing.
*Last 10 winners of Wednesday's feature races
||Sir Gerhard - 8/11
||L'Homme Presse - 9/4
||Energumene - 5/2
||Facile Vega - 15/8
||Bob Olinger - 6/4
||Monkfish - 1/4
||Put The Kettle On - 17/2
||Sir Gerhard - 85/40
||Envoi Allen - 4/7
||Champ - 4/1
||Politologue - 6/1
||Ferny Hollow - 11/1
||City Island - 8/1
||Topofthegame - 4/1
||Altior - 4/11
||Envoi Allen - 2/1
||Samcro - 8/11
||Presenting Percy - 5/2
||Altior - Evs
||Relegate - 25/1
||Willoughby Court - 14/1
||Might Bite - 7/2
||Speical Tiara - 11/1
||Fayonagh - 7/1
||Yorkhill - 3/1
||Blaklion - 8/1
||Sprinter Sacre - 5/1
||Ballyandy - 5/1
||Windsor Park - 9/2
||Don Poli - 8/1
||Dodging Bullets - 9/2
||Moon Racer - 9/2
||Faugheen - 6/4
||O'Faolains Boy - 12/1
||Sire De Grugy - 11/4
||Silver Concorde - 16/1
||The New One - 7/2
||Lord Windermere - 8/1
||Sprinter Sacre - 1/4
||Briar Hill - 25/1
Day 3 Races - St Patrick's Day
Three Grade 1s, a Grade 2 contest and three handicaps are the races for the third day of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival with the Stayers' Hurdle at 15:30 being the feature race of the day.
And a reminder that from here on in all 14 remaining races will be contested on the New Course.
*Thursday's race schedule:
Unlike the feature race of the day on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Stayers' Hurdle looks much more of a contest from a betting perspective with eight horses available to back between the odds of 9/4 and 10/1 on the Betfair Sportsbook.
Flooring Porter is looking to emulate the achievements of both Inglis Drever and Big Buck's by winning the race at least three times, but he is likely to face stiff opposition from his fellow Irish raiders Blazing Khal, Teahupoo and Home By The Lee.
Don't forget to check out our superb Cheltenham Festival HUB for tips, previews, insight, odds, podcasts and much more.
Thursday commences with the Grade 1 Turners Novices' Chase at 13:30 where unbeaten chaser Mighty Potter is expected to be a warm order, while the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase at 14:50 looks at the mercy of back-to-form Shishkin, who took the step up in trip in his stride when easily winning the Betfair Ascot Chase recently.
The three handicaps on the card, the Pertemps Final, the Plate and the Kim Muir will all be fiercely competitive contests where you'll likely get much better Win odds on the Betfair Exchange should that be how you prefer to bet.
*Last 10 winners of Thursday's feature races
||Bob Olinger - 6/5
||Third Wind - 25/1
||Allaho - 4/7
||Flooring Porter - 4/1
||Chantry House - 9/1
||Mrs Milner - 12/1
||Allaho - 3/1
||Flooring Porter - 12/1
||Samcro - 4/1
||Sire Du Berlais - 10/1
||Min - 2/1
||Lisnagar Oscar - 50/1
||Defi De Seuil - 3/1
||Sire Du Berlais - 4/1
||Frodon - 9/2
||Paisley Park - 11/8
||Shattered Love - 4/1
||Delta Work - 6/1
||Balko Des Flos - 8/1
||Penhill - 12/1
||Yorkhill - 6/4
||Presenting Percy - 11/1
||Un De Sceaux - 7/4
||Nochols Canyon - 10/1
||Black Hercules - 4/1
||Mall Dini - 4/1
||Vautour - Evs
||Thistlecrack - Evs
||Vautour - 6/4
||Call The Cops - 9/1
||Uxizandre - 16/1
||Cole Harden - 14/1
||Taquin Deu Seuil - 7/1
||Fingal Bay - 9/2
||Dynate - 3/1
||More Of That - 15/2
||Benefficient - 20/1
||Holywell - 25/1
||Cue Card - 7/2
||Solwhit - 17/2
Day 4 Races - Gold Cup Day
The fourth and final day of the Cheltenha Festival - we haven't got to a five-day Festival... yet! - has a similar make-up to Thursday with three Grade 1 races, a Grade 2 contest, and a couple of very competitive handicaps.
Throw in the Festival Hunters' Chase and we have a fascinating day of racing to look forward to which of course features the blue riband event, the 2023 Cheltenham Gold Cup.
*Friday's race schedule:
Similar to the opening race of the meeting, the start of the Cheltenham Gold Cup will be greeted with an almighty roar as the runners are sent on their way at around 15:30.
The Willie Mullins-trained Galopin Des Champs will be a very warm order to win the race after an unbeaten start - when completing - to his chasing career, winning his two races this season in effortless fashion.
But don't rule out a couple of Betfair Ambassadors as Rachael Blackmore will be aboard A Plus Tard should he return to defend his crown, while Paul Nicholls has a massive chance with his rapidly-improving Bravemansgame.
Read all of our ambassador columns exclusively on betting.betfair. Click here for Paul Nicholls and click here for Rachael Blackmore.
The Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle commences the final day of the Festival at 13:30, and it's set to be dominated by Irish Raiders, while the penultimate Grade 1 of the meeting, the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle is a fascinating contest for one particular reason.
Take a look at the tables in this guide that show the previous 10 winners and starting prices of each day's feature races, but pay attention particularly to the prices of the recent Albert Bartlett winners.
You have to go back to 2013 to find a real short-priced winner, and in 2020 Monkfish at 5/1 provided just the second winner under the odds of 11/1 in the last 10 years.
Winners at 50/1, 33/1 (x2), 18/1, 16/1 (x2) and 14/1 suggest that if you're ever going to take a punt on a long shot outside of the handicaps, then this is the race to do it in.
*Last 10 winners of Friday's feature races
||THE GOLD CUP
||Vauban - 6/4
||State Man - 11/4
||The Nice Guy - 18/1
||A Plus Tard - 3/1
||Quilixios - 2/1
||Belfast Banter - 33/1
||Vanillier - 14/1
||Minella Indo - 9/1
||Burning Victory - 12/1
||Saint Roi - 11/2
||Monkfish - 5/1
||Al Boum Photo - 10/3
||Pentland Hills - 20/1
||Chtibello - 12/1
||Minella Indo - 50/1
||Al Boum Photo -12/1
||Farclas - 9/1
||Mohaayed - 33/1
||Kilbricken Storm - 33/1
||Native River - 5/1
||Defi Du Seuil - 5/2
||Arctic Fire - 20/1
||Penhill - 16/1
||Sizing John - 7/1
||Ivanovich Gorbatov - 9/2
||Superb Story - 8/1
||Unowhat Imeanharry - 11/1
||Don Cossack - 9/4
||Peace And Co - 2/1
||Wicklow Brave - 33/1
||Martello Tower - 14/1
||Coneygree - 7/1
||Tiger Roll - 10/1
||Lac Fontana 11/1
||Very Wood - 33/1
||Lord Windermere - 20/1
||Our Conor - 4/1
||Ted Veale - 10/1
||At Fishers Cross - 11/8
||Bobs Worth - 11/4
The Cheltenham Gold Cup - A brief history
Regarded as the single most prestigious National Hunt race of the season, The Cheltenham Gold Cup is a race that every owner, trainer and jockey wants to win.
It is a race steeped in history that was first contested in the summer of 1819 as a flat race, and it wasn't until over 100 years later - 1924 to be precise - that it was first run as a jumps race.
Raced initially on what is now the 'Old Course', the Cheltenham Gold Cup was far from the most important race of the season in its early years, and in fact wasn't even the most important race at the Festival, that accolade going to the National Hunt Chase.
But the five successive victories of Golden Miller from 1932 to 1936 saw the race grow in popularity, and when the Vincent O'Brien-trained Cottage Lake won three successive victories up to the year 1950, popularising the race in Ireland, the Cheltenha Gold Cup was now firmly established as the biggest race in the jumping calendar.
The contest was moved to the 'New Course' in 1959, and the subsequent achievements of horses like Arkle, Dawn Run, Desert Orchid, Best Mate, Kauto Star (pictured above) and Denman have helped maintain the race as the blue riband event of both the Cheltenham Festival and the National Hunt season.
*Timeline of significant events
1819 - First contested as a flat race
1924 - First contested as a jumps race on the Old Course
1932 - First of five successive victories for Golden Miller
1948 - First of three successive victories for Irish-trained Cottage Rake
1959 - Race switched to the New Course
1964 - First of three successive victories for Arkle
1966 - Shortest priced winner of the race - Arkle at 1/10
1972 - First commercial sponsorship of the race (Piper Champagne)
1983 - Michael Dickenson trains first five home
1986 - Dawn Run becomes first horse to win Champion Hurdle & the Gold Cup
1990 - Longest priced winner of the race - Norton's Coin at 100/1
2001 - Race cancelled becaue of foot-and-mouth disease
2002 - First of three successive victories for Best Mate
2009 - Kauto Star becomes first horse to regain the Gold Cup
2020 - One of last major sporting events before Covid-19 lockdown
2021 - Raced behind closed doors due to Covid-19 pandemic
2022 - Rachael Blackmore becomes first female jockey to win the race
2022 Gold Cup - Rachael the history maker
The 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup was significant for a number of reasons. First because after the 2021 renewal was raced behind closed doors, a return to a capacity crowd was much anticipated.
But far more significant was the outcome of the race, because less than 12 months after becoming the first female jockey to win the Aintree Grand National, Betfair Ambassador Rachael Blackmore created more history by becoming the first female jockey to ride the winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
It was also redemption for Rachael, who just 12 months earlier had chosen to ride A Plus Tard in the same race ahead of stablemate Minella Indo, who would win the Gold Cup with Rachael finishing second.
Rachael was again given the choice of rides for the 2022 renewal, but this time she chose correctly, sticking with A Plus Tard - the 3/1 favourite - who was given the perfect ride, delivered to challenge Minella Indo at the final fence, before storming up the run-in to win in impressive fashion.
The win in the 2022 Cheltenham Gold Cup capped an incredible 12 months for Rachael, who a year earlier - along with her historic Grand National win - had become the first female to win the leading Cheltenham jockey award.
Betfair's newest ambassador has an incredible nine Cheltenham Festival winners to her name in just the last two seasons (12 in total), including wins in the Champion Hurdle (two), Gold Cup, Ryanair Chase, Triumph Hurdle and the Champion Bumper.
Betting on the Cheltenham Festival
There are many ways you can bet on the 2023 Cheltenham Festival, either on the Betfair Exchange or on the Betfair Sportsbook, with the most popular and traditional way being to back on individual races via either win or each-way bets.
All 28 of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival races are now priced up for ante-post purposes, both on the Exchange and Sportsbook, with anyone doing so now on the latter platform receiving the Non Runner Money Back concession, meaning if your selection doesn't run then you'll get your money back.
The 'day of the race' markets typically appear around 48 hours before racing should you want to wait until the final declarations (runners and riders) are known.
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And you don't just have to back singles. You can include more than one selection in what is called a multiple.
A selection in two different races combined in a multiple is called a double, three races it's a treble, and four or more races is often referred to as an acca (accumulator).
Closer to the races Betfair will be enhancing odds on certain horses, enhancing the place terms for each-way betting on some races (6 places paid instead of 4 for example), and providing plenty of 'specials' which can include a boosted price for a jockey to ride 2+ winners, or a horse to win by over 5 lengths, among many other specials.
Betfair Sportsbook Specials can be found here, while Exchange Specials can be found here.
Don't forget to head over to our 2023 Cheltenham Festival HUB for ante-post Cheltenham betting race tips on many of the feature races.
For more on how to bet on the Betfair Exchange, check out our comprehensive Betting Guides:
Beginner or Advanced
Cheltenham Top Jockey Betting
Another popular way to bet on the 2023 Cheltenham Festival is to have a bet in the Cheltenham Top Jockey market on the Betfair Exchange.
This can be a fun way of having an interest in all 28 races at the Festival, cheering on the jockey you have backed in races that they're riding in, and hoping that a potential danger to your bet - a jockey you haven't backed - doesn't win a race in any contest that your selection isn't riding in.
Paul Townend is a strong favourite at present but it only takes the Willie Mullins stable to have a below-par week and it's likely that he'll struggle to win the award.
Betfair's Rachael Blackmore - winner of this market in 2020 - is currently available to back at around 14.013/1 and she is sure to have a strong book of rides throughout the Festival.
So if you can't decide on a runner, then how about just picking a rider and keeping an eye on that jockey all week?
*Cheltenham leading jockey and no. of wins in last five years:
2022 - Paul Townend (5)
2021 - Rachael Blackmore (6)
2020 - Paul Townend (5)
2019 - Nico de Boinville (3)
2018 - Davy Russell (4)
Cheltenham Top Trainer Betting
Just like the top jockey market, on the Betfair Exchange there is a Cheltenham Top Trainer market available to bet on.
It works in exactly the same way as the top jockey - whoever trains the most winners at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival wins the award - though sadly, it's not a very competitive market with Willie Mullins a long odds-on shot to take the leading trainer honours.
Mullins has won the award at eight of the last 10 festivals, and the two that he didn't win went to his Irish counterpart Gordon Elliott!
But could Nicky Henderson be a leading candidate this year? He has two very short-price favourites in the form of Constitution Hill and Shishkin, while he always has multiple entries in, and targets, most of the handicaps at the Cheltenham Festival.
*Cheltenham leading trainer and no. of wins in last five years:
2022 - Willie Mullins (10)
2021 - Willie Mullins (6)
2020 - Willie Mullins (7)
2019 - Willie Mullins (4)
2018 - Gordon Elliott (8)
Cheltenham Festival Best Horse
Depending on the criteria, the debate as to which horse can be regarded as the best Cheltenham Festival horse ever could go on longer than the four days itself.
On ratings, Arkle and Kauto Star lead the way, but was Golden Miller's five Gold Cup wins better than Best Man's three? And what about Big Buck's four Stayers' Hurdle wins? Was See Pigeon better than See You Then and Istabraq?
Different eras, different opinions, different types of horses. We all have our favourites and well all have our opinion as to who was the best.
But for me... my mind will never be changed.
It's Quevega all the way.
For starters, her record of six consecutive Cheltenham Festival wins in six different seasons is likely never to be bettered, but also, when you look back at how she demolished her fields in her early victories, there's no doubt in my mind that she could have won far better races.
She won the Mares' Hurdle for six consecutive seasons between 2009 and 2014, but don't let the fact that the race was then 'only' a Grade 2 contest diminish her achievements.
It was still the major 'mares-only' race at the Festival, and it attracted deep fields with the best mares from the UK and Ireland.
But she beat them all, and her stunning victories in her first four wins were literally 'performance of the Festival' contenders each year.
In her prime she had the cruising speed and change of gear to contend a Champion Hurdle, and she had the stamina to fight out a Stayers' Hurdle, but by all accounts she was a fragile mare, and connections chose to keep her runs to a minimum and target the Mares' Hurdle each season.
But boy was she good.
*You can follow me on Twitter @MikkyMo73