St Patricks Day Means One Thing For Racing Fans: The Cheltenham Festival

By Ian John
June 9, 2022

If you say Cheltenham to anybody in the UK, then they will either think of a building society, or the horse racing festival that shares the name. The latter is set to take place this week with every top national hunt racing thoroughbred set to be in attendance for what is one of the most exciting weeks of the horse racing season.

The Cheltenham Festival has now become every bit as popular as Royal Ascot, the Grand National meeting at Aintree or the Epsom Derby meeting. In fact, some would argue it is the most popular horse racing meeting of the year. Four days of top-quality action will unfold from Tuesday with at least one, if not several, big races held each day.

Cheltenham is always one of the biggest racing weeks of the year and usually, hundreds of thousands of fans would attend the four days of action, culminating in Gold Cup Friday. As such, it is also one of the biggest weeks for sports betting and if you would like to join in and want a great value starter offer for signing up with an online bookmaker, then check out the current bet365 Welcome Bonus offer. Players who wager through Bet365 can receive perks such as the expanded No Runner No Bet Odds.

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Cheltenham Festival betting is more than just a parochial event for those in the UK and Ireland. It is now a global event in much the same way as the Breeders Cup, the Kentucky Derby or Prix de l’Arc de Triomph meetings are. So if you are based in the US and want to enjoy the spectacle, or just want all the latest US sports betting news, promotions and offers check out the exciting new site!

Let’s begin our look at the festival with a breakdown of the four days of action looking at each of the races to be held each day. After this, we will then break down the biggest races each day and give you our tips on the horses we think stand a great chance of success in the event.

And if you followed our advice last week and tipped Justin Thomas to win The Players Championship, then you’d already know that we’re in good form at the moment (that was an 18/1 winner!).

The Cheltenham Festival Schedule

Day One – Tuesday 16th March – Champion Day

  • 20pm – Supreme Novices Hurdle
  • 55pm – Arkle Chase
  • 30pm – Ultima Handicap Chase
  • 05pm – Champion Hurdle
  • 40pm – Mares Hurdle
  • 15pm – Boodles Juvenile Handicap
  • 50pm – National Hunt Chase

Day Two – Wednesday 17th March – Ladies Day

  • 20pm – Ballymore Novices Hurdle
  • 55pm – Brown Advisory Novices Chase
  • 30pm – Coral Cup
  • 05pm – Queen Mother Champion Chase
  • 40pm – Glenfarclas Chase
  • 15pm – Grand Annual Chase
  • 50pm – Champion Bumper

Day Three – Thursday 18th March – St Patrick’s Thursday

  • 20pm – Marsh Novices Chase
  • 55pm – Pertemps Network Final
  • 30pm – Ryanair Chase
  • 05pm – Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle
  • 40pm – Paddy Power Plate
  • 15pm – Mares Novices Hurdle
  • 50pm – Kim Muir Challenge Cup

Day Four – Friday 19th March – Gold Cup Day

  • 20pm – Triumph Hurdle
  • 55pm – County Handicap Hurdle
  • 30pm – Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle
  • 05pm – Gold Cup
  • 40pm – Foxhunters Chase
  • 15pm – The Mrs Paddy Power Mares Chase
  • 50pm – Martin Pipe Hurdle

What Are Our Top Picks For The Big Races Each Day?

Day One – Champion Hurdle

This Grade 1 National Hunt hurdle is run over 2 miles and half a furlong. The standout horse here is Honeysuckle, trained by Henry de Bromhead and ridden by Rachael Blackmore. This exciting 7-year-old has won all ten of its previous races and is the 9/4 favourite with bet365 Sport at the time of writing. There are two horses that are set to challenge Honeysuckle in this race and that is Goshen and Epatante (both 7/2 with bet365). Abracadabras and Sharjah both look intriguing each way bets at 8/1 and 12/1 respectively but there is no doubt that Honeysuckle will start this race as the clear favourite and will take some beating.

Tip – Honeysuckle – 9/4 with bet365.

Day Two – Queen Mother Champion Chase

One of the most exciting things about Cheltenham in the past has been great rivalries between two horses. Kauto Star and Denman is one that immediately leaps to mind and there have been others over the years. This festival, we could see two genuine rivals go head to head in the big race on the second day of the festival. Altior has finished second and one once in its three starts this year for Nicky Henderson but it is a twice winner of this race in 2018 and 2019. Rightly regarded as Cheltenham legends, Altior faces a stern test in the shape of Willie Mullins’ Chacun Pour Soi, who has won six of his seven races, as well as all three runs this past season. The other runners may be battling for the minor places as this race does look like the archetypal two-horse race but for me, there will only be one winner.

Tip – Chacun Pour Soi – Even Money with bet365

Day Three – Ryanair Chase

Declarations are not quite in at the time of writing for this race and there is a chance Chacun Pour Soi will run in this race, although I think the Queen Mother is a more likely scenario. There are three outstanding runners in this race for me and they are all trained by Irish legend Willie Mullin. Allaho seems to be the horse attracting the most betting interest ahead of the race, but Mullins could also elect to run either one or both of Melon and Min in this race to give him a really strong presence in the field. Patrick O’Brien’s Fakir D’Oudairies is another to watch and Kim Bailey’s Imperial Aura is another decent option but for me, it will be one of the trio of potential Mullin’s runners that will land the win and I think Melon is the pick of the bunch at 6/1 with bet365.

Tip – Melon – (6/1) with bet365

Day Four – Cheltenham Gold Cup

The big story on the final day of Cheltenham is whether or not Willie Mullins Al Boum Photo can follow Best Mate into the history books at Cheltenham by becoming the latest horse to win the famous race in three successive years. Not even legends like Kauto Star or Denman can match that record but Mullins mount has precisely that opportunity to do so this week. He faces a tough contest though with Nicky Henderson’s Champ being one of the runners likely to offer up a stern challenge while Henry de Nromhead’s A Plus Tard is another that is being strongly fancied in the ante post markets. However, Al Boum Photo is 5/2 now with bet365 and my feeling is that this price is only going to shorten as the week progresses.

Tip – Al Boum Photo – (5/2) with bet365

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