From 220,000 pints of Guinness to more than £1BILLION in bets, here’s all you need to know about Cheltenham Festival

THE Greatest Show on Turf is back – and once again the Cheltenham Festival promises to be an absolute belter.

A whopping 220,000 pints of Guinness are set to be drunk and more than £1BILLION placed in bets across the four days of racing.

AFPThe Cheltenham Festival returns this week in the highlight of the racing calendar[/caption]

Getty274,000 fans will be in attendance across the week[/caption]

SplashLadies Day always produces lots of glamorous outfits from racegoers[/caption]

PAThe iconic Cheltenham Racecourse provides a stunning spectacle of sport[/caption]

PA:Press AssociationThe week builds up to the feature race of the festival, the Gold Cup[/caption]

For the first time ever, the 274,000 punters – capped at 68,500 per day – can even pull their own pints this year, though they will cost a painful £7.50 each.

The Jockey Club’s formal dress code has been ditched, freeing racegoers to where what they want – but thousands will still be desperate to dress to impress, especially on Wednesday’s Ladies Day.

And as the racing world descends on the Gloucestershire town for this iconic week of racing, there will be a few nervy fans, trainers and jockeys with more than just half an eye on the all-important weather forecast.

As things stand, it does not look too pretty with rain and wind scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

But it may well brighten up with a far nicer day predicted for Friday’s golden crescendo.

Let’s just hope there will be no repeat of the scenes in 2008, though, when high winds forced racing to be abandoned.

So what can we expect from the 2023 Cheltenham Festival?


The opening day of the most famous four days of horse racing gets underway at 1.30pm with the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.


That famous duo of Paul Townend and Willie Mullins pair up with Facile Vega.

The big one of the day, though, is the 2m½f Champion Hurdle, which goes off at 3.30pm.

Constitution Hill is set to be the heavy favourite under the guidance of Nico de Boinville.

Following that is the Mares Hurdle, which could spell the farewell race for Honeysuckle.

Nearly a quarter of a million pins of Guinness will be drunkGetty Images – Getty

SplashFans can even pull their own drinks for the first time this year[/caption]

SplashThe weather forecast means some emergency shelter may be required[/caption]

GettyConstitution Hill helps kick off the week in Tuesday’s Champion Hurdle[/caption]


Day Two is headlined by the Champion Chase, with Energumene hoping to defend his crown from 2022.

With entrants confirmed 48 hours before, he is set to go off as the second favourite in the battle with Edwardstone.

Whoever rides Energumene will be in the famous blue-and-white stripes – synonymous with owner and Brighton chief Tony Bloom.

Poker fanatic and maths genius Bloom – dubbed “the cleverest man to ever place a bet” – has already wagered a cool £30,000 on his horse to do the business once again in the Champion Chase.

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Elsewhere, Sir Alex Ferguson has particular interest in the 1.30pm Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.

The ex-Manchester United manager’s Hermes Allen should go off as one of the favourites.

Hermes Allen is one of three Fergie horses set to take on some of the best the UK and Ireland has to offer this week – and has the greatest chance of victory.

SplashFans love to dress up for a day out at the races[/caption]

GettySir Alex Ferguson has plenty of personal interest in this year’s meeting[/caption]

PABrighton chairman Tony Bloom will hope for more success for his horse Energumene[/caption]

More than £1billion in bets will be placedGetty


Two words: Paddy’s. Day.

Yes, Friday may be March 17 but as is Cheltenham tradition, St Patrick’s Day is celebrated on Thursday.

The Irish head over in their thousands with their hearts set on a pint or two of Guinness and roaring their trainers on to glory on British soil.

Fan-favourite Shishkin is in action on Thursday for Nicky Henderson in the 2.50pm Ryanair Chase while the big money to be won is in the 3.30pm Stayers’ Hurdle.

However, there will be plenty of eyes on the 2.10pm Pertemps Handicap Hurdle.

That is because Steal A March could race, one of the horses owned by King Charles III and the Queen Consort.

And the royals could even make an appearance at Prestbury Park to see their eight-year-old bay gelding in action.

At 4.50pm, there will also be a race dedicated to and in honour of Jack de Bromhead, with the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle name changed.

The 13-year-old son of legendary trainer Henry tragically died in a pony racing incident last September.

Thursday’s 4.50pm race will be dedicated to the late Jack de Bromhead who sadly died aged 13Rex

SplashCheltenham always dedicates Thursday to St Patrick’s Day[/caption]

Thousands of fans come over from Ireland to celebrate Paddy’s DaySportsfile

AlamyThe popular Shishkin is expected to win the Ryanair Chase on Thursday[/caption]

Getty Images – GettyThe King and Queen Consort’s horse Steal A March could prompt a royal visit[/caption]


Last but by absolutely no means least is Friday – aka Gold Cup Day.

The feature race of the festival runs at 3.30pm with the sporting world stopping for seven minutes to take in the epic, 3m2½f steeplechase, the most prestigious National Hunt race of all.

A Plus Tard reigned victorious in 2022 but Galopin Des Champs will look to banish the demons of last year’s infamous unseating by claiming revenge this time around.

Bravemansgame is also in contention while Sir Alex’s Protektorat will have hopes of landing the £351,688 prize – and their name alongside legends such as Arkle, Best Mate, Kauto Star and Al Boum Photo on the list of Gold Cup winners.

It truly is a stunning spectacle – and an appropriately gorgeous trophy to match – and a fitting finale to four days of thrilling action.

PARachael Blackmore won the Gold Cup on A Plus Tard in 2022[/caption]

Simon JonesThe County Tipperary star is hoping to join an elite list of riders to win back-to-back Gold Cups[/caption]

PAThere is a designated Guinness village for fans to get their dosage of stout[/caption]

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