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Cheltenham Festival 2024: Dates, races and how to watch

The Cheltenham Festival in March is the biggest event in the jumps racing calendar, with four days of thrills and spills in the Cotswolds countryside at what is regarded as 'the greatest show on turf'.

For those four days in mid-March, the eyes of the wider sporting world are truly fixated on Cheltenham as the best horses, trainers and jockeys from Britain, Ireland and beyond congregate for a 28-race programme of intense quality National Hunt racing unmatched anywhere in the world.

Horse Racing

Cheltenham Festival date

In 2024, the Cheltenham Festival is scheduled to take place from Tuesday 12th March to Friday 15th March.

Where is the Cheltenham Festival?

The Cheltenham Festival takes place at Prestbury Park in the heart of the Cotswolds. The Gloucestershire venue is a must for fans of jumps racing and getting to The Festival is the end-game for any jumps horse in training.

How to watch the Cheltenham Festival

You can catch the entire Cheltenham Festival via the bet365 Sports Live Streaming platform, while selected races are shown live on ITV in Britain, as well as dedicated subscription channel Racing TV, which shows all 28 races live. 

Tickets to watch the event in person are available through the Cheltenham Festival’s website.

How many courses are there at the Cheltenham Festival?

There are three courses at Cheltenham - the Old Course and the New Course are the two main focuses as well as a unique Cross Country Course which is used for the Cross Country Handicap Chase. Both the Old and New courses are left-handed and undulating and have stiff fences that place a premium on sound jumping.

Both also feature a long climb in the home straight up the famous 'Cheltenham Hill'. This run to the line will expose any weak finishers and often at the Festival, races can completely change complexion 'up the hill'.

The Cross Country Course deliberately weaves around the centre of Prestbury Park, with turns to the left and right leading racers on a variety of routes and directions, jumping over a selection of natural and man-made obstacles incorporating banks, ditches, hedges, water, and timber rails.

What is the Cheltenham roar?

The Cheltenham Roar has become synonymous with the Cheltenham Festival in the build-up to the opening race.

Ahead of the Supreme Novices' Hurdle on the first day, over 70,000 spectators let out a roar to celebrate the opening of the meeting.

What is the Prestbury Cup?

Cheltenham has long been the home of jumps racing in Britain. Down through the years, it has always been the place where the best horses in the UK are set to come face-to-face with the best from Ireland, often for the first and only time in a season.

The rivalry between Britain and Ireland has always been a key factor and, in 2014, the Prestbury Cup was introduced, with either Britain or Ireland taking the spoils for having the most winners across the four days of The Festival.

The Prestbury Cup, named after the nearest village to Cheltenham Racecourse, was won 18-10 by Ireland in 2023.

The Irish have been dominant in recent years, winning the trophy in seven of the last eight years - and they will be fancied to do it again in 2024.

History of the Cheltenham Festival

Cheltenham has always been the Festival held in highest regard for jumps horses in Britain or Ireland. To have a winner at this meeting 'means more' for most connections.

Winning one of the Championship races at Cheltenham is to write a chapter in the history of 'the sport of kings'.

Down the years, the greatest jumps horses of all-time have left their mark on this famous plot of Cotswolds ground.

The echoes of past champions linger and there is an aura surrounding Cheltenham in March that simply does not exist anywhere else in the sport. 

Cheltenham Festival dress code

Traditionally a formal event, gentleman are advised to wear suits and women smart dresses.

But as of last year, the Jockey Club decided to ease dress restrictions across its courses, including Cheltenham, in an attempt to improve accessibility and inclusivity.

Racegoers can now wear whatever they like at the event – including trainers, jogging bottoms and ripped jeans – as long as it is not offensive or a football kit.

Read the full Cheltenham Festival dress code article here.

Who is the Cheltenham Festival's most successful jockey?

Ruby Walsh has rode more Cheltenham winners than anyone else with 59. The Irishman partnered greats like Kauto Star, Big Buck's and Hurricane Fly to their finest wins on this major stage. 

In 2021, Rachael Blackmore made history in riding six winners at Cheltenham to become the first female rider to be leading jockey at the Cheltenham Festival and she added a Gold Cup win on A Plus Tard in 2022.

Each year, the leading rider at The Festival is presented with the Ruby Walsh Trophy, in honour of the most successful jockey of all time. 

Who is the Cheltenham Festival's most successful trainer?

Willie Mullins has saddled an amazing 94 Cheltenham Festival winners from 1995-2023.

The Irishman has been leading trainer at the meeting 20 times, including in nine of the last 11 years, and in 2022 his tally of 10 winners set a new benchmark and helped Mullins to enjoy more race victories at the meeting than all of Britain's trainers combined at the meeting that year. 

We will have Cheltenham tips from our Racing Post tipsters available for all four days.

Any odds displayed were correct at the time of writing and are subject to fluctuation.

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