Cheltenham Festival 2019 for dummies

Horse racing basics and key terms explained ahead of the Cheltenham Festival

What are the biggest races?

Of the 28 races at the Cheltenham Festival, 14 are classed as grade ones – the highest class of race in the sport.

Each of the four days has a main feature race, known as a championship race. They are:

Tuesday – Champion Hurdle: The most prestigious hurdle race in the sport, run over two miles.

Wednesday – The Queen Mother Champion Chase: The top prize on offer for horses running two miles over fences.

Thursday – The Stayers’ Hurdle: This three-mile hurdle race is considered slightly less prestigious than the other championship races, and the Ryanair Chase, a two-and-a-half mile run over fences on the same day, is sometimes thought of as co-headliner.

Friday – The Cheltenham Gold Cup: The Festival’s blue ribbon event, a gruelling test of stamina run over three-and-a-quarter miles over fences.

Cheltenham Festival: 2019 Champion Hurdle Contenders

We’re now less than two months away from the 2019 Cheltenham Festival and excitement is building in the horse racing community. Arguably the biggest National Hunt racing event of the year in the United Kingdom, the best runners and riders will head to Prestbury Park with the intention of winning one of the most prestigious races on the calendar.

The showpiece race of the opening day is the Champion Hurdle. Tuesday is now known as Champion Day and fans have already started to place ante post bets on the winner of this particular race. Let’s take a look at a few of the leading contenders for the 2019 Champion Hurdle, including defending champion Buveur d’Air.

 

BUVEUR D’AIR

Buveur D’Air has won the last two renewals of Tuesday’s showpiece race at the Festival and he will take some stopping in his pursuit of a third success. With Barry Geraghty on board yet again, Buveur D’Air should be there or thereabouts as they enter the closing stages of the race.

Punters will be wary of taking the 2/1 for Buveur D’Air to prevail though. He was a beaten favourite at Kempton Park on Boxing Day before scraping past a weak field at Sandown. He is likely to find more at Prestbury Park but is by no means a certainty to win.

Odds: 2/1

 

APPLE’S JADE

Write Apple’s Jade off at your peril. She finished a disappointing third when odds on in the Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham last year but has since won four in a row. More impressively, the combined distance in these four victories is 73 lengths. And she’s beaten some pretty good horses in the process…

https://youtube.com/watch?v=akLqA3EVTR4

Gordon Elliott will be aiming Apple’s Jade at the Champion Hurdle despite Michael O’Leary refusing to rule out another effort at the Mares race. At her brilliant best, Apple’s Jade will be a tough nut to crack up against the boys.

Odds: 9/4

 

LAURINA

Laurina will head to Cheltenham with a record of five wins from five races – an impressive feat to say the least. She romped to a 48 length victory over her sole rival at Sandown last time out but question marks remain over the quality of her opponents. Unlike Apple’s Jade and Buveur D’Air, Laurina is yet to beat anyone of note.

Willie Mullins has won this race four times since 2011 and plenty of punters will be piling in on his runners at the Festival. Laurina will almost certainly feature at some point in the horse racing predictions on Betting.Betfair ahead of March’s meeting.

Odds: 5/1

 

VERDANA BLUE

The dark horse of the race. Verdana Blue emerged victorious against Buveur D’Air in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton Park but was that result simply a fluke? Only time will tell – we haven’t seen her on a racecourse since that triumph and punters will be keeping a close eye on any declarations in the coming weeks.

A prep run ahead of Cheltenham would be ideal. Verdana Blue is an inconsistent type but cannot be dismissed based on that effort on Boxing Day. If she emulates that performance, Apple’s Jade and Laurina will have their hands full.

Odds: 12/1

A History of England’s most prestigious horse racing event

Cheltenham Festival

The most definitive race meeting of the National Hunt Season is swiftly approaching, and punters will be eagerly anticipating landing some big winners at Cheltenham Festival. The four-day event is the most prestigious event in the British racing calendar, with some of the biggest prizes up for grabs and some of the finest horses in the business competing for a place in the record books. Here, we take a look back at the history of the world famous event and explore the roots of Cheltenham Festival.

The early days: According to cheltenhamfestival.net, the Festival was originally known as the National Hunt Meeting and was staged at Market Harborough in 1860. It wasn’t until 1911 that Cheltenham became the permanent fixture for the National Hunt Meeting, Prestbury Park being the exact location.

The famous track had held the festival in 1904 and 1905, in fact, but it took a further six years to become established as the home of the National Hunt Meeting. From 1911, the event was known as Cheltenham Festival and has remained that way to this very day, with much owing to Fredrick Cathcart. Cathcart was the Clerk of the Course and Chairman of Cheltenham Racecourse until his death in 1934, with much of his life’s work being based around making Cheltenham what it is today and establishing the Gloucestershire town as the headquarters for National Hunt racing.

 

Monalee Needs Flawless Effort To Beat Presenting Percy

Cheltenham Festival Update

Monalee will be aiming to upset Presenting Percy at Cheltenham Festival as the two horses prepare to face off in the RSA Chase. Henry de Bromhead’s charge competed at the Festival last season, racing in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. Despite putting forward a good performance, he was beaten out by Penhill for the crown. The Irish horse will now aim to add his first major crown, but faces a tough task to dislodge Presenting Percy from the winners’ enclosure.

Presenting Percy triumphed in his first experience at Cheltenham last season, securing victory in the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle by a comfortable margin. Monalee will have to be at his best to overhaul his rival, being backed in the latest Cheltenham betting odds at 3/1 to win the RSA Chase.

De Bromhead’s charge was considered an outsider candidate for the Novices’ Hurdle last season. With Danny Mullins at the reins, he kept pace with the early leaders and was able to make a charge towards the closing stages. Monalee led with two fences remaining, but Penhill had the pace at the vital moment of the meet to close out the victory by three-and-a-half lengths.

Copyright Coolmore Stud

The Irish horse returned to action for the Irish Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle to face off against Penhill once again at Punchestown. However, he was off the pace from the off and was not able to challenge for the victory down in fourth place, ending his National Hunt season on a low note. Although even Penhill was not at his best in the meet, as Champagne Classic secured the win.

Monalee was on form from the off at the start of the new campaign. He took the lead in the early stages of his meet at Punchestown and did not relinquish his stranglehold, delivering the victory by six lengths ahead of Any Second Now after being considered the favourite for the event.

However, the bay gelding lost momentum in his next outing at the Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown. Davy Russell took the reins, but the Irish horse failed to overcome a mistake at the seventh fence before falling at the 10th, failing to finish a race for the first time in his career.

The seven-year-old bounced back at Leopardstown in his next outing, producing a fine performance to win the Flogas Novice Chase. Monalee took charge of the contest from the off and led for the majority of the race. Al Boum Photo provided pressure down the stretch, but De Bromhead’s charge fended off the challenge to close out the win by three-quarters of a length.

Monalee has been up-and-down over the course of his career, but will have to produce a flawless performance to triumph at Cheltenham. Presenting Percy has not been at the peak of his powers, finishing second in his last outing at the Red Mills Chase. The Irish horse may have an opportunity and De Bromhead must ensure that his charge is ready to seize the chance to secure the biggest victory of his career.