Cheltenham Festival 2020: Betting Tips, Stats & History

Cheltenham Raccourse Finishing Post

The Cheltenham Festival is widely regarded as one of the most exhilarating horse race meets of the year. It’s a chance for trainers to produced their best of class and for the jockeys to go down in racing folk-law, such is the prestige of the event.

The event is particularly popular with the Irish as it takes place in March, coinciding with St Patrick’s day. Each year it’s held at the now iconic Cheltenham Racecourse and with it tens of thousands of punters flock to the event over the course of the 4 days.

It’s one of the most significant meetings of the year, mainly because of the calibre of horses that are on show. There are multiple Grade 1 races (often several per day) throughout the meeting, but not only that, it’s one of few that extends to the wider horse racing community, rather than just the diehard fanatics.

Cheltenham Festival Betting Tips For 2019

The long wait is almost over for racing fans. The best four days of sporting action of the year are almost upon us once again. The great and the good of the British and Irish National Hunt scene will all descend on Prestbury Park on Tuesday 12th March for what is effectively the World Cup and Olympic Games of this sport all rolled in to one. It’s Cheltenham Festival time!

Four days to look forward to in all then, with no fewer than 28 races to get stuck into. There’s really something for everyone here, from the handicappers to the Grade 1 superstars. Here we take an early look at the highlights on each of the four days.

Jump To: Day 1 Tips (Tuesday)Day 2 Tips (Wednesday)Day 3 Tips (Thursday) Day 4 Tips (Friday)

 Horse and Jockey With Green and Gold Silks Jumping Fence

Day 1 – Tuesday 12th March 2019 – Champion Day

Time Race Grade / Length Tip
13:30 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Grade 1 / 2m ½f Klassical Dream
14:10 The Arkle Grade 1 / 2m Paloma Blue
14:50 Ultima Handicap Chase Grade 3 / 3m 1f Magic Of Light
15:30 Champion Hurdle Grade 1 / 2m ½f Apple’s Jade
16:10 Mares’ Hurdle Grade 1 / 2m 4f Benie Des Dieux
16:50 Close Brothers Novices’ Chase Listed / 2m 4f Lough Derg Spirit
17:30 National Hunt Chase Grade 2 / 3m 7f Ballyward

One of the main things to stand out about the opening day is just how open it all looks at this stage, with it being difficult to predict with confidence who will start as the favourite in six of the seven races - including the big one, the Champion Hurdle.

Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

As ever we can be certain that the famed Cheltenham Roar will go up as the flag falls for the Cheltenham Festival opener on Tuesday. Determining who will reign supreme isn’t quite so easy though. Owner Dai Walters will be looking forward to this race more than most, with the top two in the betting sporting his navy and white silks.

Nicky Henderson’s Angels Breath was the long-time favourite for this but having been put in his place by Southfield Stone last time out, it is now the other Walters runner who appears to be all the rage. Nigel Twiston-Davies runner Al Dancer has made great strides so far this season, bolted up by 11 lengths on his only previous visit to the track and looks a worthy market leader.

The stats are against Joseph O’Brien’s four year old Fakir D’oudairies, but he was nevertheless seriously impressive in storming clear at this venue last time out and may be the fly in the ointment. Don’t rule out Henderson’s apparent second-string Mister Fisher either. This one may not be the flashiest of individuals, but arrives seeking a hat-trick, and with the promise of more to come may be the each way value, together with the tough and tenacious Grand Sancy from the yard of Paul Nicholls.

Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase

The meeting’s first event over fences may well be the scene of one of the most unlikely of Cheltenham successes this year. Handed an opening mark of just 114 ahead of his chase debut in November, Glen Forsa has now posted three wins in succession, including a 19 length slamming of the former favourite for this Kalashnikov last time out. That now sees him sitting on a lofty perch of 150 and looking all set to put in a bold bid for trainer Mick Channon.

Fans of course and distance form meanwhile will likely be keen to side with the Kayley Woollacott representative, Lalor. This one’s seven length success in the trial for this race back in November certainly had the wow factor as he put the talented Dynamite Dollars to the sword in seemingly effortless style. He bombed out badly at Sandown last time though, and hopes hinge on the return to this track once again bringing out the best in him.

Ultima Handicap Chase

Coo Star Sivola landed something of a gamble under Lizzie Kelly in the race last year and will likely put up a bold defence of his crown in the first of the week’s big handicaps. He will need to step up on his recent efforts though.

2017 Gold Cup runner up Minella Rocco probably hasn’t shown enough of late to warrant another tilt at the big one, but would be a most interesting contender if dropped into handicapping company for a shot at this, particularly considering his trainer Jonjo O’Neill has landed the prize twice in the past seven years. The Unexposed Give Me A Copper, consistent Singlefarmpayment and previous Festival winner Mister Whitaker are others to catch the eye.

Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy

The day one feature race has the potential to provide the first big head to head showdown of this year’s festival as two of the most impressive performers from the past couple of seasons lock horns in pursuit of Champion Hurdle glory.

Going for Nicky Henderson, and aiming for a place in the history books, is two time winner of this race, Buveur D’air. Magnificent in turning on the turbo to blow Samcro away in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle this season, was his subsequent defeat in the Christmas Hurdle merely a blip? Or a sign that his powers are on the wane? Back on track in the Contenders Hurdle last time out, we will likely find out the answer to that question here.

Buveur D’air will most likely need to be right at the top his game to bag the prize for a third time, as lying in wait amongst the opposition is the freakishly talented mare, Apple’s Jade. A winner at up to 3m, all trips seem to come alike to this Gigginstown House Stud runner, and she did nothing to diminish her star quality when leaving the field for dead in the Irish Champion Hurdle last time out. Throw in the Willie Mullins-trained triple-threat of Laurina, Sharjah and 2018 runner up Melon, and we look to have a race to savour.

Day 2 – Wednesday 13th March 2019 – Ladies Day

Time Race Grade / Length Tip
13:30 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Grade 1 / 2m 5f Easy Game
14:10 RSA Chase Grade 1 / 3m ½f Delta Work
14:50 Coral Cup Grade 3 / 2m 5f Killultagh Vic
15:30 Champion Chase Grade 1 / 2m Altior
16:10 Glenfarclas Chase Class 2 / 3m 6f Tiger Roll
16:50 Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle Grade 3 / 2m ½f Lethal Steps
17:30 Champion Bumper Grade 1 / 3m 7f Sempo

Day two looks set to be lit up by two of the real superstars of the jumping game, as the seemingly unbeatable Altior, and current Grand National champion Tiger Roll, take up their Festival engagements.

Ballymore Novices’ Chase

It’s pretty bold – and slightly risky – to hand a racehorse the moniker of Champ, but that is just the name to have been given to the Nicky Henderson-trained runner who heads the betting here. The question on punters’ lips is, will the horse named in honour of Sir Anthony McCoy live up to his title on the biggest stage of all? After four from five over obstacles to date – including an impressive success in the Grade 1 Challow Novices’ Hurdle last time out – the signs are certainly encouraging.

Heading up the opposition is the unbeaten-in-four Battleoverdoyen who hails from the Gordon Elliott yard which landed this 12 months ago. Brewin’upastorm meanwhile could be the one who is a little overpriced having last been sighted falling at the final flight when in front at this track.

RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase

Sticking to the novices, we look set for another Britain versus Ireland humdinger here as Gordon Elliott’s Delta Work and Nicky Henderson’s Santini head up the market in the RSA Chase.

Delta Work has swept all before him over in Ireland so far this season and looks a horse firmly on the rise. A verdict over the talented Le Richebourg at Fairyhouse stands out as being amongst the best form on offer here, and significantly this one already has a Cheltenham Festival win to his name having landed the Pertemps Network Final at last year’s meeting.

In Santini though he will be meeting a runner touted as a potential Gold Cup horse of the future, who is five from six on soft ground and ran a rock-solid trial when a staying on third in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton last time out. Third in the Albert Bartlett here twelve months ago, he will have plenty of supporters to go two places better here.

Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase

The day two feature is at least in theory – and on all known form – the easiest to predict of the week’s four championship contests. Altior has simply looked on another planet to anything else in this division for some time now and arrives on the back of a more uninterrupted preparation than he did when storming home by seven lengths 12 months ago. Now unbeaten in 17 over obstacles, he will be the shortest priced favourite this week, and with good reason.

Looking for one to beat the jolly is no easy task. Min is second in the betting but hasn’t got near him in two previous attempts around here. Un De Sceaux meanwhile did at least give Altior a race in the Tingle Creek but seems more likely to go for the Ryanair Chase. A case can be made for Footpad, but only if he returns to the level of his Arkle win here last year, which hasn’t looked likely in two starts so far this season. So it’s got to be Altior all the way for us.

Glenfarclas Chase

The most unique event of the Festival, which sees the runners tackle all manner of unusual obstacles, sees one of the most popular runners in training make his next racecourse appearance. With three Cheltenham Festival successes and a Grand National win to his name, Tiger Roll has already established his place in racing folklore and will bid to build upon his legend still further with a successful defence of his crown here.

Tiger Roll predictably dominates the market, but may not have it all his own way with last year’s runner up Urgente De Gregaine and the Enda Bolger duo of Auvergnat and Josies Orders – who took this back in 2016 – amongst the opposition.

Day 3 – Thursday 14th March 2019 – St Patrick's Day

Time Race Grade / Length Tip
13:30 JLT Novices’ Chase Grade 1 / 2m 4f Lostintranslation
14:10 Pertemps Network Final Grade 3 / 3m Notwhatiam
14:50 Ryanair Chase Grade 1 / 2m 4½f Road To Respect
15:30 Stayers’ Hurdle Grade 1 / 3m Supasundae
16:10 Brown Advisory Plate Listed / 2m 4½f Siruh Du Lac
16:50 Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle Grade 2 / 2m 1f Posh Trish
17:30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Class 2 / 3m 2f Any Second Now

Another three top tier events take centre stage on Day Three, with one of the big hopes for the smaller British yards going in the feature.

JLT Novices’ Chase

Quite what happened to Defi Du Seuil last season we may never know, but whatever the reason for his disappointing performances, the 2017 Triumph Hurdle winner is firmly back on track now. It is he who heads the betting for the day three opener. A winner of two of his past three over fences, he is four from five on soft ground and ought to go well for Philip Hobbs.

Course and distance winner Lostintranslation and last season’s Coral Cup runner up Topofthegame are others prominent in the market in what looks a tight betting heat, with the hat-trick seeking Real Steel looking dangerous for Willie Mullins and the Irish.

Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle

The day’s big handicap contest sees the culmination of the Pertemps Network series with £100,000 up for grabs in the final. Won by current Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy in 2017, and RSA market leader Delta Work 12 months ago, a win in this contest can often prove a stepping stone towards bigger things.

Heading the market this year is another Irish runner in the form of the Gordon Elliott-trained Sire Du Berlais. None from seven for the yard to date, he nevertheless ran well in fourth in the conditional jockey race here 12 months ago and was a big eyecatcher when running on late at Leopardstown last time out. First Assignment has kept better company than this this season and is another interesting contender, along with course and distance winner Aaron Lad.

Ryanair Chase

This year’s Ryanair Chase looks one of the toughest to call of the week’s Grade 1’s, partly due to the fact that a number of those prominent in the market are doubly engaged. Arkle winner Footpad would make obvious appeal if connections opt for this over the Champion Chase, as would 2018 Champion Chase runner up Min, should he also run scared of Altior.

Two who do seem likely to run here, and should go well, are the admirable 2017 winner of the race, Un De Sceaux, and Paul Nicholls’ equally bold jumping front-runner, Frodon.

Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle

Altior is undoubtedly the standout banker of the week for the British, but not far behind in the eyes of many judges is the Emma Lavelle-trained Paisley Park. Four from four this season, this emerging star of the staying scene aims to confirm his superiority on the big stage. Putting any concerns about the track to bed with an emphatic success in the Cleeve Hurdle here last time out, he’s the one they all have to beat.

Should the favourite disappoint then there would be no more popular winner than the horse who comes next in the betting. Faugheen “The Machine” may not be operating quite so smoothly as he did in his heyday but can still turn it on as illustrated when storming home at the Punchestown Festival. 2018 runner up Supasundae and last year’s Albert Bartlett winner Kilbricken Storm are others worthy of note.

Day 4 – Friday 15th March 2019 – Gold Cup Day

Time Race Grade / Length Tip
13:30 JCB Triumph Hurdle Grade 1 / 2m 1f Sir Erec
14:10 County Handicap Hurdle Grade 3 / 2m 1f Monsieur Lecoq
14:50 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Grade 1 / 3m Dinons
15:30 Gold Cup Grade 1 / 3m 2½f Clan Des Obeaux
16:10 Foxhunter Chase Class 2 / 3m 2½f Stand Up And Fight
16:50 Grand Annual Chase Grade 3 / 2m ½f Magic Saint
17:30 Martin Pipe Conditional Class 2 / 2m 4½f Defi Bleu

And so to the big one. It is of course the magnificent Cheltenham Gold Cup which lights up the track on the closing day. The supporting action isn’t too bad either though and includes two further Grade 1’s and a clutch of top handicapping events.

JCB Triumph Hurdle

Joseph O’Brien has the top two in the betting for the opener on the closing day, but with Fakir D’oudairies seemingly heading to the Supreme Novices’, it seems likely that the weight of the Irish support will be firmly behind Sir Erec here. A talented performer on the flat, he is two from two over hurdles and comes with a lofty reputation.

Tiger Tap Tap has had two cracks at the favourite without success but, going for Rich Ricci and Willie Mullins, it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise should it be a case of third time lucky now the action takes place when the racing world is watching. Paul Nicholls runner Quel Destin has improved with every start and arrives seeking a six-timer and looks the best of the home team.

Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle

This contest for the up and coming staying hurdlers has proven to be just about the toughest race to call of the entire meeting in recent years – certainly amongst the Grade 1’s on offer. Gordon Elliott’s Commander Of Fleet and Nicky Henderson’s Birchdale boast the type of lightly raced profile which punters latch onto, but that hasn’t proved to be a recipe for success too often here.

Looking further down the list Jack Dempsey’s Derrinross arrives on the back of consecutive wins and thrives when the mud is flying, whilst the Willie Mullins runner, Relegate, has festival winning form, albeit in the very different test of the Champion Bumper.

Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase

We haven’t had back to back winners of the Cheltenham Festival’s signature event since Best Mate scored for the third time in 2004, but the more the rain arrives, the greater the chance that we will see a repeat winner in 2019.

Last year’s champ Native River is one of the toughest stayers in the game, has been running with credit this season and will likely make a bold bid from the front should the ground ride soft or worse on the day. Along with the up and coming Clan Des Obeaux from the yard of four-time winner of the race Paul Nicholls, he represents the best of the home team.

The Irish raiders have only plundered the big one twice in the last decade, but as ever they look set to fire a whole host of talented performers at the prize this season. Pat Kelly’s Presenting Percy leads the charge having looked all over a future Gold Cup performer when routing the opposition in the RSA here last season.

Willie Mullins meanwhile has famously never won this race, but boasting a potent three-pronged attack of Kemboy, Bellshill and Al Boum Photo, and possibly one or two or more, he looks set to put it up to the home team once again. Might Bite, Thistlecrack and Anibale Fly are others more than capable of going close if on song in what looks a cracking renewal.

St. James’s Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase

Hot on the heels of the Gold Cup comes the big event of the week for the amateur riders. Run over the same course and distance as the Gold Cup, this year’s edition has the potential to go down in the history books. Nine horses have won this twice in the past, but none have yet managed a third success. Paul Nicholls will be hoping that all changes in 2019.

Pacha Du Polder is the horse going for a third successive win in the race, and whilst he is currently amongst the outsiders, it should be remembered that he defied odds of 16/1 and 25/1 for his two wins in this. Of the rest, Road To Rome may have forgotten how to lose a race having landed each of his last seven starts and Stand Up And Fight goes for a trainer in Enda Bolger who has landed this on three separate occasions.

The Format of the Festival

In total, there are 28 races across the four days, with each day having seven races. As mentioned, each day has at least three Grade 1 races, with each day hosting a feature or 'Championship' race. On Tuesday this feature race is the Champion Hurdle, Wednesday it is the Queen Mother Champion Chase and on Friday it is the Gold Cup. Thursday actually has two feature races, the Ryanair Chase and the Stayers' Hurdle. 

Chart Showing Cheltenham Festival Race Grades by Day

Free to Air TV Coverage

Video Recorder Lying on Grass

For many years the festival has been hosted by long-time horse racing broadcaster, Channel 4. But, as of 2017 the festival was able to secure a new TV deal, shifting the rights to their rivals, ITV in a deal worth £30million spread across a number of meetings and races throughout the next couple of years.

The deal to move to ITV has been highly welcomed within the horse racing industry, mainly because of the money that ITV have pledged to put back into the sport. ITV actually paid 50% more (£30million from £20million) for the rights and it’s much hoped that this fresh approach to racing, including new presenters for the most part, will inject some much needed life into the sport.

Prize Money

Chart Showing Cheltenham Festival Prize Money

In 2018 the festival saw record levels of prize money with over £4.65 million up for grabs. This was a significant increase in of over £300,000 from 2017 which had a total fund of over £4.3 million. The 2019 festival has a slightly reduced fund of just under £4.6 million.

Previous years had shown a steady increase in across the board with 2016 having £4.17 million and 2015 having a total of £3.9 million respectively. However, 2016 was the first year that there were seven races on each day. Previously, Thursday's card only contained six races, a format which had been in place since the festival switched from three days to four in 2005.

Prize money starts at around £45,000 for the lowest grade race whilst the pinnacle is the Cheltenham Gold Cup which produces £625,000 to be won.

Great Britain Versus Ireland: The Prestbury Cup

Great Britain and Ireland Flags Overlapping

The Prestbury Cup is a side competition between Great Britain and Ireland, and works in a similar manner to that of Ryder Cup in golf.

Basically, the first country to get 14 or more wins in the festival takes the cup, starting from the Supreme Novices Hurdle on the Tuesday.

The cup is named after the village situated next to the racecourse. The winning team gets presented with the trophy once the festival has been completed. For 2019, the cup remains sponsored by Betbright, and is therefore known as the Betbright Prestbury Cup.

In 2018, Ireland completed a hattrick of Prestbury Cup wins taking the contest by 17 wins to 11. This after the Irish had a record 19 wins in 2017 and a narrow 15-13 victory in 2016.

The 2019 festival saw a 14-14 draw between British and Irish trained horses. This was a first draw since 1978 when the final day was abandoned due to snow, with only 12 races being run.

Cheltenham Racecourse

Aerial View of Cheltenham Racecourse Grandstands
Chris Homer, flickr

The course is one of the most beautiful tracks in the world. As it’s set within the Cotswolds, you get panoramic views of the countryside from higher viewpoints. Not only that, you are able to see a huge amount of the course given its undulations towards the far side.

It holds over 67,500 spectators in total and you can expect every day to be sold out throughout the festival. This is especially true on Gold Cup day and St Patricks day, where tickets are at a premium.

There are actually two main courses used within the confines of Prestbury Park throughout the festival. They are split into the Old Course and the New Course, both with distinctive characteristics. The New Course is quite a bit longer than the old and also has a tricky downhill section which is often tough for horses to then judge jumping distance given the speeds they run at down the hill.

The cross-country race, one of the toughest at the festival, follows a course constructed within the inner track which joins the old course to finish at the usual winning line.

As part of the continued growth of the racecourse, they are constantly updating and improving both the track and the facilities to make the experience for both punters, trainers and riders a more pleasurable one. One of the latest additions has been the Princess Royal Stand which was completed in 2015. It cost £45million and added further 6,500 seats to the capacity.

Day by Day Highlights & Latest Results

Tuesday / Champion Day

Grass Number One

Day 1 of the festival is usually the most anticipated, just because of the 12 month wait since the last race. It’s a day that the organisers have really thought about in terms of hitting the ground running and there are some monster races straight from the off.

The day kicks off with the Supreme Novices Hurdle and is one of the fastest races of the whole meeting. It’s a highly excitable race and whilst not always the easiest to call it’s a great curtain raiser for the four days. Its massive field means that value is to be found, if you can work your selections well enough.

The next race is the Arkle, named after one of the festivals most iconic horses. This 2-miler isn’t the longest race by any means, but as it’s run over fences, it offers a demanding first look at some of the jumps that the riders can expect to navigate over throughout the week.

One of the tougher races of the week, never mind day, is that of the Festival Handicap Chase. It’s another big field to work through, except this time they are often much more experience than that of the Arkle, which should give punters a good insight as to which horse could be on the shrewd pick. The race is often seen as a good measuring stick in the lead up the Grand National just a month or so later.

The highlight of the day is undoubtedly the Champions Hurdle, one of three Grade 1 listed races that day. It’s run over 2 miles and showcases some of the best hurdlers in the world. To give you an idea of the calibre of horses, previous winners have included Istabraq, See You Then, Annie Power, Hurricane Fly, Binocular and the list just keeps going on.

The final three races for the day include the Mares’ Hurdle, National Hunt Chase and the Novices’ Handicap Chase.

2019 Day One Results

Race Result (SP) Trainer / Jockey Prize Money
1. Klassical Dream (6/1) W P Mullins / R Walsh £70,338
2. Thomas Darby (28/1) O Murphy / R Johnson £26,500
3. Itchy Feet (25/1) O Murphy / G Sheehan £13,263
1. Duc Des Genievres (5/1) W P Mullins / P Townend £102,772
2. Us And Them (14/1) J P O'Brien / J J Slevin £38,720
3. Articulum (25/1) T O'Brien / D Mullins £19,378
1. Beware The Bear (10/1) N Henderson / J McGrath £61,897
2. Vintage Clouds (16/1) S Smith / D Cook £23,320
3. Lake View Lad (25/1) N W Alexander / H Brooke £11,671
4. Big River (28/1) L Russell / D Fox £5,830
1. Espoir D'Allen (16/1) G Cromwell / M Walsh £253,434
2. Melon (20/1) W P Mullins / P Townend £95,619
3. Silver Streak (80/1) E Williams / A Wedge £47,964
1. Roksana (10/1) D Skelton / H Skelton £70,563
2. Stormy Ireland (7/1) W P Mullins / P Townend £26,585
3. Good Thyne Tara (25/1) W P Mullins / R Blackmore £13,305
Close Brothers
1. A Plus Tard (5/1F) H De Bromhead / R Blackmore £39,389
2. Tower Bridge (6/1) J P O'Brien / J J Slevin £14,840
3. Ben Dundee (33/1) G Elliot / K Donoghue £7,427
4. The Russian Doyen (20/1) C Tizzard / H Cobden £3,710
1. Le Breuil (14/1) B Pauling / J J Codd £75,403
2. Discorama (9/2) P Nolan / B O'Neill £24,553
3. Jerrysback (16/1) P Hobbs / D G Lavery £12,916

Wednesday / Ladies Day

Grass Number Two

Day 2 of the festival sees another highly competitive line up of races and horses. The day is topped off by the Queen Mother Champion Chase. This race basically decides who the best 2-miler in the world and again, attracts a star-studded line-up.

One of the toughest races of the whole week is that of the Coral Cup, which has a massive field. It’s not a particularly long race at 2m 5f, but the pace is rapid and it often comes down to which horse has the biggest heart, which isn’t easy to predict given the field size. If ever there was a race where the form book tends to go out the window, this would be it!

The Cross Country Chase is favoured by horse racing fans for betting on for the exact opposite of reasons. The Irish have long time been dominated in this race and due to its field size and the calibre of horse racing, the formbook is going to be your friend with the Cross Country.

Another competitive but tough race to call is the Fred Winter Hurdle, which is made up of juveniles that are aged 4+. The race is another that has a strong field, but as the horses are still fairly young, they often have little pedigree of form to call up on. Plus, given the fact it includes 20+ horses per race, makes that little bit tougher again.

2019 Day Two Results

Race Result (SP) Trainer / Jockey Prize Money
1. City Island (8/1) M Brassil / M Walsh £70,338
2. Champ (9/2) N Henderson / B Geraghty £26,500
3. Bright Forecast (25/1) Ben Pauling / N de Boinville £13,263
RSA Chase 1. Topofthegame (4/1) P Nicholls / H Cobden £98,473
2. Santini (3/1) N Henderson / N de Boinville £37,100
3. Delta Work (15/8F) G Elliot / D Russell £18,568
Coral Cup
1. William Henry (28/1) N Henderson / N de Boinville £56,270
2. Wicklow Brave (28/1) W P Mullins / P W Mullins £21,200
3. Ballyandy (14/1) N Twiston-Davies / S Twiston-Davies £10,610
4. Brio Conti (10/1) P Nicholls / H Cobden £5,300
1. Altior (4/11F) N Henderson / N de Boinville £225,080
2. Politologue (11/1) P Nicholls / H Cobden £84,800
3. Sceau Royal (16/1) A King / D Jacob £42,440
Cross Country
1. Tiger Roll (5/4F) G Elliot / K Donoghue £40,235
2. Josies Orders (15/2) E Bolger / M Walsh £11,947
3. Urgent De Gregaine (17/2) E Clayeux / F De Giles £5,974
Fred Winter
1. Band Of Outlaws (7/2F) J P O'Brien / J J Slevin £45,016
2. Coko Beach (14/1) G Elliot / J Kennedy £16,960
3. Ciel De Neige (17/2) W P Mullins / R Walsh £8,488
4. King D'argent (25/1) D Skelton / H Skelton £4,240
1. Envoi Allen (2/1F) G Elliot / J J Codd £42,203
2. Blue Sari (7/2) W P Mullins / B Geraghty £15,900
3. Thyme Hill (20/1) P Hobbs / R Johnson £7,958

Thursday / St Patrick's Thursday

Grass Number Three

Another bumper day at the festival, and often St Patrick’s Day, the 3rd day of the meeting is kicked off with the JLT Novices’ Handicap. It’s one of the most popular races of the meeting, often with the Irish lumping on due to their dominance in the race in recent times.

The Ryanair Chase is another that is hotly contested and run over 2m5f. The race is contested by 5 year olds and above and is often made up of horses who probably aren’t quite ready for the step up in class to bigger race such as the Gold Cup. But, the horses on show are likely ones to watch for the future, so bear that in mind when looking at previous results of this race.

The Stayers hurdle is probably the highlight of Day 3 and with comes to strongest hurdlers in the industry at the minute. This race is followed by the Plate Handicap Chase, which just so happens to be another tricky pick for punters, mainly down to the size of the field but also that horses are aged just 5 years and over.

Finally, the day finishes off with the Mares’ Novices Hurdle and the Challenge Cup to cap a fine days racing.

2019 Day Three Results

Race Result (SP) Trainer / Jockey Prize Money
JLT Novices'
1. Defi Du Seuil (3/1F) P Hobbs / B Geraghty £88,209
2. Lostintranslation (4/1) C Tizzard / R power £33,233
3. Mengali Khan (9/1) G Elliot / J Kennedy £16,632
Network Final
1. Sire Du Berlais (4/1F) G Elliot / B Geraghty £56,270
2. Tobefair (40/1) D Hamer / T Bellamy £21,200
3. Not Many Left (16/1) Mrs J Harrington / M Walsh £10,610
4. Cuneo (12/1) H De Bromhead / R Blackmore £5,300
1. Frodon (9/2) P Nicholls / B Frost £196,945
2. Aso (33/1) V Williams / C Deutsch £74,200
3. Road To Respect (9/2) N Meade / S Flanagan £37,135
1. Paisley Park (11/8F) E Lavelle / A Coleman £182,878
2. Sam Spinner (33/1) J O'Keefe / J Colliver £68,900
3. Faugheen (4/1) W P Mullins / R Walsh £34,483
Stable Plate
1. Siruh Du Lac (9/2) N Williams / L Kelly £61,897
2. Janika (3/1F) N Henderson / D Jacob £23,320
3. Spiritofthegames (6/1) D Skelton / H Skelton £11,671
4. Eamon An Cnoic (10/1) D Pipe / T Scudamore £5,830
1. Eglantine Du Seuil (50/1) W P Mullins / N Fehily £50,643
2. Concertista (66/1) W P Mullins / D Mullins £19,080
3. Tintangle (40/1) G Elliot / J Kennedy £9,549
Kim Muir
Challenge Cup
Handicap Chase
1. Any Second Now (6/1) T M Walsh / D O'Connor £41,510
2. Kilfilum Cross (7/1) H Oliver / A Andrews £13,034
3. The Young Master (22/1) N Mulholland / S Waley-Cohen £6,517
4. Crievehill (40/1) N Twiston-Davies / Z Baker £3,255

Friday / Gold Cup Day

Grass Number Four

The 4th and last day of the meeting, is, let’s face it all about the Gold Cup. But, there is still a world class day of racing ahead, kicked off with the Triumph Hurdle. The Triumph has a cracking field usually and with it trainers are looking to set up potential future stars from this race.

The County Hurdle follows this race and is renowned as one of the hardest races all week to pick a winner from. It’s big field and a lot of unknown horses involved, but the flip side is that the winner is usually a healthy payout, so money to be won!

The Novices Hurdle’ is one of the newer races to the Festival, although has been about since 2005 now. It offers a very strong field and with it it’s often one that you need to get your money in with the bigger horses to get the best price.

Finally, the Gold Cup is run and it’s regarded as one of the biggest and most iconic races in the world, let alone at the Cheltenham Festival. It’s had some of the most iconic horse in history race in it and some of the most exhilarating races to boot.

2019 Day Four Results

Race Result (SP) Trainer / Jockey Prize Money
1. Pentland Hills (20/1) N Henderson / N de Boinville £70,338
2. Coeur Sublime (20/1) G Elliot / D Russell £26,500
3. Gardens Of Babylon (9/1) J P O'Brien / B Geraghty £13,263
1. Ch'tibello (12/1) D Skelton / H Skelton £56,270
2. We Have A Dream (14/1) N Henderson / D Jacob £21,200
3. Countister (18/1) N Henderson / B Geraghty £10,610
4. Whiskey Sour (5/1F) W P Mullins / R Walsh £5,300
Albert Bartlett
1. Minella Indo (50/1) H De Bromhead / R Blackmore £73,506
2. Commander Of Fleet (4/1F) G Elliot / J Kennedy £27,694
3. Allaho (8/1) W P Mullins / R Walsh £13,860
Gold Cup 1. Al Boum Photo (12/1) W P Mullins / P Townend £351,688
2. Anibale Fly (22/1) A J Martin / B Geraghty £132,500
3. Bristol De Mai (18/1) N Twiston-Davies / D Jacob £66,313
Challenge Cup
1. Hazel Hill (7/2F) P Rowley / A Edwards £26,685
2. Shantou Flyer (7/1) R Hobson / D Maxwell £8,379
3. Top Wood (33/1) K Morgan / T Worsley £4,190
Grand Annual
Challenge Cup
1. Croco Bay (66/1) B Case / K Woods £61,897
2. Bun Doran (11/1) T George / P Brennan £23,320
3. Brelan D'As (8/1) P Nicholls / B Frost £11,671
4. Forest Bihan (33/1) B Ellison / D Cook £5,830
Martin Pipe
Conditional Jockeys'
1. Early Doors (5/1) J P O'Brien / J O'Neill Jr £43,330
2. Dallas Des Pictons (7/2F) G Elliot / D Meyler £12,866
3. Defi Bleu (14/1) G Elliot / C Brassil £6,433
4. Champagne Court (14/1) J Scott / R Dingle £3,206


With the world of National Hunt racing descending on Cheltenham for the week, there is a whole host of numbers to crunch once the dust hast settled on another festival. Below we look at who were the top trainers and jockeys at the latest running of the event as well who are the most successful of all time.

Top Trainers from 2019

The 2019 festival saw Irish trainers Gordon Elliot and Willie Mullins joined by Nicky Henderson in the battle for top trainer. In the end it was Mullins who regained the top trainer award which he last won in 2016 with four wins, five second places and four third place finishes. This was narrowly in front of Henderson who also had four winners but only four second places and a single third place finish.

Champion trainer for the last two festivals, Gordon Elliot, had to settle for third place in 2019 with three wins to his name.

Mullins got off to a flying start winning the opening two races on the first day with Klassical Dream taking the Supreme Novices Hurdle followed by Duc De Genievres triumphing in the Arkle. Henderson did go into the lead on the final day when Pentland Hills took the Triumph Hurdle but victory in the big one, the Gold Cup, with Al Boum Photo sealed the top trainer award for County Carlow based Mullins.

Joseph O'Brien, son of flat trainer Aiden, had his first and second Cheltenham festival winners with Band Of Outlaws winning the Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle and Early Doors taking the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle. There was also first festival wins for trainers Martin Brassil, Ben Case and Philip Rowley.

The most impressive first win however came for former farrier Gavin Cromwell when Espoir D'Allen won the Champion Hurdle by a resounding 15 lengths.

Former Grand National winning trainer Ted Walsh, father of jockeys Ruby and Katy, ended a 22 year wait for his second festival win when Any Second Now won the Kim Muir. His only other festival win came back in 1997 when Commanche Court won the Triumph Hurdle. Emma Lavelle had her first Cheltenham Festival win since 2010 when favourite Paisley Park took the Stayers' Hurdle.

Dan Skelton won his third County Hurdle in four years with Ch'tibello taking the Grade 3 contest, ridden by his brother Harry. The duo also combined for a win in the Mares' Hurdle with Oksana.

Top 7 Cheltenham Festival Trainers in 2019

Trainer Wins by Day
Total Tues Weds Thurs Fri
Willie Mullins (Ire) 4 2 0 1 1
Nicky Henderson 4 1 2 0 1
Gordon Elliot (Ire) 3 0 2 1 0
Joseph O'Brien (Ire) 2 0 1 0 1
Paul Nicholls 2 0 1 1 0
Dan Skelton 2 1 0 0 1
Henry de Bromhead (Ire) 2 1 0 0 1

Top Jockeys from 2019

The leading jockey at the 2019 was Nico de Boinville who's three wins landed him the award for the first time. It's the first English Cheltenham Festival Top Jockey since Robert 'Choc' Thorton's four wins gained him the accolade back in 2007. All three wins came riding for Nicky Henderson with back to back wins on Wednesday in the Coral Cup with William Henry and the Queen Mother Champion Chase with Altior followed by the Triumph Hurdle success on the Friday on Pentland Hills. Altior's win was a record equalling eighteenth in a row, fifteen of which have been under Nico de Boinville.

Barry Geraghty, the top jockey in 2003 and 2012 was joined in second place on two victories by Paul Townend, Mark Walsh, Jamie Codd, Rachel Blackmore and Harry Skelton. The top jockey in 2018, Davy Russell finished the 2019 festival winless. Another former top jockey with a disappointing four days in 2019 was Ruby Walsh. His one win in the opening Supreme Novices' Hurdle was his fewest festival wins since 2003.

Perhaps the story of the meeting came when Bryony Frost became the first female jockey to land a Grade 1 race over jumps at the Cheltenham Festival when she rode Frodon to victory in the Ryanair Chase for Paul Nicholls. This was Frost's second festival win after winning the Foxhunter Chase with Pacha Du Polder in 2017.

The first Grade 1 chase win by a female jockey was swiftly followed by the first grade 1 win over hurdles for a female jockey, when Rachel Blackmore took the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle the next day on Minella Indo for Henry de Bromhead. On day one, Blackmore also had victory in the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Cap Chase with A Plus Tard, again for de Bromhead.

The 2019 Cheltenham Festival was the joint best ever for female jockeys. Lizzie Kelly's win in the Stable Plate on Siruh Du Lac along with the Frost and Blackmore victories meant four in total for the meeting. This equalled the previous year, 2018, where there were wins for Lizzie Kelly, Bridget Andrews, Harriet Tucker and Katie Walsh. Walsh's win in the National Hunt Flat Race was a first festival Grade 1 win for a female jockey and Kelly's the first for a professional female jockey.

Keith Donoghue won the Cross Country Chase for the second year in a row aboard Grand National Hero Tiger Roll and Rachel Blackmore was joined by Alex Edwards, Jonjo O'Neill Jr and Kielan Woods in gaining their first wins at The Festival.

Top 7 Cheltenham Festival Jockeys in 2019

Jockey Wins by Day
Total Tues Weds Thurs Fri
Nico de Boinville 3 0 2 0 1
Barry Geraghty 2 0 0 2 0
Paul Townend 2 1 0 0 1
Mark Walsh 2 1 1 0 0
Jamie Codd 2 1 1 0 0
Rachel Blackmore 2 1 0 0 1
Harry Skelton 2 1 0 0 1

Top Trainers & Jockeys of All Time

Over the last decade or so it’s been Willie Mullins that has been the trainer to beat at Cheltenham. Since 2011, Mullins has won the top trainer award six times. In 2019 his 4 wins extended his total number of victories to 65, maintaining his one win lead over British trainer Nicky Henderson as the festival's winning most trainer.

Long-time rival Henderson is a clear second on the list of all time Cheltenham festival trainers with 64 wins to his name, with Paul Nicholls back in third with 45.

Despite just one win in 2019, Ruby Walsh is still the most successful jockey at the festival by some distance with a total of 59 wins. Second is fellow Irishman Barry Geraghty on 38, followed by the legendary Sir Anthony McCoy with 31.

All Time Cheltenham Festival Top Trainers & Jockeys

Trainer Wins Jockey Wins
Willie Mullins 65 Ruby Walsh 59
Nicky Henderson 64 Barry Geraghty 38
Paul Nicholls 45 A P McCoy 31
Fulke Walwyn 40 Pat Taaffe 25
Martin Pipe 34 Richard Johnson 23

History of the Cheltenham Festival

Bench Overlooking Cheltenham Racecourse

The Cheltenham Festival has been running since 1860, making it one of the oldest race meeting in the world. Interestingly, it’s actually been held at a couple of different racecourses within that time, originally being held at Market Harborough, with the running of the first National Hunt chase.

At the turn of the 20th Century, the home of the meeting was mostly at the Warwick Racecourse and eventually moved to Cheltenham on more permanent basis in 1904, due to the expansion of the Prestbury Park. Over the coming decade or so the location flicked back between Cheltenham and Warwick, before in 1911, due to significant upgrade in facilities and the courses that were on offer, it was switched to Cheltenham on a permanent basis and has been held here ever since.

Gold Cup

Gold Trophy

The Gold Cup is arguably the most important jumps race in the world and has been running since 1924. But, the first inauguration of the Cheltenham Gold Cup was actually in 1819, but back then it was a 3m flat race. It wasn’t until 1924 when it made its first appearance over jumps at the Cheltenham Festival and has been a stable figure ever since.

Initially the race wasn’t considered to be one of the bigger ones for both spectators and trainers. It was actually seen as a warm up to the Grand National, allowing trainers to see if horses had progressed enough over the winter to run in what was renowned as the most prestigious race of the time. Both the National Hunt Chase and the County Handicap Hurdle were held in higher regard, with higher purses for both, compared with the Gold Cup.

Moving into the modern era, the Gold Cup switched from the Old Course to the New Course in 1959. The race has seen and created some legendary racehorses, including Arkle, Best Mate, Kauto Star, Desert Orchid and Denman.


Throughout the sixties there were few racehorses that were as successful as Arkle. Named after the Scottish mountain (shown in image), the Irish born thoroughbred won pretty much everything that you could do in that time and from his 35 races, lost only 3 times, highlighting just how successful he was.

His rating of 212 was and still is the highest rating of any steeplechaser in the history of the sport. To put that into perspective, the popular Kauto Star only ever reached that of 191, some 21 point short of Arkle’s record.

But, it was at Cheltenham where the horse really stood out from the crowd and in particular, the Gold Cup. He managed to win the race on three separate occasions, but what was even more impressive was that it was in 3 consecutive seasons, highlighting the dominance of this magnificent horse in the mid-sixties.

Aged 13 Arkle was laid to rest but his legacy still lives on with his skeleton being on show at the Irish National Stud Museum and the naming of the Arkle Chase at Cheltenham after him.

Desert Orchid

Close Up of Light Grey Horse

Another famous name in jumps racing is that of Desert Orchid. Whilst he won one Gold Cup back in 1989, he was probably more famed for his 4 wins in the King George VI Chase. But, his resume is one that has to be admired and undauntedly one of the best of all time.

The horse was always the peoples favourite and they loved the fact that he was as honest when racing as you could get, giving 110% each time he raced. Throughout the eighties and early nineties there wasn’t much that he didn’t win, but what was more impressive is that his wins came from different styles of races and different lengths, making him a true all-rounder.

It was his appearances after his retirement that really caught the heart both inside and outside of the sport. He attended several charity events, raising thousands of pounds in doing so. Few horses have left such a legacy both on and off the course.

Kauto Star Versus Denman

Chess Knights Facing Each Other

Throughout the decades of Cheltenham there have been several rivalries between a plethora of horses, but none have been able to reach the heights of the Kauto Star v Denman story. They will both go down as two of the true greats of the sport and their ability to bring the best out of each other was unparalleled.

The pair were essentially stable mates, but for long periods owner, Paul Nicholls, was keen to keep the pair apart. By the time that Denman had started to compete with Kauto Star, it was the latter that was the established name and had already won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2007.

A year later it was Denman’s chance to earn the crown, which he duly took, beating Kauto Star by 7 lengths in one of the most impressive performances that race had ever seen. But, it was just a year alter when Kauto Star reasserted his dominance over Denman, winning by an impressive 13 lengths, an almost nod to say, nice try, but better luck next time!

Both horses ended their careers with impressive figures. Denman having 12 wins from just 13 runs and Kauto Star 15 wins from 25 runs, but earning almost 3 times in prize money than his stable mate.

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