Cheltenham Racecourse

Cheltenham Racecourse  Cheltenham Racecourse, situated in Prestbury Park, on the edge of the Cotswolds, is best known for the four-day Cheltenham Festival, which takes place in March each year. The Cheltenham Festival is the pinnacle of the National Hunt season, with the Champion Hurdle, the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the World Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup among the 27 races contested over the four days. The racecourse moved to Prestbury Park in 1831, but the first National Hunt race didn’t take place until 67 years later, in 1898.

 

Course Characteristics

The Old Course at Cheltenham, which is used on the first two days of the Cheltenham Festival, is a left-handed, galloping, undulating, testing oval, approximately a mile and a half around. There are ten, stiff fences, or eight flights of hurdles, per circuit.

The New Course, which is used on the last two days of the Festival, shares the same characteristics as the Old Course, but is slightly longer. The stiffness of the fences aside, the conventional courses at Cheltenham are defined by their testing nature and the stiff, uphill climb from the final fence to the winning post, which constitutes the famous Cheltenham hill.

The Cross Country Course, which is used for just three races a year, is laid out in the centre of the conventional courses and features an eclectic mixture of banks, ditches and rails.

 

Track Facts

 

Golden Miller won the Cheltenham Gold Cup five years running between 1932 and 1936. More recently, Cottage Rake (1948, 1949 and 1950), Arkle (1964, 1965 and 1966) and Best Mate (2002, 2003 and 2004) all won the Blue Riband event in three consecutive years.

In 1983, former trainer Michael Dickinson saddled Bregawn, Captain John, Wayward Lad, Silver Buck and Ashleigh House to fill the first five places in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Dawn Run, who won the Champion Hurdle in 1984 and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1986, is the only horse in history to win both races.

Norton’s Coin, bred, owned and trained by Welsh farmer Sirrell Griffiths, was the longest-priced winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup, at 100/1, in 1990.

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