What’s all of the fuss about?
Though no longer an official ‘finals’ like one might locate in lots of other sports, nor even the season finale, the Cheltenham Festival is broadly considered to be the biggest meet of the British and Irish National Hunt season.
Many of the essential races inside the jumps calendar, both in terms of prize money and status, are run on the four-day occasion.
What are a lot of these distinct races?
There are currently 28 races at the Cheltenham Festival, seven in line with day. The majority of those are run over one in every of two barriers – either taller fences, or shorter hurdles, and variety in the distance from round two miles to the four-mile National Hunt Chase.
The races are divided into diverse divisions, based on a range of things including revel in, age, intercourse and, in a few races called handicaps, wherein horses convey weight to theoretically stage the playing field, potential.
What are the largest races?
Of the 28 races on the Festival, 14 are classed as grade ones – the best class of race in the sport.
Each of the four days has the main feature race, known as a championship race. They are:
Tuesday – Champion Hurdle: The most prestigious hurdle race in the game, run over two miles.
Wednesday – The Queen Mother Champion Chase: The pinnacle prize on provide for horses going for walks miles over fences.
Thursday – The Stayers’ Hurdle: This three-mile hurdle race is considered slightly less prestigious than the opposite championship races, and the Ryanair Chase, a -and-a-1/2 mile run over fences on an identical day, is now and again thought of as co-headliner.
Friday – The Cheltenham Gold Cup: The Festival’s blue ribbon event, a grueling test of stamina run over three-and-a-zone miles over fences.
Altior received remaining yr’s Champion Chase and remains unbeaten over barriers in his profession. He’ll be searching out a report-equalling 18th consecutive career win, and a fourth on the Festival.
His stablemate Bouvier D’Air is at the cusp of history, trying to land a 3rd successive Champion hurdle, even as Native River arrives because the defending Gold Cup champion and is looking to come to be the primary horse in greater than a decade to preserve he identify.
Away from the principle championship races, final yr’s Grand National winner Tiger Roll runs in the Cross Country Chase, which he received last year.
And human ones?
Ireland’s Willie Mullins is the maximum a success instructor in the records of the Festival with 61 winners, just one more than British champion instructor Nicky Henderson. However, the pinnacle trainer prize at Cheltenham remaining yr went to Gordon Elliott, who had eight winners.
Ruby Walsh remains possibly the famous maximum jockey in the game. However, it was fellow Irishman Davy Russell who took the top jockey crown last yr with four winners.
What does this imply?
Bumper – This is a flat race for National Hunt horses. Usually, the horses competing are younger horses who will run over hurdles the following season. The Champion Bumper is the most effective such race at Cheltenham.
Chase – A chase, as in ‘steeplechase,’ is a race run over tall fences in place of brief hurdles. The horses competing in those races are referred to as chasers.
Connections – The humans intently associated with the pony, usually the owner and trainer.
Furlong – There are 8 furlongs in a mile. With maximum races at Cheltenham run between two and 3 miles, you’ll regularly right here the commentator mention the number of furlongs left to run within the very last levels.
Going – This refers back to the state of the floor. Heavy ground could be moist and muddy, while the hard, drier ground is known as ‘firm.’ Usually, at Cheltenham, the going is somewhere in the center, between true and gentle.
Novice – This is the name given to a horse who had no longer gained over a sure impediment previous to the begin of the present day season. At Cheltenham, there are several races for both amateur hurdlers and chasers.
On the bridle – Specifically, this refers to a horse who is walking with the bridle, or bit, nevertheless in his mouth. However, in exercise, it’s miles frequently used to refer to a horse who wins easily.
Pulled up – If the jockey feels a horse is out of contention, both due to the fact he’s tired and properly beaten or due to damage or an awful mistake, he will sometimes pick to forestall the pony mid-race to shield its wellness.
Ridden along/being ridden – A horse this is receiving physical encouragement from the jockey to quicken up, either to stay in competition mid-race or to go flat out at the end, is said to be ridden along.
Stay – A horse that ‘stays’ properly is one that has the stamina to finish the specified distance, while a horse that doesn’t live ought to likely be going for walks over a shorter distance. Horses that run over longer distances, along with the Gold Cup at Cheltenham, are referred to as ‘stayers.’
Trip – This is some other phrase for the gap run. For example, the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham is administered over a ride of miles.
Yard – Specifically, this is the backyard of a given instructor, but it will often be utilized about the organization of horses educated there. For instance, if the yard is in exact shape, it way that the instructor’s horses are jogging nicely.