Where does the time go? As the months quickly speed ahead, so does the countdown to this year’s most exciting horse racing event. The Cheltenham festival features a fine selection of experienced race horses, jockeys and trainers on hand to provide spectators with excitement, skill and (most importantly) an adrenaline rush sure to have everyone on the edge of their seats. We take a closer look at the origins of this prestigious racing event:
What is the Cheltenham Gold Cup?
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is a high-quality event of National Horse racing. It is the most anticipated race in the whole festival and the one to look out for when adding to your jump calendar. The race provides an incredibly challenging test for both horse and rider; promising all the excitement and drama associated with the Cheltenham festival.
The origins of the Cheltenham races
There is an incredible sense of pride associated with racing in the Cheltenham Festival. It’s rich and varied history is one that leaves most scrambling for a chance to take part. Horse racing at Cheltenham dates back to 1819, where the first race featured a 3 mile flat course on Cleeve Hill. The venue proved a success with organisers building a new grandstand and scheduling the following meet in three days.
The Gold Cup moves to Prestbury Park
In 1831 the races moved to their current location at Prestbury Park. However, the initial intrigue of the races was short-lived and by 1856 the races were no longer taking place. While flat racing slowly died off in Cheltenham, steeplechasing was growing in popularity; adding suspense and a sense of real danger to the races. In 1834 the first ever Grand Annual Steeplechase was run in Andoversford. The race was then held at a number of locations over the years, but the quality of racing soon dropped. The land was bought by racing enthusiast, Mr W.A. Bingham, who wanted to re-establish the racing game with a desire to reflect on the glory days at Cheltenham. 1898 saw Bingham hosting a successful racing meet, and by 1902 this location was well recognised for the inaugural National Hunt Festival.
The modern day race
In 2005 we were introduced to the first four day Festival with six races per day. A new 3m7f Cross Country Chase was added to Tuesday’s racing card - still featuring in today’s Champion Hurdle. Wednesday’s Queen Mother Champion Chase is still the highlight. Friday is (of course) Gold Cup day with the Triumph Hurdle, Foxhunters and Country hurdle taking place in the afternoon. The four day Festival was a success and its structure was continued in future races.
The event has continued to gain prominence and is now considered one of the UK’s most prestigious sporting events. In recent years over 200,000 people made the trip to Cheltenham; with internet coverage, radio updates and live-feeds, the meetings are watched by millions all over the world.
Betting odds for Cheltenham Gold Cup 2015
Silviniaco Conti’s dominant display when winning the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day has launched him into the head of betting for the Cheltenham Gold Cup 2015. But, after trying and failing to impress in past races, will you be placing your bet on this favourite?
Many Clouds in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup is an eight-year-old, trained by Oliver Sherwood. This Hennessy Gold Cup and Argento Chase winner currently has odds of 7/1 from Betfair.
There’s a group of strong Irish contenders to add depth to the race. They include Carlingford Lough, set to be AP McCoy's final ride in the Gold Cup, as a 10/1 shot.