The Cheltenham Festival gets underway this week and climaxes with Friday’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.
A major fixture on Great Britain’s jump racing calendar, the Festival attracts crowds and media from all over Europe and some from the United States as well.
Cheltenham calls it “four days of atmosphere, anticipation and action, played out on a beautiful sporting arena that has no equal.”
Katie Walsh riding Foxrock make their way to the gallops at Cheltenham racecourse on March 09, 2014 in Cheltenham, England. (Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Europe)
They continue, saying “The Festival features the best and the bravest horses and jockeys, nervous and excited trainers and owners, and a wide cast of human characters who come together every year determined to have the time of their lives. For racing's practitioners, Festival glory provides lifelong memories that will never fade and defines careers. Witness the sheer elation of winning connections as they return to the cheers of the crowd and you are seeing dreams fulfilled and years of planning and effort coming to fruition.
The Festival is one of those rare events that engages everyone who comes into contact with it, never failing to produce award-winning drama, enjoyment, camaraderie and sporting excellence in a cocktail for which no hangover cure is required. It truly is a life affirming four days.”
The calendar breaks down like this:
Tuesday, March 11th – Champions Day, the feature race is the Champion Hurdle, a prestigious Grade 1 stakes race with a purse of $695,000 (U.S.)
Wednesday, March 12th – Ladies Day, the feature race is the Queen Mother Champion Chase, a prestigious Grade 1 stakes race with a purse of $582,000 (U.S.)
Thursday, March 13th – St. Patrick’s Thursday, the feature races are the Ryanair Chase, a prestigious Grade 1 stakes race with a purse of $457,000 (U.S.) and the World Hurdle, a Grade 1 race also with a purse of $457,000 (U.S.).
Friday, March 14th – Cheltenham Gold Cup Day, the feature race is the Queen Mother Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase, a prestigious Grade 1 stakes race with a purse of $956,000 (U.S.)
Tune in the rest of the week for photos of the winners!