"Winning at Cheltenham...well, it just doesn't get much better than that" - Sir AP McCoy

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Taking place over four magnificent days in March, the Cheltenham Festival features some of the best jump racing in the world and has become known as “the Olympics” of horse racing. With a large variety of top-class races held over the four-day festival, take a look at our guide to the race schedule for each day.

Day 1: Champion Day (Tuesday)

On the first day of the Cheltenham Festival, there are seven races scheduled. Here’s what is in store for day one of the festival:

13.30 – Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

A race for novice hurdlers, often featuring young and promising horses. It is a Grade 1 race and is open to horses aged four years or older. It is run on the Old Course at Cheltenham over 2 miles and ½ furlong (2 miles and 87 yards, or 3,298 metres), and horses must navigate eight hurdles during the race.

14.10 – my pension expert Arkle Challenge Trophy

A leading contest for young steeplechasers, this race targets novice chasers and features a 2-mile dash with 13 fences. It’s the season’s top event for speed-orientated novices and offers a Grade 1 challenge that tests their ability to jump accurately at high speeds.

14.50 – Ultima Handicap SteepleChase

A handicap steeplechase where horses carry different weights. Open to horses aged five years or older, it is run on the Old Course at Cheltenham over approx. 3 miles and 1 furlong (5,029 metres), with 20 fences to be jumped. Such is the gruelling nature of this race, winners are often selected to race in The Grand National, although not always in the same year.

15.30 – Unibet Champion Hurdle CHALLENGE TROPHY

One of the most prestigious hurdle races in the world, featuring elite hurdlers aged four years or older. The Unibet Champion Hurdle, the feature Grade 1 race on day one of the Cheltenham Festival, is the championship contest for 2-mile hurdlers and has been won by some of the greatest hurdlers of all time including Istabraq, Honeysuckle, and Constitution Hill.

16.10 – Close brothers Mares’ Hurdle Race

The Mares’ Hurdle is a Grade 1 race, restricted to mares only. It is a relatively new addition to the meeting, having first been staged in 2008. It is run on the Old Course at Cheltenham over approx. 2 miles with 10 hurdles to be navigated.

16.50 – The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle race

Reserved for four-year-old juvenile hurdlers, this Grade 3 handicap hurdle covers a 2-mile distance with eight hurdles. It serves as an alternate option for trainers to the more competitive Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, another race limited to four-year-old hurdlers.

17.30 – maureen ullins National Hunt novices’ chase

A novice chase for amateur riders, this Grade 2 event requires navigating 23 fences over 3 miles and 6 furlongs. Previously contested over 4 miles, the course length was decreased for welfare reasons after a challenging 2020 race that saw only four of 18 starters finish.


Day 2: Ladies Day (Wednesday)

Here’s the run-down for Ladies Day at the Cheltenham Festival, which is now called Style Wednesday.

13.30 – gallagher NOVICES’ HURDLE

A race for novice hurdlers over an extended distance. It is the premier race during the National Hunt racing season for novice hurdlers over a trip of 2 miles and 5 furlongs. Acting as a stepping stone for premier hurdlers, this race has been claimed by renowned champions like Istabraq, Hardy Eustace, and Faugheen, who all triumphed in the Champion Hurdle the next year.

14.10 – Brown Advisory Novices’ SteepleChase

A highly prestigious race for novice chasers over a longer distance. It is the novices’ equivalent of the Cheltenham Gold Cup and several winners have gone on to triumph in the Gold Cup itself in later years, including most recently Denman, Bobs Worth, and Lord Windermere.

14.50 – Coral Cup Hurdle

Introduced to the Cheltenham Festival in 1993, it is one of the most competitive handicaps of the week and often turns into a dash for the line with multiple potential winners. Run over a distance of 2 miles and 5 furlongs with 10 fences to jump and a maximum field of 26, it is one of the most fiercely competitive betting heats of the festival.


Known fondly as the Queen Mother Champion Chase, this is one of four championship races held at the festival and is the most prestigious race in the National Hunt season for two-mile chasers. Open only to horses over the age of five and run on a track just under 2 miles with thirteen fences, the Champion Chase is often a thrilling race. Recent legends of this race include Master Minded, Sprinter Sacre, and Altior.

16.10 – Glenfarclas Cross Country steepleChase

A unique race over a variety of obstacles and terrain, open to horses aged five and older. At a distance of 3 miles and 6 furlongs with 32 obstacles to be cleared, Cheltenham’s Cross-Country provides a stern test for both horse and rider. It is a one-of-a-kind race and was added to the festival schedule in 2005.


Run on the Old Course over a distance of 2 miles with 14 fences to be jumped, this is a Premier Handicap race which is often run as a fierce gallop.

17.30 – weatherbys Champion Bumper

Regarded as the most prestigious flat race in the National Hunt calendar, it is the only race of the Cheltenham Festival where no obstacles are jumped. It is for horses who are yet to begin their jumping careers and has been the starting point for many top-class hurdlers and chasers.

Views of Cheltenham Racecourse from a balcony

Day 3: St. Patrick’s Thursday

Here is the schedule for day 3 at the Cheltenham Festival:

13.30 – Turners Novices’ Chase

One of the meeting’s three Grade 1 novice chases, this event appeals to runners who specialise in the intermediary distance of 2 miles and 4 furlongs. Established in 2011 and run on the New Course at Cheltenham, the Novices’ Chase features 11 fences to be navigated.

14.10 – Pertemps Network Final

Run on the New Course over a distance of 3 miles, this race is the culmination of races run throughout the jumps season leading up to Cheltenham. The results of this race will be the decider after 21 qualifying races, all long-distance in nature. Younger horses that thrive here often go on to greater success over fences.

14.50 – Ryanair SteepleChase

Introduced to the festival line-up in 2005, the Ryanair Chase is a Grade 1 National Hunt steeplechase available to horses five years of age and older. The main event on the third day of the festival, this race covers a distance of 2 miles and 5 furlongs and is the pinnacle competition for chasers whose ideal distance lies between the Gold Cup and the Champion Chase.

15.30 – paddy power Stayers’ Hurdle

Featuring 12 hurdles over a 3-mile course, this Grade 1 hurdle race is the definitive championship for long-distance hurdlers and has been claimed by iconic figures in jump racing like Thistlecrack and Big Buck’s.


A Premier Handicap National Hunt steeplechase open to horses aged 5 years or older. With 14 fences and a 2-mile 4-furlong track on the New Course to navigate, it is often a springboard to greater achievements.

16.50 – ryanair Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

Open to just fillies and mares aged 4 years and older, it is run on the New Course at Cheltenham. First run in 2016, this race is run at slightly over 2 miles with 8 hurdles to be jumped.

17.30 – fulke walwyn Kim Muir CHALLENGE CUP

Restricted to just amateur jockeys, this is a long-distance handicap chase run over 3 miles and 2 furlongs. Named after a cavalry soldier who tragically lost his life fighting in WWII, the Kim Muir Handicap Chase is always the final race on day three of the festival.


Day 4: Gold Cup Day (Friday)

The final day of the Cheltenham Festival is highly anticipated with visitors looking forward to everything the Gold Cup schedule has to offer.

13.30 – JCb Triumph Hurdle

Restricted to four-year-old juvenile hurdlers, this Grade 1 hurdle race is the most prestigious race in the National Hunt season for horses who fall into this category. Run over a distance of 2 miles and 1 furlong, the Triumph Hurdle has produced future champions such as Tiger Roll.

14.10 – betmgm County Handicap Hurdle

A fiercely competitive Premier Handicap hurdle run over 2 miles 1 furlong, it is run on the New Course and features only eight hurdles to be jumped. Until a change to the running order in 2009, this was traditionally the final race of the festival.

14.50 – Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

Known as the ultimate test for premier long-distance novice hurdlers, this Grade 1 race runs a course of 3 miles with 12 hurdles to be jumped. As of 2023, only horses 5 years or older are eligible to compete.

15.30 – the boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup

The highlight of the festival, The Cheltenham Gold Cup is one of the most exciting racing events on the calendar. Some of the greatest horses in racing have claimed victory here in the past. The Grade 1 chase is highly coveted, with winners taking home £625,000 – these high stakes make the jump race that much more nail-biting! The Gold Cup represents the ultimate challenge for the very best staying chasers, with 22 fences during the relentless 3 miles (2 ½ furlongs), and a punishing finish up the famous Cheltenham hill. To name a few, past winners include big names like Mill House, Golden Miller, Best Mate, Kauto Star, and Arkle.

16.10 – St. James’ Place Hunters’ Chase

Run over the same course and distance as the Cheltenham Gold Cup, it is restricted to amateur jockeys only. For this reason, it is often referred to as the amateurs’ Gold Cup. Qualification for entry in the Festival Hunter Chase is based on a horse’s previous performances within a specific period.

16.50 – mrs paddy power Mares’ steepleChase

Run for the first time in 2021, this is one of the newest races to feature in the festival and is run over 2 miles 4.5 furlongs with 17 fences to be jumped.

17.30 – The Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey’s Handicap Hurdle

Named after Martin Pipe, a formidable 15-time champion trainer with 34 festival wins who retired in 2006, this event started in 2009. It is specifically designed for conditional jockeys, offering a competitive opportunity for those early in their professional careers.

The Cheltenham Festival features four days full of world-class racing. Each day has a unique charm of its own, so you’re in for a treat on whichever day you join. Experience the best of the event with our Cheltenham Festival hospitality packages.