If you’re a fan of jump racing, then there’s no doubt that you’ve heard of Cheltenham Racecourse. Located in the heart of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham is widely regarded as the home of jump racing, with a rich history dating back over 200 years. Each year, the racecourse hosts a number of high-profile events, including the Cheltenham Festival, which attracts racing enthusiasts from all over the world.
Whether you’re a seasoned race-goer or a first-time visitor, navigating Cheltenham Racecourse can be a daunting task. With three different tracks, numerous hospitality options, and a range of facilities to explore, it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why we’ve put together this Cheltenham Racecourse guide, designed to help you make the most of your visit to this iconic venue. From insider tips on the best places to watch the races to advice on where to grab a bite to eat, we’ve got everything you need to know. So, whether you’re planning a day out with friends or a corporate event, read on to discover everything you need to know about Cheltenham Racecourse.
History and Significance
Cheltenham Racecourse has a rich history that dates back to 1815 when the first organized flat race meeting took place on Nottingham Hill. However, it wasn’t until 1818 that the first races on Cleeve Hill occurred. Since then, the racecourse has grown in popularity and now hosts National Hunt horse racing, including the famous Cheltenham Festival.
The Cheltenham Festival is a four-day event that takes place annually in March. It is one of the most prestigious horse racing events in the world and attracts thousands of visitors from all over the globe. The festival features several Grade 1 races, including the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Champion Hurdle, and the Champion Chase.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most prestigious race of the festival and is considered the pinnacle of National Hunt racing. It was first run in 1924 and has since become one of the most important races in the National Hunt calendar. The race has been won by some of the greatest horses in history, including Golden Miller, Arkle, Desert Orchid, and Best Mate.
The Champion Hurdle is another Grade 1 race that takes place at the Cheltenham Festival. It is a two-mile race for horses aged four years and older and has been won by some of the greatest hurdlers in history, including Istabraq, Hurricane Fly, and Buveur D’Air.
The Champion Chase is a two-mile steeplechase that takes place on the second day of the festival. It is a Grade 1 race that has been won by some of the greatest chasers of all time, including Moscow Flyer, Sprinter Sacre, and Altior.
Over the years, many trainers and jockeys have made a name for themselves at Cheltenham. Nicky Henderson is one of the most successful trainers in the history of the festival, having won numerous Grade 1 races, including the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Willie Mullins is another highly successful trainer who has enjoyed great success at Cheltenham, having won the Champion Hurdle and the Champion Chase multiple times.
Finally, the Cheltenham Racecourse Hall of Fame was established in 2020 to recognize the achievements of the greatest horses, trainers, and jockeys in the history of the festival. The inaugural inductees included legends such as Golden Miller, Arkle, and Ruby Walsh.
Major Races and Meetings
Cheltenham Racecourse hosts a number of prestigious races and meetings throughout the year, attracting crowds from all over the world. Here are some of the major events you can expect to see at Cheltenham:
Undoubtedly the highlight of the racing calendar at Cheltenham, the Cheltenham Festival is a four-day event that takes place in March each year. The festival features a number of high-profile races, including the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase, Ryanair Chase, Triumph Hurdle, Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle, and Champion Bumper. The festival attracts the best horses, jockeys, and trainers from around the world, making it a must-see event for racing fans.
The November Meeting is a three-day event that takes place in November each year. It features a number of high-profile races, including the BetVictor Gold Cup and the Greatwood Hurdle. The meeting is seen as a good indicator of form ahead of the Cheltenham Festival, and many of the horses that perform well at the November Meeting go on to do well at the festival.
The Showcase Meeting is a two-day event that takes place in October each year. It features a number of high-profile races, including the Showcase Trophy and the Silver Trophy Chase. The meeting is seen as a good opportunity for horses to get a feel for the Cheltenham course ahead of the bigger races later in the season.
Christmas and New Year Meetings
The Christmas and New Year Meetings are two separate events that take place in December and January respectively. They feature a number of high-profile races, including the King George VI Chase and the Challow Novices’ Hurdle. The meetings are a great way to celebrate the festive season and see some top-quality racing at the same time.
Overall, Cheltenham Racecourse offers a packed calendar of events throughout the year, with something to suit all tastes. Whether you’re a seasoned racing fan or a newcomer to the sport, there’s sure to be an event that will appeal to you.
If you’re planning to attend a race at Cheltenham Racecourse, it’s important to understand the layout of the three courses: the Old Course, the New Course, and the Cross Country Course. Each course has its own unique characteristics and challenges.
The Old Course is the original course at Cheltenham and has been in use since 1815. It is undulating and has a stiff uphill finish, making it a true test of stamina. The course is left-handed and measures 1 mile and 4 furlongs. There are 10 fences on the Old Course, including the famous water jump.
The New Course was introduced in 1964 and is wider than the Old Course. It measures 1 mile and 5 furlongs and has 13 fences, including an open ditch and a water jump. The New Course is also left-handed and has an uphill finish, but it is not as undulating as the Old Course.
Cross Country Course
The Cross Country Course is a unique course that features a variety of obstacles, including hedges, banks, ditches, and water jumps. The course is approximately 3 miles long and is run in a clockwise direction. The Cross Country Course is designed to test the endurance and jumping ability of both horse and rider.
Overall, Cheltenham Racecourse is one of the premier racecourses in the world, with a rich history and a challenging course layout. Whether you’re a seasoned racegoer or a first-time visitor, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience at Cheltenham.
Experiencing Cheltenham Racecourse
If you are looking for an unforgettable experience, Cheltenham Racecourse is the perfect destination. With a vibrant atmosphere and stunning views, it is the ideal place to enjoy a day out with friends, family, or colleagues.
Hospitality and Packages
For a truly luxurious experience, you can choose from a range of hospitality packages. These packages include exclusive access to private boxes, fine dining experiences, and panoramic views of the racecourse. You can also enjoy a range of benefits such as complimentary drinks, race cards, and betting facilities.
Cheltenham Racecourse has three main enclosures: the Club Enclosure, the Tattersalls Enclosure, and the Best Mate Enclosure. Each enclosure offers a unique experience and has its own facilities and amenities.
The Club Enclosure is the most exclusive enclosure and offers the best views of the racecourse. It includes access to the Winning Post and the Princess Royal Stand, which has a range of dining options and private boxes.
The Tattersalls Enclosure is the largest enclosure and offers a lively atmosphere with a range of bars, food stalls, and entertainment. It has excellent views of the racecourse and is a popular choice for racegoers.
The Best Mate Enclosure is the newest enclosure and offers a relaxed atmosphere with a range of food and drink options. It has excellent views of the racecourse and is a great choice for families and groups.
Dining and Views
Cheltenham Racecourse has a range of dining options to suit all tastes and budgets. From fine dining experiences to casual food stalls, there is something for everyone.
The Panoramic Restaurant is the most luxurious dining option and offers stunning views of the racecourse. It serves a range of gourmet dishes and has an extensive wine list.
The Festival Restaurant is another popular dining option and offers a range of delicious dishes. It has excellent views of the racecourse and is a great place to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
If you are looking for a more casual dining experience, there are plenty of food stalls and bars to choose from. You can enjoy a range of snacks, drinks, and hot meals while taking in the excitement of the races.
Overall, Cheltenham Racecourse offers a unique and unforgettable experience for spectators and racegoers alike. With its stunning views, lively atmosphere, and range of facilities, it is the perfect destination for a day out.