All racing eyes will head to Prestbury Park next week as the 2013 Cheltenham Festival will take centre stage and some of the races are bubbling up nicely with the Cheltenham Gold Cup set to be one of the most fascinating renewals in recent times.
Bobs Worth was sensational when winning the Hennessy Gold Cup and last year's RSA Chase winner will look to bag his third win at the Cheltenham Festival with victory in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but some intriguing rivals will take him on, with the Irish charge set to be strong with Sir Des Champs, whilst Silviniaco Conti will be another leading player taking his chance.
Sprinter Sacre will be all the rage in the betting for the Queen Mother Champion Chase, whilst there will be a stellar field lining up for the Champion Hurdle in which 2011 winner Hurricane Fly will be hoping to regain the title he lost to Rock On Ruby whilst Zarkandar could prove to be a major player in a top notch running of the opening day highlight.
With Big Buck's having to be forced to sit this year's World Hurdle out, it could well prove to be one of the most wide open runnings of the race over the last few decades and the likes of Reve De Sivola and Oscar Whisky star prominently at the head of the ante-post betting
Simonsig was superb in the Neptune last season and he has made a real impact on the chasing scene and he is already a short-priced jolly for the Arkle Challenge Trophy, but he will have to get the better of last year's Champion Hurdle runner-up Overturn, who has made a smooth transition to the jumping game and will give the talented grey a huge task.
14:05 Arkle Challenge Trophy
15:20 Champion Hurdle
14:40 RSA Chase
16:00 Coral Cup
17:15 Champion Bumper
13:30 Jewson Novices' Chase
14:40 Ryanair Chase
15:20 World Hurdle
16:00 Byrne Group Plate
16:40 Kim Muir Challenge Cup
13:30 Triumph Hurdle
16:00 Foxhunters' Chase
The Cheltenham Festival is quite simply the highlight of the National Hunt calendar in the UK and Ireland as all the best horses come together every March for four days of the very highest quality racing.
The races at Cheltenham are in essence the Championship races for the season with all the different classes get their moment in the sun. The stands at Cheltenham are absolutely packed for the Festival and it is without doubt the pinnacle of jump racing. It is the one chance during the season that all the best national hunt horses from the UK and Ireland meet head-to-head, and it is a true test for the horses meaning that we always get the right winner.
In all there are 27 races during the Cheltenham Festival from Tuesday through to Friday with one championship feature race each day supported by a number of other top class races throughout each afternoon.
The Championship races are the Champion Hurdle over two miles on Tuesday, the Queen Mother Champion Chase over two miles on Wednesday, the World Hurdle over three miles on Thursday and of course the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday afternoon.
The Gold Cup is the highlight of the entire week and is the blue riband event of the Cheltenham Festival as it features the very best chasers in the country and a win here will see their name written in history.
One of the big battles during the Cheltenham festival is the UK v Ireland clash as both nations look to out-do the other with the number of winners, in fact this itself can prove to be a big betting market as punters look to cash in.
The entire meeting is a huge betting event and really can make-or-break a season for punters and bookmakers alike, the main races are the subject of the big bucks but others renewals like the RSA Chase and the Supreme Novices' Hurdle also popular with Cheltenham punters.
There are races at the Cheltenham Festival for each class from the Novice Hurdles to the 4 mile chasers in the National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup, while there is even the Champion Bumper for those young horses who will be going over the hurdles as a novice the following season.