A sparkling four days of National Hunt racing will take place between March 10 and March 13 as the Cheltenham Festival kicks off and the opening day feature will see the unbeaten Faugheen face his toughest career test when he takes on the classy triumvirate of Hurricane Fly, Jezki and The New One in the Champion Hurdle.
Day two of the meeting will Sprinter Sacre aim to recapture his Queen Mother Champion Chase crown, but the Nicky Henderson-trained star will have to get the better of the reigning champion Sire De Grugy, who heads into the contest in fine form having won at Chepstow last time out.
The Ladbrokes World Hurdle is the feature race on Thursday afternoon and Paul Nicholls will saddle a prominent duo in the shape of Zarkandar and Saphir Du Rheu, but there's a whole host of notable stayers going for glory in what should be a competitive event.
Nicholls will then bid for Cheltenham Gold Cup glory on the final day as he unleashes emphatic King George VI Chase winner Silviniaco Conti, who will face an army of classy rivals including last year's winner Lord Windermere and the likes of fellow Irish runner Road To Riches and Carlingford Lough.
13:30 Supreme Novices' Hurdle
14:05 Arkle Challenge Trophy
14:40 Festival Handicap Chase
15:20 Champion Hurdle
16:40 National Hunt Chase
14:05 RSA Chase
14:40 Coral Cup
17:15 Champion Bumper
13:30 JLT 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.