Cheltenham Showcase Saturday

cheltenham showcase saturday

If you’ve read about Day One, Showcase Friday, then you’ll know that it’s a day filled with exciting races, culminating in a hat-trick of offerings that seem to be specifically designed to give you some useful information about the rest of the jump racing season. Things carry on in munch the same way on the Saturday as the second set of races get underway, with punters given the opportunity to enjoy the weekend as well as the horses.

Racegoers will be treated to another day of excellent races, whilst also having the ability to do some shopping and see the stalls that are setup especially for the event. It’s an interesting time of year, with Christmas still too far away for the organisers to go whole hog on the decorations, receiving that mainly for the International, but close enough to mean that the weather can give you a wintery feel if you turn up on the wrong day.

Showcase Saturday Race Card

Just as the weather can’t be relied upon, so too might the race schedule change depending on a number of factors. We’ll give you the races and timings as they were in 2018, but if you want more up-to-date information then it’ll be worth your while getting a race card when you’re onsite or checking out what the bookmakers or TV schedulers are saying about the order of races.

For now, here’s our brief look at each of the races in turn:

Race 1 - Handicap Chase - 2.00pm

2 00pm

Day One got underway with a chase and Day Two followed suit, with the one on offer today being of the handicap variety. Open for horses aged four and over, this race lasts for three miles and one furlong (3m, 1f) and has twenty fences to be jumped before the race to the finish.

Expect a reasonably large field, with sixteen horses lining up for the event in 2018, for example. It also tends to boast one of the largest pots of the two days.

2018 Winners

  • Horse - Relentless Dreamer
  • Jockey - Adam Wedge
  • Trainer - Rebecca Curtis
  • Overall Prize Pot - £60,000
  • Winner Prize Money - £37,140

Race 2 - Masterson Holdings Hurdle - 2.35pm

2 35pm

Having just watched a long chase, race two on Day Two sees an often small field line up for a hurdle race. It’s exclusively for four-year-olds and takes place over two miles and eighty-seven yards (2m, 87y).

During that distance the horses are required to jump eight hurdles and when the going is Good the race usually lasts for around four minutes.

2018 Winners,

  • Horse - Pearl Of The West
  • Jockey - Sean Bowen
  • Trainer - John McConnell
  • Overall Prize Pot - £40,000
  • Winner Prize Money - £24,852

Race 3 - Handicap Chase - 3.10pm

3 10pm

Race Three on Day One is a handicap hurdle, so the handicap aspect of things is maintained on Day Two but it becomes a chase instead. It lasts for one mile, seven furlongs and one hundred and ninety-nine yards (1m, 7f, 199y) and features thirteen fences.

It’s for horses aged four and over and, as with race two, it tends to welcome a slightly smaller field than some other races over the two days.

2018 Winners

  • Horse - Modus
  • Jockey - Barry Geraghty
  • Trainer - Paul Nicholls
  • Overall Prize Pot - £60,000
  • Winner Prize Money - £37,198

Race 4 - Handicap Hurdle (Series Qualifier) - 3:45pm

3 45pm

Just because race three isn’t a handicap hurdle on Day Two doesn’t mean that there isn’t one, it’s just that it moved to race four.

For horses aged four and over, this Handicap Hurdle usually welcomes one of the largest fields of the the day. In 2018, for example, twenty horses took place in the event that sees twelve hurdles spaced around the two miles, seven furlongs and two hundred and eight yards (2m, 7f, 208y) of the race.

2018 Winners

  • Horse - The Mighty Don
  • Jockey - Leighton Aspell
  • Trainer - Nick Gifford
  • Overall Prize Pot - £25,000
  • Winner Prize Money - £15,475

Race 5 - Novices' Hurdle - 4.20pm

4 20This race is open to novice horses aged four and above. It lasts for two miles, seven furlongs and two hundred and eight yards (2m, 7f, 208y), usually seeing a relatively small field enter.

There are twelve hurdles that these horses will need to use any limited experience that they have gained over the years to negotiate in order to stand a chance of winning.

2018 Winners

  • Horse - Dinons
  • Jockey - Richard Johnson
  • Trainer - Gordon Elliott
  • Overall Prize Pot - £15,000
  • Winner Prize Money - £9,285

Race 6 - Novices' Chase - 4.55pm

4 55pm

The penultimate race of the two days is another one for novices, taking place over two miles, three furlongs and one hundred and sixty-six yards (2m, 3f, 166y). It’s for horses aged four-years-old and above and just five horses were entered into the race in 2018.

There are sixteen fences to be jumped, so plenty of chances for horses to stumble or seize upon openings given to them by others. It’s an exciting chase and if the going is Good to Soft then you can expect it to last five minutes or so.

2018 Winners

  • Horse - Cubomania
  • Jockey - Richard Johnson
  • Trainer - Gordon Elliott
  • Overall Prize Pot - £25,000
  • Winner Prize Money - £18,856

Race 7 - Standard Open NH Flat Race - 5.30pm

5 30pm

The two day meet is brought to a close with a standard National Hunt flat race. That means no hurdles, of course, often leading to a slightly larger field. It’s open to horses aged between four and six years old and lasts for two miles and eighty-seven yards (2m, 87y).

If the going is Good to Soft then expect it to be finished within four minutes of the horses getting off, meaning it can be something of a thrilling encounter.

2018 Winners

  • Horse - Strong Glance
  • Jockey - Alain Cawley
  • Trainer - Fergal O'Brien
  • Overall Prize Pot - £15,000
  • Winner Prize Money - £9,285

What To Expect On Showcase Saturday

princess royal stand from the front at cheltenham racecourse

The feel of the Saturday is a mixed one, with the majority of people turning up considering themselves to be serious race enthusiasts who want to continue to learn about what to expect from the season ahead of them. Yet there are also plenty of people rocking up to Prestbury Park who might have long dreamed of heading to the venue for the Festival but been concerned that they might not be able to get tickets or that concerned that they’d be intimidated. For that reason, Day Two of the Showcase sees a pleasant combination of people who take their racing seriously and others who are hoping to educate themselves about what big race meetings entail.

The same collection of craft and food producers that turned up in The Centaur on Day One for the SoGlos Showcase Zone are still there, along with a large number of other locally-based independent companies that are keen to teach you about their wares and hope to educate you about the produce you can expect to find in Gloucestershire. It’s a day that is as much about what’s taking place off the racecourse as on it, so don’t be surprised to see a few people dress up and plan to have a few drinks and a bite to eat in between races.

bookmakers on the tattestalls at chetlenham racecourse

Much like on Day One, who knows what the weather will be up to? It’s an annoying time of year when it’s not guaranteed to do one thing or another; not that we can ever guarantee anything when it comes to the English weather, of course! Weather forecasters are your best bet in terms of thinking about what to wear and how to prepare for the day ahead. That said, it’s obviously more likely to be wet than sunny, so bear that in mind. Unlike during the Festival, this isn’t really a meeting where you’re likely to see celebrities popping up around the show. You’ll almost certainly spot some trainers and owners if you know who you’re looking for, though we can’t promise that they’ll be all that delighted if you pop over ask for some tips!

Final Thoughts

Day One is all about giving you a chance to learn about the future, whilst Day Two is a little bit more of a ‘typical’ race day. There are still a couple of novice races, of course, so don’t feel as though there’s nothing you’ll be able to learn about what’s to come over the rest of the jump racing season.