While the racecourse owners might deny it, the Cheltenham Festival takes pride of place on the list of events that occur at Prestbury Park, with all of the other meetings lining up accordingly. The Showcase Meeting is the first of the jump racing season, kicking off in October and providing racegoers with a chance to see how everyone’s coped with the flat racing break. The November Meeting, previously known as the Cheltenham Open, offers an opportunity for the Countryside Alliance to introduce racegoers to what their organisation has to offer. Though not the first jump meeting that the course hosts, it is still thought of as being the traditional start of the jump racing season.
The International Meeting is set in December and therefore everyone around the place is gearing up for Christmas, as well as having one eye on the following year’s Festival. The new year gets underway with the appropriately named New Year’s Day Meeting, then it’s Festival Trials Day in January where things truly start to heat up. The Cheltenham Festival in March is the racecourse’s jewell in the crown, taking centre stage for all of racing for the week that it’s on. The April Meeting is a little ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’, but it’s a chance for horses that won’t be running at Aintree to get a run out. Then the season comes to a close with the Race Night, also known as Hunters Chase Evening.
Below you can find a list of all meetings, race days and races held at Cheltenham racecourse. Click any day or race to see a dedicated page or summary.
List Of Meetings At Cheltenham
|Meeting||Start Date||Grade 1
|The International Meeting||11th December 2020||1||2||2|
|New Year's Day Meeting||1st January 2021||0||2||1|
|Festival Trials Day||30th January 2021||0||4||1|
|Cheltenham Festival||16th March 2021||14||2||7|
|The April Meeting||14th April 2021||0||1||1|
|Race Night||7th May 2021||0||0||0|
|The Showcase Meeting||22nd October 2021||0||0||0|
|November Meeting||12th November 2021||0||5||3|
New Years’ Day
|12:15||Ballymore Novices' Hurdle||Listed||2m 4f 56y|
|12:50||Handicap Chase||Class 2 Chase||3m 2f 70y|
|13:25||Dipper Novices’ Chase||Grade 2||2m 4f 127y|
|14:00||Handicap Chase||Grade 3||2m 4f 127y|
|14:35||Handicap Hurdle||Class 2 Hurdle||2m 7f 213y|
|15:10||Relkeel Hurdle||Grade 2||2m 4f 56y|
|15:50||Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race||Listed||1m 5f 209y|
The New Year’s Day Meeting is a chance to blow the cobwebs away and try to freshen yourselves up after the big night the night before. Most racegoers will either be nursing a headache or else still on the go from seeing in the New Year, but the horse and their jockeys will be well-rested and keen to impress.
With two Grade 2 offerings and a Grade 3 race for you to get your teeth into, it’s little wonder that so many of the industry’s best turn up at Prestbury Park to see what they can achieve in the year’s first jump race.
Festival Trials Day
|12:40||JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle||Grade 2||2m 179y|
|13:15||Novices' Handicap Chase||Class 2 Chase||2m 4f 127y|
|13:50||Trophy Handicap Chase||Grade 3||2m 4f 127y|
|14:25||Trial Cotswold Chase||Grade 2||3m 1f 56y|
|15:00||Ballymore Classic Novices' Hurdle||Grade 2||2m 4f 56y|
|15:35||Cleeve Hurdle||Grade 2||2m 7f 213y|
|16:10||Steel Plate And Sections Handicap Hurdle||Class 2 Chase||2m 179y|
Let’s be honest, Cheltenham Racecourse is known for the Festival more than anything else. With that in mind, Festival Trials Day is the perfect thing to rock up to if you’re hoping to garner a bit more information about the horses that will be hoping to make a name for themselves when the main event comes around. Typically held on the final Saturday in January, Festival Trials Day is a chance for owners and trainers to give their charges a run out at the venue that will take centre stage for jump racing just two months later.
The likes of the Triumph Hurdle, the Novices’ Handicap Chase and the Stayers’ Hurdle can all have some information about them divined from races run on Festival Trials Day. The crowd will be one filled with racegoers who know what they’re looking for, rather than those just turning up for a bit of a laugh as you might expect at other meetings. You would do well do have a chat to some of them if you’re there in person, given that you could pick up some invaluable info about who to look out for at the Festival.
|13:30||Supreme Novices' Hurdle||Grade 1||2m, 87y|
|14:10||Arkle Challenge Trophy||Grade 1||1m 7f 199y|
|14:50||Festival Trophy Handicap Chase||Grade 3||3m 1f|
|15:30||The Champion Hurdle||Grade 1||2m 87y|
|16:10||Mares' Hurdle||Grade 1||2m 3f 200y|
|16:50||Juvenile Novices' Hurdle||Grade 3||2m 87y|
|17:30||National Hunt Chase||Grade 2||3m 5f 201y|
|13:30||Ballymore Novices' Hurdle||Grade 1||2m 5f|
|14:10||RSA Novices' Chase||Grade 1||3m 80y|
|14:50||Coral Cup||Grade 3||2m 5f|
|15:30||Queen Mother Champion Chase||Grade 1||1m 7f 199y|
|16:10||Cross Country Chase||Class 2 Chase||3m 6f 37y|
|16:50||Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase||Grade 3||2m 62y|
|17:30||Champion Bumper||Grade 1||2m 87y|
|13:30||Golden Miller Novices' Chase||Grade 1||2m 3f 168y|
|14:10||Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle||Grade 3||2m 7f 213y|
|14:50||Ryanair Chase||Grade 1||2m 4f 127y|
|15:30||The Stayers' Hurdle||Grade 1||2m 7f 213y|
|16:10||Stable Plate Handicap Chase||Grade 3||2m 4f 127y|
|16:50||Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle||Grade 2||2m 179y|
|17:30||Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup||Class 2 Chase||3m 2f|
|13:30||JCB Triumph Hurdle||Grade 1||2m 179y|
|14:10||County Handicap Hurdle||Grade 3||2m 179y|
|14:50||Spa Novices' Hurdle||Grade 1||2m 7f 213y|
|15:30||The Cheltenham Gold Cup||Grade 1||3m 2f 70y|
|16:10||Foxhunter Challenge Cup||Class 2 Chase||3m 2f 70y|
|16:50||Mrs Paddy Power Mares' Chase||Grade 2||2m 4f 56y|
|17:30||Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle||Class 2 Hurdle||2m 4f 56y|
The meeting that needs no introduction, the Cheltenham Festival is one of the most thrilling weeks in jump racing. From the moment the first race gets underway and the famed ‘Cheltenham Roar’ is released by the watching crowd through to the running of the Gold Cup, it’s a week that is guaranteed to be filled with ups and down, highs and lows and losses and gains. Four days of racing allows for some of the finest jump races on the National Hunt calendar.
The great and the good from jump racing will find itself at Prestbury Park during the month of March, which is when the Festival is held. There are too many races to tell you about, but every day has a standout one that you’ll want to look out for. From the Champion Hurdle on the first day to the Gold Cup on the last via the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Ryanair Chase, there’s quality race after quality race on offer on the racecourse’s three courses.
The April Meeting
|14:05||Novices' Hurdle||Class 2 Hurdle||2m 4f 56y|
|14:40||Silver Trophy Chase||Grade 2||2m 4f 127y|
|15:15||Kingston Stud Handicap Hurdle||Class 2 Hurdle||2m 4f 56y|
|15:50||Nicholson Holman Chase||Class 3 Chase||3m 1f 56y|
|16:25||Handicap Hurdle||Class 2 Hurdle||2m 7f 213y|
|17:00||Handicap Chase||Class 2 Chase||3m 2f|
|17:30||Handicap Hurdle||Class 3 Hurdle||2m 179y|
|14:05||Mares' Novices' Hurdle||Listed||2m 4f 56y|
|14:40||Mares' Novices' Handicap Chase||Listed||2m 4f 127y|
|15:15||Mares' Handicap Hurdle||Listed||2m 4f 56y|
|15:50||Mares' Handicap Chase||Class 3 Chase||3m 2f|
|16:25||Fillies' Juvenile Handicap Hurdle||Grade 3||2m 179y|
|16:55||Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Mares' Handicap Chase||Class 2 Chase||2m 62y|
|17:30||Mares' Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race||Class 2 Open Flat||2m 179y|
After the Lord Mayor’s show? Perhaps. But that doesn’t mean that the April Meeting doesn’t offer anything worthy of your attention. It’s fair to suggest that the meeting that garners the most attention during the month of April is the Grand National one at Aintree, but Prestbury Park still has a trick or two up its sleeve to entertain the racegoers that are happy to make the trip to Gloucestershire. The penultimate meeting before the flat racing season takes over is a good one.
Spread over two days of racing, you can expect to see horses that are hoping to develop during the summer in order to come back stronger for the next jump racing season. The first day plays host to the Silver Trophy Chase, which is a Grade 2 offering for horses aged five and up. It’s day two when there’s a bit of a twist on the usual, however, thanks to Cheltenham Racecourse’s decision to make it a day for mares and fillies only.
|17:05||Open Hunters' Chase||Class 5 Chase||2m 62y|
|17:40||Championship Final Hunters' Chase||Class 4 Chase||3m 2f|
|18:15||Open Hunters' Chase||Class 4 Chase||3m 1f 56y|
|18:50||Mixed Open Gold Cup Final Hunters' Chase||Class 2 Chase||3m 2f 70y|
|19:20||Mares' Open Hunters' Chase||Class 4 Chase||3m 1f 56y|
|19:50||Open Hunters' Chase||Class 4 Chase||4m 97y|
|20:20||Junior Jumpers Open Hunters' Chase||Class 5 Chase||2m 4f 127y|
Previously known as the Hunters Chase Evening, Race Night is the final chance to watch jump racing at Cheltenham before the flat racing season properly kicks into gear.
The weather should be pleasant, the crowd up for a laugh and the horses, jockeys, trainers and owners all keen to demonstrate their strengths before they rest up for a couple of months. What probably sums up this meeting is that a DJ takes to the stage at the Centaur after the last race to get the party started.
The Showcase Meeting
|13:50||Ballymore Novices Hurdle||Grade 1||2m 5f|
|14:25||Novices' Chase||Class 2 Chase||3m 80y|
|15:00||Handicap Hurdle||Class 3 Hurdle||2m 5f|
|15:35||October Handicap Chase||Class 2 Chase||1m 7f 199y|
|16:10||Maiden Hurdle||Class 3 Hurdle||2m 87y|
|16:45||Novices' Chase||Class 2 Chase||1m 7f 199y|
|17:15||Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle||Class 3 Hurdle||2m 87y|
|14:05||Masterson Holdings Hurdle||Class 2 Hurdle||2m 87y|
|14:40||Novices' Chase||Class 2 Chase||2m 3f 166y|
|15:15||Handicap Hurdle (Series Qualifier)||Class 2 Hurdle||2m 7f 208y|
|15:50||Handicap Chase||Class 2 Chase||3m 1f|
|16:25||Showcase Novices' Hurdle||Class 2 Hurdle||2m 7f 208y|
|17:00||Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase||Class 3 Chase||3m 1f|
|17:35||Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race||Class 2 Open Flat||2m 87y|
This two day meeting is the first one to be run after the jump racing season has got back underway, so it’s a chance for horses, jockeys and trainers to see how they’ve held up over the summer months. It’s a chance to celebrate the return of jump racing for those that aren’t all that interested in its flat equivalent. The first day of the Showcase Meeting presents a number of races for less experienced horses, so a chance for you to learn what they have to offer.
There are another couple of races for novices on the second day of the Meeting, so keep your eyes peeled for the horses that cope best with the pressure of racing at Prestbury Park. It’s a genuine opportunity to learn some information about the field prior to the jump racing season really getting into its swing, so if you know what you’re looking for you’ve got a chance to get ahead of the crown when it comes to what to expect in the months ahead.
|13:15||November Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle||Class 3 Hurdle||2m 5f 26y|
|13:50||Handicap Chase||Class 2 Chase||1m 7f 199y|
|14:25||Racing Welfare Novices' Chase||Class 2 Chase||2m 4f 44y|
|15:00||Cross Country Handicap Chase||Class 2 Chase||3m 6f 37y|
|15:35||Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle||Grade 2||2m 5f 26y|
|16:05||Novices' Handicap Hurdle||Class 3 Hurdle||2m 87y|
|12:30||JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle||Grade 2||2m 87y|
|13:05||Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase||Class 3 Hurdle||3m 1f 67y|
|13:40||November Novices' Chase||Grade 2||1m 7f 199y|
|14:25||Paddy Power Gold Cup||Grade 3||2m 4f 44y|
|14:50||Handicap Hurdle||Listed||2m 7f 208y|
|15:25||Intermediate Handicap Hurdle||Class 3 Hurdle||2m 5f 26y|
|15:55||Mares' Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race||Listed||2m 87y|
|13:15||Novices' Chase||Class 2 Chase||3m 80y|
|13:50||Handicap Chase||Grade 3||3m 3f 71y|
|14:25||Shloer Chase||Grade 2||1m 7f 199y|
|15:00||Greatwood Handicap Hurdle||Grade 3||2m 87y|
|15:35||Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle||Grade 2||2m 87y|
|16:05||Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race||Listed||2m 87y|
Thought of by many as the true start to the jump racing season, it’s perhaps more accurate to describe it as the moment that jump racing truly hits its stride. Formerly known as the Cheltenham Open, the November Meeting is run in coordination with the Countryside Alliance. That gives the Alliance to introduce racegoers to the sort of things that they do, with events run off the course offering the same sort of excitement as those taking place on it.
Run over three days, each of them has its own races that you’ll want to keep an eye out for. The first day has the Hyde Novices’ Hurdle, for example, which is a Grade 2 offering run over 2 miles and 5 furlongs. The Triumph Trial Hurdle is also a Grade 2 race and takes place on the second day, though it’s the Gold Cup that take centre stage. The Greatwood Handicap Hurdle takes the spot of the feature race on the final day of the Meeting.
The International Meeting
|12:10||British Stallion Studs EBF Novices' Hurdle||Class 3 Hurdle||2m 179y|
|12:45||International Decorative Surfaces Novices' Chase||Class 2 Chase||3m 1f 56y|
|13:20||Catesby Handicap Hurdle||Class 3 Hurdle||2m 179y|
|13:55||Mares' Handicap Chase||Class 3 Chase||2m 4f 127y|
|14:30||December Handicap Chase||Grade 3||3m 2f|
|15:05||Cross Country Handicap Chase||Class 2 Chase||3m 6f 37y|
|15:40||Handicap Hurdle||Class 2 Hurdle||2m 7f 213y|
|12:10||JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle||Class 2 Hurdle||2m 179y|
|12:45||Ryman Novices' Chase||Class 2 Chase||2m 4f 127y|
|13:20||Cheltenham Club Handicap Chase||Class 2 Chase||2m 62y|
|13:55||Gold Cup Handicap Chase||Grade 3||2m 4f 127y|
|14:30||Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle||Grade 2||2m 7f 213y|
|15:05||International Hurdle||Grade 2||2m 179y|
|15:40||Mares' Handicap Hurdle||Class 2 Hurdle||2m 4f 56y|
Taking place in December, the International Meeting is a chance for jump racing horse to really get into the swing of things as the two days of racing provides plenty of opportunities for them to be put through their paces. For those in attendance in the crowd it’s as much about getting into the spirit of Christmas as it what’s taking place on the course, with mulled wine, decorations and stalls selling last minute presents being the order of the day.
The standout race on day one of the Meeting is the European Cross Country Challenge, which is seen as something of a warm-up race for the Cross Country event run during the Festival. Day two sees the Christmas excitement ramped up a notch, given that it traditional takes place a week or so before the fat man with the beard carries out his course of breaking and entering. The International Hurdle is the race that you’ll want to keep an eye out for, promising some of the best horses from across the continent.