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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


The trials are already under way. The 2020 Cheltenham Festival,is the highlight of the UK National Hunt racing season. Over £1 million in prize money was on offer for each of the four days in 2019 and the total prize pot is set to exceed £4.5 million in 2020.

The highlight of the week is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, won for the first time last season by trainer Willie Mullins with Al Boum Photo. He has another leading prospect in Aintree winner Kemboy who unseated his rider at the first fence last year. The first big trial of the season took place in November when Lostintranslation won the Betfair Chase at Haydock.

The Cheltenham Festival is billed as a clash between the best horses in Great Britain and Ireland but has also attracted International runners. France has been successful on several occasions, notably with The Fellow in the 1994 Gold Cup and Baracouda in the Stayers’ Hurdle (2002 and 2003).

Challengers from the United States have been few and far between, although four-time American Champion Flatterer finished runner-up in the Champion Hurdle in 1987. It was another four years before Lonesome Glory became the first American-trained winner of a National Hunt race in England when taking one of the trials at odds of 20-1.

The 2020 Cheltenham Festival takes place from March 10th to 13th and will provide a betting bonanza. Betting on the top championship races is available all year round with plenty of enticing offers for both new and existing customers. You can find Cheltenham free bets in the link.

The meeting was expanded from three days to four in 2005 and there are now 28 races of top quality jumping action. The Champion Hurdle is the top prize over the lower obstacles and is the highlight of the opening day. There seems certain to be a new name on the roll of honour this year as recent winners Buveur d’Air (2017, 2018) and Espoir d’Allen (2019) are both side-lined through injury.

The Queen Mother Champion Chase is the feature event on the second day, also known as Ladies day. Reigning champion Altior could attempt to equal the record of Badsworth Boy (1983 – 1985) by recording a third successive triumph. Young pretenders to his crown include Chacun Pour Soi and Defi Du Seuil.

Paisley Park was the toast of the punters on day three last year, crowning a memorable season with victory in the Stayers’ Hurdle. He recorded a sixth successive win on his return to action at Newbury in November and looks likely to start a warm favourite in March.

Cheltenham betting reaches its climax on the closing Friday with the Gold Cup, the blue riband event for staying chasers. The supporting card also features the top juvenile hurdlers in the Triumph Hurdle and the amateur riders competing in the Foxhunter Challenge Cup Chase.

By the end of the festival, bookmakers expect to have taken over £300 million in Cheltenham bets. In 2019, all but three of the 28 races featured in the top 40 betting races of the year in a list compiled by Ladbrokes and Coral. The Cheltenham Gold Cup is second only to the Grand National in betting turnover, finishing ahead of the prestigious Epsom Derby.

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