Bookmakers and punters up and down the country are gearing themselves up for the biggest meeting of the racing calendar – the 2023 Cheltenham Festival. The action gets underway on Tuesday, 14th March and draws to a close four days later, by which time we’ll have witnessed more history being made at the picturesque Prestbury Park.
The Cheltenham Festival is the undoubted pinnacle of National Hunt racing in the UK and many thousands are preparing to make their way to Prestbury Park for the four-day meeting which gets underway later this month.
On each of the four days, punters can focus their minds on seven races and the leading UK bookmakers have been gearing themselves up for the big event with a vast array of price boosts, enhanced places, free bets and bonuses.
Day One – Champion Hurdle
The feature race on Day One of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival is the Champion Hurdle, a contest which takes place over two miles and which is one of the most coveted hurdling prizes in horse racing. The 2023 renewal looks set to be centred on one particular contender, namely the Nicky Henderson star Constitution Hill. He won comfortably in last year’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and his excellent form has continued into the new season with two relatively effortless victories in Grade 1 company.
We feel that the Henderson superstar will take a bit of beating in this one, however his biggest threat comes in the form of State Man, the Willie Mullins contender having beaten 2022 Champion Hurdle victor Honeysuckle in convincing fashion in the Irish Champion Hurdle last month.
Day Two – Queen Mother Champion Chase
As a general rule, the Queen Mother Champion Chase is usually won by one of the racing superstars, recent years seeing the likes of Altior and Sprinter Sacre finish first past the post. 2022 victor Energumene will be aiming to successfully defend his crown in the 2023 renewal of the contest, however he will be facing some stiff competition from leading contender Edwardstone who won the Arkle in impressive fashion twelve months ago.
He will also need to reverse his form with Editeur Du Gite against whom he lost in the Clarence House Chase two months ago. A handful of other big name contenders include Greaneteen, Gentleman De Nee and Blue Lord.
Irrespective of who lines up for this contest, we are all-but-assured of a superb race featuring an abundance of stars.
Day Three – Ryanair Steeplechase
The Ryanair Steeplechase – introduced in 2005 – has become one of the most popular and eagerly-awaited races at the Cheltenham Festival and it is now a serious rival to the Stayers’ Hurdle as the highlight of Day Three, many new betting sites offering a wealth of bonuses on this and the many other key races at the Festival.
The last two renewals of this contest have been won by Allaho and while he has yet to be seen this season, he will be going all-out to complete a hat-trick of successive wins this time around. Handler Willie Mullins has been hugely successful in this race in recent years with wins in all-but-two of the last seven renewals. Should Allaho not be up for the challenge, Mullins stands another good chance of success with Blue Lord, the latter looking impressive prior to a disappointing showing at the Dublin Racing Festival.
Other notable contenders in this contest include Fury Road, Shishkin and Fakin D’Oudairies, however with all-but-one of the last ten winners of the race returning at single-figure odds, we’ll be siding with the runners at the head of the market.
Day Three – Stayers’ Hurdle
The Day Three traditional highlight has long been the Stayers’ Hurdle which takes place over three miles. Here we see the smaller obstacles being used and we envisage the 2023 renewal being one of the Festival’s most open feature contests.
Flooring Porter has triumphed in the east two renewals of this race and the eight-year-old will be looking to complete a hat-trick here, however he will be up against some strong contenders in 2023, most notably Gordon Elliott’s Teahupoowho won comfortably over the same trip two months ago.
Other notable contenders likely to be in the line-up include Blazing Khal, Home By The Lee and Klassical Dream, the latter having started as favourite in the 2022 renewal.
Day Four – The Cheltenham Gold Cup
The Gold Cup is the standout contest for the entire four-day Festival and while the other days undoubtedly boast plenty in the way of thrilling action and notable races, the whole meeting always hinges on this contest.
The 2021 and 2022 renewals of this famous contest have been jam-packed with excitement from beginning to end and the evidence suggests that the 2023 renewal will be no different.
A Plus Tard was a convincing winner by fifteen lengths twelve months ago, stablemate Minella Indo coming in second to give handler Henry De Bromhead an impressive 1-2 in this feature.
Galopin Des Champs heads the betting for this year’s contest, the Willie Mullins contender having looked a certain winner before falling at the last in the 2022 Turners’ Novices’ Chase. He bounced back from that disappointment by triumphing in the Boylesports Gold Cup and is deserved favourite to win the prize here.
That’s certainly not to say that he doesn’t have strong rivals in the field. 2022 winner A Plus Tard disappointed on his annual appearance in the Betfair Chase but he should nevertheless be marked down as a strong contender here. The best British hope here could be Bravemansgame following his win at Kempton in the King George VI Chase.
Best Odds and Free Bet Offers
Once you have picked your horses on each day of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival, it is important that you get the best odds available and take advantage of the numerous bonuses and promotions on offer for the Festival. All of the leading UK and Irish betting sites offer new and existing customers a wide range of free bets, enhanced places and price boosts and these can give you added value on all of the key races at this year’s meeting.