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Cheltenham Festival 2021

Tuesday 16th March – Friday 19th March

The Cheltenham Festival is here! The four greatest days in jump racing are well and truly on. This is a celebration of the best jumping horses and jockeys in the world – and the chance for you to bet on them in action.

Check out our ultimate Cheltenham Festival preview, with Cheltenham Festival free bets and Cheltenham Festival top tips below.

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Martin Booth
By Martin Booth  
Updated: 16 March 2021 1:00 pm

About Cheltenham Festival

For jump racing fans, the Cheltenham Festival is quite simply the highlight of the year.

These four days are the pinnacle of the sport, with the best horses in the world competing for major prizes and the chance to grab a slice of immortality.

The Cheltenham Festival dates are written into people’s calendars and minds months in advance. Each of the four days of the meeting is packed with great action and highlighted by famous races.

On Tuesday it’s the Champion Hurdle, a two-mile shoot-out between the fastest horses over the smaller obstacles.

The chasers take centre stage on the Wednesday with the Champion Chase, a thrilling clash of the finest two-milers in the world.

Thursday’s highlight is the Stayers’ Hurdle, a fascinating three-mile test of jumping, speed and stamina.

Out of all the Cheltenham races, however, the climax arrives on Friday with the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the ultimate test to identify the finest staying chaser.

Some of the greatest horses in the sport’s history have won the Gold Cup. Each year another chapter is written, and another name added to the roll of honour, in the story of this prestigious event.

Most popular horse racing sites in 2021

£10 Free Bet
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£30 Free Bet
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Bryony Frost at Cheltenham Festival

Horseracing.co.uk ambassador Bryony Frost is gearing up to ride the magnificent Frodon in the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday 19th March alongside a number of other rides at the festival - listed below;

Bryony on frodon
At Cheltenham the starts are more furious, more intense and everything is heightened. You have got to be right and you have got to be on the ball because there’s no relaxed stage when you’re riding at the festival. I still try to enjoy it though because you have to take it in and appreciate the fact that you’re there. It's the biggest stage that you can ride on. It’s our Olympics.
Quote
Ambassador page

Cheltenham Festival Dates and Races

Tues 16th March
Wed 17th March
Thur 18th March
Fri 19th March
1.20pm The Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle
2m abt ½ f Hurdle
1.55pm The Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase
Chase abt 2m
2.30pm The Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase
Chase 3m abt 1f
3.05pm The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (feature race)
Hurdle 2m abt ½ f
3.40pm The Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle Race
Hurdle 2m abt 4f
4.15pm The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Race (Grade 3)
2m abt 4 ½ f
4.50pm The National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup (Amateur Riders' Novices' Steeple Chase) (Grade 2)
Chase 3m abt 6f
1.20pm The Ballymore Novices' Hurdle Race
Hurdle 2m abt 5f
1.55pm The Brown Advisory Novices' Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
Chase 3m abt ½f
2.30pm The Coral Cup Hurdle (Handicap Hurdle Race) (Grade 3)
Hurdle 2m abt 5f
3.05pm The Betway Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase (Grade 1) (feature race)
Chase Abt 2m
3.40pm The Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase
Chase 3m 6f
4.15pm The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Steeple Chase Challenge Cup (Grade 3)
Chase 2m abt ½f
4.50pm The Weatherbys Champion Bumper (a Standard Open NH Flat Race) (Grade 1)
Bumper 2m abt ½f
1.20pm The Marsh Novices' Chase (Grade 1)
Chase 2m abt 4f
1.55pm The Pertemps Network Final (a Handicap Hurdle Race) (Listed)
Hurdle Abt 3m
2.30pm The Ryanair Steeple Chase (Grade 1) (feature race)
Chase 2m abt 5f
3.05pm The Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle (Grade 1)
Hurdle Abt 3m
3.40pm The Paddy Power Plate (a Handicap Steeple Chase) (Grade 3)
Chase 2m abt 5f
4.15pm The Mares Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2)
Hurdle 2m 1f
4.50pm The Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Steeple Chase (0-145)
Chase 3m abt 2f
1.20pm The JCB Triumph Hurdle
Hurdle 2m abt 1f
1.55pm The County Handicap Hurdle Race
Hurdle 2m abt 1f
2.30pm The Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle
Hurdle abt 3m
3.05pm The WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase (Grade 1) (feature race)
Chase 3m abt 2 ½f
3.40pm The St James's Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Steeple Chase
Chase 3m abt 2 ½f
4.15pm The Mrs Paddy Power Mares' Steeple Chase
Chase 2m abt ½f
4.50pm Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle
Hurdle 2m abt 4 ½ f

Best Cheltenham Festival Offers

The Cheltenham Festival countdown is a fabulous time to be a horse racing bettor.

Bookmakers eager to attract customers offer a host of tempting bonuses in exchange for new business across the four days of Cheltenham Festival coverage.

When you are looking to start betting on Cheltenham races, it is highly advisable to check out the offers, free bets and bonuses available that can seriously boost your punting power.

Some sportsbooks are quick off the mark in offering Cheltenham-specific bonuses. At Betfair, you can get up to £100 in free bets for the festival. Just place 5 x £10 bets to get a free bet. Repeat 5 times to get £100 in free bets.

GET UP TO £100 IN FREE BETS
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New customer offer. Place 5 x £10 or more bets to receive £20 in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum £100 bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange bets excluded. T&Cs apply.

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Other operators are offering an enhanced bonus in return for your initial investment. Ladbrokes and Coral will both give you £20 in free bets when you sign up and place an initial £5 bet. Betway will also give you up to £10 in free bets.

£20 Free Bet
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18+ New UK+IRE customers. PayPal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.

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£20 Free Bet
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18+ Eligible UK&IRE players. Paypal & some deposit & bet types excl. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. No cashout, restrictions and T&Cs apply

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Similarly, Betfred and 888sport will reward you with £30 in free bets when you place a first bet of £10.

£30 Free Bet
T&Cs Apply

18+ New UK & NI customers only. promo code ‘SPORTS60’. Deposit & place first sports bet of £10 in one bet transaction, at odds of Evens (2.0) . settled within 60 days. First bet must be on Sports. £30 in Free Bets credited within 48 hours of bet settlement, 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS validation may be required. Max 60 Free Spins on Justice League Comics. 7-day expiry.Full T&Cs apply.

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£30 Free Bet
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New customers only – Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30F - A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Deposit balance is available for withdrawal at any time. General deposit method & withdrawal restrictions apply & full T&C’s apply

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Bet £10 on racing with BetVictor and you’ll receive £40 in bonuses in your new account.

£40 Free Bet
T&Cs Apply

18+ New Customers only. Deposit, opt in and place a £10 qualifying bet on Horse Racing at odds of 2.00 or greater within 7 days of opening a new account; excludes cashed out bets. Receive 3x £10 Horse Racing Free Bets, valid on set events only at odds 2.00 or greater. Plus, a £10 Game Show Bonus, selected games, wager 40x to withdraw a max of £250. Bonuses expire in 7 days. T&Cs Apply, see below. Please Gamble Responsibly.

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At William Hill, there’s £30 in free bets on offer in return for a first bet of £10 – that rises to £40 if you sign up via mobile.

£30 Free Bet
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Bet365 will enhance your account considerably in time for the festival. Sign up as a new customer and whatever amount you deposit up to £100 will be matched in free bets.

£100 Free Bet
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Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.

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Risk-free first bets are also a popular option. Paddy Power will refund an initial wager of up to £20, while at Unibet you get a bonus of up to £40.

£20 Free Bet
T&Cs Apply

Risk Free 20: New customers only, limited to one per person. If you've previously had a Paddy Power account, you will not qualify for the offer. Place your FIRST bet on any Sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using Cards or PayPal will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. paddy's Rewards Club: get a £10 free bet when you place 5x bets of £10+. T&Cs apply.

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Uniboost
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18+ www.begambleaware.org, eligible accounts receive three Uniboost tokens daily (00:00-23:59), No token 'roll over' expire at midnight, applies to win bets and win part of EW bets only, only available on racing single bets, Non-runner or voided bet returns Uniboost token, not valid on Futures or Specials. Further T&Cs Apply.

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Get offer

Many of the above are ongoing sign-up offers that are particularly timely in the countdown to Cheltenham; there will be many more race-specific promotions in the days before the festival.

Please check the terms and conditions of all bonuses to make sure you are aware of any restrictions.

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Cheltenham Festival Do’s and Don’ts

When it comes to betting on the finest horse racing at the Cheltenham Festival, there are some simple do’s and don'ts that will help you enjoy the experience.

  • Do

    DO your homework. Spend some time researching the form book and checking out runners’ previous races, as well as the form of trainers and jockeys. Our Cheltenham Festival top tips page will help!

  • Do

    DO place extra value on horses’ previous form at Cheltenham and, in particular, at previous festivals. This is a unique course and occasion – not every horse performs at its best here.

  • Do

    DO take note of the trends applying to winners of particular races.

  • Do

    DO vary your stakes. You don’t have to bet the same amount on each race. It’s also wise to bet each-way on horses at double-figure odds in big-field handicaps.

  • Do

    DO take advantage of free bet offers and bonuses. The first day of Cheltenham is a terrific day to open new accounts, while existing customers can also find plenty of offers. Use our Cheltenham free bets page to see what’s available.

  • Do

    DO look for, and take advantage of, special money-back offers on losers in certain races. You’re getting a risk-free bet.

  • Don’t

    DON’T listen to too many people. There is a huge amount of opinions out there – take too much onboard and you’ll end up confused.

  • Don’t

    DON’T bet on every race. If you can’t pick a selection with any confidence, or you believe the favourite will win but the price is too short, it’s OK to sit this one out.

  • Don’t

    DON’T chase your losses. If you’ve had a few losers, it’s tempting to put more money on your next selection. Stick with your original staking plan.

  • Don’t

    DON’T make it all about the betting. Of course, enjoying a bet is a huge part of the Cheltenham experience, but the festival is, first and foremost, a spectacle of incredible racing. Enjoy the action, savour it – then start looking forward to next year.

Responsible Gambling at Cheltenham

The Cheltenham Festival is so exciting, the atmosphere around it so intoxicating, that it’s tempting to get carried away and bet more than you can afford.

It’s essential to remember at all times that betting should be an enjoyable leisure experience. So work out what you can happily spend across the four days - that way, any return you get is a pleasant bonus.

Please don’t bet beyond your means. It’s important that you bet responsibly, for the sake of your own health and that of those close to you.

If you are ever worried about your levels of gambling, contact organisations such as GamCare that can help you.

Cheltenham Festival Facts

Cheltenham Festival FAQs

Is Cheltenham Festival cancelled?

No. The 2021 Cheltenham Festival is going ahead on March 16th to March 19th 2021. Cheltenham Festival took place in 2020, in the early stages of the Covid-19 crisis, before all racing was suspended. The last time the Festival was cancelled was in 2001, as a result of the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

When does Cheltenham Festival start?

The tapes go up on the first race of the Festival, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, at 1.20pm on the afternoon of Tuesday March 16th 2021. This is usually accompanied by a huge roar from the watching crowd - sadly, as the festival is taking place with no crowds this year, we’ll have to wait for next year to hear that roar again.

How do I watch the Cheltenham Festival online for free?

There are live streams of all races provided by the TV channels who have the rights to Cheltenham Festival coverage. If the bookmaker you use offers live streaming, you will be able to watch the action live provided you have a bet on the event, or a positive account balance.

How many races are there at the Cheltenham festival?

There are now seven races on each of the four days of the Festival, with the first starting at 1.20pm and the seventh at 4.50pm. The number of races has gradually grown since the Festival switched from three days to four in 2005.