Every mid-November the famous Cheltenham Racecourse hosts a three day festival to celebrate the art of jump racing in general and wild steeple chasing in particular. The Open, as the festival is know, has - especially over the last ten years- developed into a weekend no racing fan can afford to miss; and the whole family can come along to be entertained.
The Open now features much more than just horse racing. There is a stallion parade to admire, camel races are staged before the equine athletes take to the track, and dozens of trade stands lend the Open a genuine fun fair atmosphere. In 2009 the Open drew a crowd of over 20,000 spectators - making it one of the best attended jump racing festivals in the United Kingdom.
There are two feature races held during the three days of racing that make up the Cheltenham Open:
The Greatwood Handicap Hurdle is a Grade 3 race open to horses over the age of four. This race is held at the 'old course' at Cheltenham Racecourse, which includes eight challenging hurdles to be negotiated by the runners, and runs over a distance of two miles and 110 yards.
About the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle »
The Paddy Power Gold Cup is the main race taking place during the Open at Cheltenham Racecourse. It is a handicap race open to horses over the age of four and runs over the distance of two miles and 4 ½ furlongs. The race was established in 1960 but has only been sponsored by Paddy Power since 2003. The starters in this race compete for no less than £150,000.
About the Paddy Power Gold Cup »