The Cheltenham Festival is a four-day festival of horse racing and related events. It takes place annually in March at the Cheltenham Racecourse, near the town of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, England. The event features several races, including the Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, and many other competitions over four days, from Thursday to Sunday.
Cheltenham Festival is one of the most critical events in the British horse racing calendar and is attended by many people worldwide.
Cheltenham Festival 2022
The countdown for The Cheltenham Festival 2022 has already begun. The event is only 90 days away. The event is scheduled for March 15, 2022, on Tuesday afternoon. The fans around the globe are all waiting for this massive event. This special event will bring fans from all around the world to watch exciting races. More than 150,000 people are expected to attend the racecourse next year. The day will be full of activities and fun for everyone.
History of The Cheltenham Festival
Cheltenham Festival was first established in 1902 as a three-day event, but it has expanded to four days. The Gold Cup was introduced in 1924 and has been run every year except during World War II. The Champion Hurdle was first added in 1957, and the RSA Chase was first to run in 2002. In recent years, Willie Mullins has become the most successful trainer at Cheltenham Festival, while Ruby Walsh has been the most successful jockey. Horses such as Arkle, Best Mate, Kauto Star, and Sprinter Sacre have also succeeded at Cheltenham.
1902- Cheltenham began as a two-day meeting with the Old Steeple Chase being the feature race. It was then a three-day meeting from 1923.
1924- The Cheltenham Gold Cup began as the second race on Thursday, and it has been run every year since, apart from during World War Two and for a period in the 1960s and 80s (1971-84) due to safety fears.
1957 – The Champion Hurdle was first introduced, and Willie Forrest won the inaugural running of this exciting event.
2002 – The RSA Chase was first to be run at another racecourse, Doncaster, before moving permanently to Cheltenham Festival in 2004.
2022 – Due to the upgrade of the parade ring, it will not be ready for this year’s meeting, which means that all four days of racing will take place under one roof for the first time in Cheltenham’s history.
Over the years, many races have become traditions at the Cheltenham Festival. The Champion Hurdle was first introduced in 1957 and held annually since 1962 except for 2001, when it was canceled because of a foot-and-mouth crisis. It is one of the seven National Hunt races that make up Jump racing’s Triple Crown and the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup (formerly known as the Hennessy Gold Cup) the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which took place on Friday. In addition, there are several other traditional races run during each festival meeting, including four Grade 1 events that take place over two days:
The Triumph Hurdle is traditionally run on Thursday, the Arkle Challenge Trophy on an opening day, and the Stayers Hurdle is normally scheduled for Day Three. However, the Champion Bumper run at the end of Wednesday’s card has become a major race in its own right since moving to Cheltenham from Newbury in 2006.
Cheltenham Festival has four major Grade 1 races that attract the best horses and jockeys from Great Britain and Ireland. These races, along with other major handicaps, are worth millions of pounds to bookmakers over the week. The total prize money for each festival meeting amounts to £4 million or more than €5 million (2011). The highlight racing event is dedicated to four-day racing, which will occur in 2022.
The Cheltenham Festival in March 2022 will be the last event in its current format, organizers have revealed following a meeting of The Jockey Club’s Racecourse Committee (RCC).
“The committee confirmed that it has adopted a new strategic vision for racecourses. The core objective is to develop Cheltenham into the world’s premier four-day festival of racing.” 2019 will be the final time the festival takes place over five days, with horses running on each day instead of just Thursday through to Sunday. From 2020, this will change to being run over four days, beginning on Tuesday and concluding with the Gold Cup Day on Friday. This means there will no longer be National Hunt racing on the same day as the Gold Cup.
“The committee also confirmed a financial plan which will enable a new Festival Centre to be built on-site, comprising four separate venues – The Centaur and three other central venues – by 2022.” This will allow racing fans & visitors to enjoy more amenities such as bars and restaurants.
“We believe that this is an exciting time for Cheltenham Racecourse and we look forward to delivering this new vision for our sport, with support from all of those whom it affects most – the racegoers, BHA license holders, and tenants, who can rest assured their interests are paramount during this process.”- Edward Gillespie, Cheltenham’s managing director.
1) Cheltenham Gold Cup
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the most prestigious chase at the Cheltenham Festival held annually in March. The first race was run in 1924 and was won by Captain Martin Becher riding Golden Miller. Horses who win this race usually end up winning other important races later during the year, including King George VI Chase (for many years), Queen Mother Champion Chase (from 1959 to 2006), and Paddy Power Gold Cup (to date). Since 2005 only one horse has achieved this feat, Kauto Star in 2007/08/09/10.
2) Champion Hurdle
The Champion Hurdle is one of the most prestigious races at the Cheltenham Festival and has been run since 1927. For much of its history, it was paired for many years with The Triumph Hurdle, which was first run two days earlier in 1926 and until 1979 (with one exception – 1942). Winners and horses whohave performed well here often compete equally successfully in other events such as the World Hurdle later the same month at nearby Aintree Racecourse or indeed win both championships before retiring.
The Champion Hurdle is open to horses aged four years and older. The distance of two miles (3,219 meters) was introduced in 1927 and was increased to its present length of 2m 1f (6,837 meters) in 1959.
3) Queen Mother Champion Chase
This prestigious chase is named after The Queen Mother Helen, mother of Elizabeth II, held at Cheltenham Festival since 1959. Since 2005 it has taken place on the second day of racing during the festival week (Wednesday). It is one of the most valuable races in National Hunt racing, with a total prize fund of £400,000 in 2018.
Since its inception, it has had various sponsors, including Imperial Chemical Industries (1962–1977), Waterford Glass (1978), and Ever Ready batteries (1979–2004). From 2005 to 2007, it was run under the sponsorship name of “Warrior” before Betfair sponsored the race from 2008 to 2011. Since 2012, Qatar Racing has sponsored it and ran under the title “Qatar Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.”
4) RSA Chase
RSA Chase is a Grade 1 National Hunt chase in Great Britain that is open to horses aged four years or older. It is run on the New Course at Cheltenham over a distance of about 3 miles (4,828 meters), and during its running, there are twenty-two fences to be jumped. The race is scheduled to take place each year on the Festival’s third day in March.
Before 2005, it was known as the Bula Hurdle, before being renamed for sponsorship purposes as the Royal &SunAlliance Chase. It was contested over 2 miles and 110 yards but has taken place over an extended 3 miles since then. Since 2015 running, Sky Bet has sponsored it, with a £100,000 prize fund for each meeting. The RSA Chase has been shortened over its history due to the development of the Cheltenham Festival and opened to horses aged five years in 2001. It was cut from 4 miles (6,435 m) to 3 miles 5 furlongs in 2002.
The race often features horses that ran in the Queen Mother Champion Chase or the Arkle Challenge Trophy at the previous festival.
Nicky Henderson and Willie Mullins are the most leading trainers at the Cheltenham events.
Nicky Henderson is a professional horse trainer specializing in National Hunt racing. To date, his most successful horse has been Kauto Star, winner of King George VI Chase five times. Henderson’s other notable horses include Edredon Bleu, Long Run, My Way de Solzen, and Sprinter Sacre.
Henderson was a British jump racing Champion Trainer in 2009/10 and 2011/12. He was crowned champion trainer after his second consecutive training championship victory in 2013/14 after an unprecedented three Cheltenham Festival wins.
Nicky Henderson is also training racehorses outside the UK at his Jackdaws Castle facility near Keswick in Cumbria. The stable currently has around 30 horses stabled there, mainly thoroughbreds.
Henderson was born in Milford, near Godalming in Surrey, to a middle-class family. His father worked as an engineer for the Inland Waterways and Docks Board during World War II before joining the Civil Service until his retirement. Both Nicky’s brother David and sister Mary also went into horse training with success, notably Mary, married to Sir Mark Prescott.
Nicky started working at stables on weekends while still at school after leaving Godolphin House Preparatory School in Salisbury aged 15, spending some time at Compton Bassett before moving up to Oaksey, which was then owned by George Boyd-Rochfort (the grandfather of Sir Harry Findlay), where he worked as an assistant to Boyd-Rochfort’s trainer John Edwards, who was once the retained jockey of Queen Elizabeth II. While there, he also rode out for Lord Weinstock and Sir Victor Sassoon.
Henderson then turned professional in 1974 with Harry Wragg at Abington Place stables; Kingsclere was such as Bob Champion and Desert Orchid trained. Within a year, he moved to work for David Elsworth at Fifield Manor stable in Newmarket before moving to Peter Walwyn’s stable yard in 1977, initially working as a second stable jockey before becoming a stable jockey a year later on the retirement of Walter Earl. At this time, Henderson became close friends with Lester Piggott, who spent much of his time at Walwyn’s yard, with Henderson also riding work for Piggott. After Walwyn died in 1988, Simon Sherwood became Henderson’s employer, with the association continuing when Sherwood died in 2001, and his wife Carol took over ownership of the stable.
Nicky found fame in 1984 when he was responsible for discovering the Gold Cup winner Good Fellow, sired by Halling out of a mare who had frozen to death in foal. Henderson later said, “I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight, but he certainly made an impression on me.”
Henderson has said that Evan Williams is one of his most important mentors, having worked with him since 1977, describing him as “patient while adding that this attribute is rare.” Henderson has also said that Piggott was one of the most important influences on his career.
Henderson has had success at all levels but has won more major races than any other current trainer, with over 1000 wins, including 22 different Group 1 winners since 2000. His first winner under National Hunt rules was Whippersnapper in a novice hurdle at Towcester Racecourse in September 1981.
His first big race win came with Celtic Shot in an amateur riders’ handicap chase at Leicester Racecourse in February 1982 before winning the Conformance Handicap Hurdle with Beacon Hill later that year. He gained his biggest victory to date when Master Oats won the 1986 Chelham Gold Cup and became his most consistent jumper, winning eight races, including the Ascot Hurdle and finishing second in King George VI Chase.
Henderson’s first major win came when Bregawn won the 1987 Scottish Grand National, and he then gained a first Cheltenham Festival victory with Royal Athlete in the 1991 Queen Mother Champion Chase. He went on to win further big races at Cheltenham with Kicking King (King George VI Chase) in 2003 & 2004, Hedgehunter (2005 & 2007 Irish Cesarewitch), and Captain Cee Bee (2008 Triumph Hurdle). Henderson has also won The Tingle Creek Trophy three times, bringing Fondmort back from injury to land the trophy for the second time in 2000 while following up with Joe’s Edge in 2002 and Go Native in 2010. Other big winners include Baracouda (Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe), Rite of Passage (Ebor Handicap) and Maarek (Grand National).
Henderson has enjoyed huge success at the Cheltenham Festival; his first winner was Greenflight in the 1984 Triumph Hurdle before Pilkington Brook won the 1985 Supreme Novices Hurdle for him. After winning two more races with Celtic Shot (1986 Queen Mother Champion Chase) & Ten Plus (1987 Sun Alliance Novices Handicap Chase), he went on to win three more races at The Festival between 2001-2003; Captain Cee Bee, Kicking King &Fondmort, with Captain Cee Bee going on to win the Grade 2 Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse in April 2003.
Kicking King is Henderson’s most successful horse; he won eight races for Henderson, including five at Grade 1 level. In addition to his two Cheltenham Festival victories, he also won the Irish Cesarewitch in 2004 and 2005 before retiring to stud, where he sired Big Zeb.
In 2011 Henderson saddled Long Run to win King George VI Chase and Cheltenham Gold Cup, a feat bettered a year later by Bobs Worth, who won The Arkle Challenge Trophy and RSA Chase in 2013. With Captain Cee Bee already a dual winner of The Tingle Creek Trophy, Henderson was just three years to train the fourth winner when The New One won in 2013.
Henderson notched up his 1,000th career victory when Monbeg Dude was successful in a bumper at Exeter Racecourse in July 2011 and reached the milestone of 100 winners in a season when Captain Conan won at Chepstow Racecourse in September 2012. The latter went on to win two more races that season, including the Grade 1 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree before being retired to stud.
He made history during 2014 by training four winners over jumps on The Festival Trials Day, which included Rule The World, who became only the fourth horse ever to complete back-to-back victories in the Arkle Challenge Trophy. He also became the first trainer ever to complete consecutive wins in the RSA Chase with Bobs Worth, followed home by Coneygree.
Henderson is based at Upper Lambourn with a string of 40 horses headed by stable stars Long Run, Bobs Worth, and Simonsig. Other big-race winners for Henderson include Celestial Halo (2011 Sun Chariot Stakes), Birchdale (2012 Future Champions Novices’ Hurdle), Al Ferof (2013 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle & 2014 Shloer Chase), and Simenon (2014 Kim Muir). He is also responsible for the training of top novice hurdler Whisper and leading Flat Glen Johnson & David Pipe.
Willie Mullins is a professional National Hunt racing trainer based near Clonmel in Ireland. He has been training since 1982 and is now Ireland’s leading trainer, having won major big races such as the Cheltenham Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, and Grand National.
In 2011 Willie Mullins joined forces with champion National Hunt jockey Ruby Walsh, a former stable jockey for his father, Paddy Mullins. The pair have a great rapport and hit the ground running, going on to win seven Grade 1 races between them during their first season at the helm – including victories for Hurricane Fly (Cheltenham Champion Hurdle), Punjabi (Betfred Bowl), Quevega (RSA Chase) & Sizing Europe (Stayers Hurdle).
In 2012 they enjoyed even more success, landing a second Champion Hurdle with Hurricane Fly and the Gold Cup with Sir Des Champs. Willie Mullins also sent out Vautour to land a Grade 1 treble – winning the Future Champions Novices’ Chase, Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle, and Aintree Hurdle – as well as scoring in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham onboard Thousand Stars. This was followed by Sizing Europe’s win in the 2014 Stayers’ Hurdle at The Festival.
Coneygree is one of Willie Mullins’s most exciting horses who won the 2014 Hennessy Gold Cup, becoming just the third horse ever to complete back-to-back victories in the race after Kauto Star and Denman. The now retired, dual Grade 1 winner also landed the 2014 Betfred Bowl. He has also had success with top hurdler Hurricane Fly who won back-to-back Champion Hurdles in 2012 & 2013.
Mullins trains over 40 horses at his County Tipperary base, including Grand National winners Flemenstar (2013) & Rule The World (2014). Willie Mullins also trained Boston Bob, who was runner up to Silviniaco Conti in the 2011 King George VI Chase before being victorious in the Paddy Power Gold Cup that same season.
He is based at Moone Ponds near Clonmel, Co Tipperary. Willie has trained over 300 winners in Ireland alone, and his success has spread to the UK, France, Italy, New Zealand & Australia.
Coneygree is a 5-year-old bay gelding bred in Gloucestershire by Valmont Bloodstock. He was sold as a foal for 10,000gns at Tattersalls December Sales 2011 to trainer Mark Bradstock and Coney Island (now named Orange Bay). Bradstock’s father Philip raced him as a 2yo, winning once from 3 starts before selling him on to local trainer Julie Camacho where he won twice more but without distinction.
After failing to sell initially, Mark Bradstock took him back into training with himself riding the horse as he thought he had an unusual amount of speed for a chaser.
On his first appearance, last season Coneygree won the Grade 3 Bridgwater Chase over two and a half miles at Taunton by 40 lengths (under top weight) and then was sent off 11/10 favorite for the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle but was beaten out of sight by stablemate Whisper.
Coneygree received weight from all bar one of his rivals in the 2014 RSA Chase despite many thinking that his lack of size would make it hard to see off such experienced opponents as Silviniaco Conti, Maths Prize (fourth behind Cue Card & Dynasty), Somersby, PtitZig, Double Ross, Oscar Whisky, Gas Line Boy, Boston Bob & Dynasty.
Coneygree set off at 11/4 favorite, and it was soon apparent that he had far too much speed for his rivals as he pulled clear before the home turn to win by eight lengths from PtitZig (5 lengths back Silviniaco Conti in third).
His performance of winning despite carrying top weight while giving away 22lbs to some of his rivals was compared by many to Best Mate’s famous victory over Kauto Star in the Queen Mother Champion Chase of 2005. He also gave away 16lbs more than any other horse in the field.
Owner Mark Bradstock said, “He is not a big horse, but my brother always told me you can’t polish a pebble. But, he is very good, the best I’ve ever had and I am hoping he will be even better next year.”
Coneygree made his seasonal reappearance in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on November 25. He was sent off 11/8 favorite for his second attempt at the event, finishing 7th last year. Coneygree was disappointed making a bad mistake when in touch before staying on with fast ground helping him to run on strongly in the straight but was never quite quick enough to catch Long Run. The latter won by three lengths from Silviniaco Conti with Cue Card back in third another 6 ½ lengths further back.
Mullins has had a successful career that spans more than 20 years. He has won 11 Cheltenham Gold Cups, 8 Champion Hurdles, 2 Queen Mother Champion Chases, and was champion jumps trainer in Great Britain & Ireland on ten occasions.
Mullins’ first Grade 1 winner at the Cheltenham Festival came in 1995 with Cool Ground, who won the Game Spirit Chase that year. His first Cheltenham Festival success as a trainer came courtesy of Imperial Call when he landed the 1993 Sun Alliance Novices’ Hurdle. However, it wasn’t until 2010 that Mullins added another victory to his tally as he claimed the Ryanair Novice Chase with Menorah, who his father, Paddy Mullins Snr, had previously trained.
In 2012, Silviniaco Conti added his name to the roll of honor in the Paddy Power Gold Cup Handicap Chase, with Captain Chris being successful in 2013.
In 2014 he hit the jackpot when Annie Power landed a thrilling victory in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle and was crowned Champion Chaser for that year for good measure.
Mullins has trained over 70 Cheltenham Festival winners and is renowned as one of the best trainers of top-class two-mile steeplechasers around. His horses tend to be tough, dependable, and brave and will always give their all on the racecourse.
6) Leading Jockey’s
Ruby Walsh is a professional jockey based in Ireland. He has had many high-profile winners over the years, including the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Don Cossack (2013) and Denman (2008), Arkle Challenge Trophy on Sizing Europe (2007), Queen Mother Champion Chase on Master Minded (2009), Grand National Steeplechase on Silver Birch (2004) &Hedgehunter (2005).
He is also a three times winner of King George VI Chase at Kempton Park with Best Mate, Silviniaco Conti & Long Run. Walsh won his first Irish Grand National in 2002 riding Drombeag for trainer Liam Dowling to whom he was apprenticed. Walsh’s big race victories include two Cheltenham Festival wins on War of Attrition in the 2007 & 2008 County Hurdle and one each on Rock On Ruby (2015 World Hurdle) &O’Faolains Boy (2016 Ultima Business Solutions Champion Hurdle).
He has won the Grand National on four occasions, Hedgehunter (2005), Ballabriggs (2011), winner of the Topham Steeple Chase with Pineau De Re(2013), and most recent winner of 2015 Ryanair Chase with Don Cossack.
Walsh is known for his exceptional consistency over the Grand National fences, providing some good value to punters who can back him at pretty big prices year after year. He holds an excellent strike rate when riding at the Cheltenham Festival with a winner and two-second places from his six rides. His best placing was in the 2007 Queen Mother Champion Chase when he finished runner up on Sizing Europe, who went on to win that season’s Tingle Creek Trophy at Sandown Park.
Walsh has over 1,000 winners to his name, including four Cheltenham Gold Cups & four King George VI Chases. His top-jockey award total is an impressive seven Irish jump jockeys titles winning five Grand Nationals, a further three King George VI Chases, and a County Hurdle completing his tally for major races won.
Ruby Walsh is one of only two riders who successfully defended their title at Aintree’s Grand National Steeplechase. In 2012 he returned to success aboard the top weight of 11 stone 10 lb, a weight which appeared too much for many of his rivals.
Walsh is now widely regarded as one of the best jump jockeys around today and is held in high esteem by trainers who appreciate the time & effort he puts into every ride. He has won at all four British racecourses (Aintree, Cheltenham, Ayr& Sandown Park) and was voted BBC Wales Sports Personality Of the Year in 2012.
Racheal Blackmore is an Irish professional jockey. She had her first racecourse winner on Stoney Chant at Wexford on May 24, 2015. Blackmore has a huge presence on the racecourse and uses her height above most other jockeys giving her an edge over some of the smaller riders. In 2016, she became the first woman to win a Grade 1 National Hunt Flat Race in Ireland. She won with A Good Skin at Gowran Park Races on March 11, 2016, riding for trainer Joseph O’Brien, son of ten-time Irish champion trainer Aidan O’Brien.
In 2017 she was announced as one of the select jockeys to ride regularly for Godolphin Racing, a racing operation based in Dubai and England. Her big race victories include Young Henrys Stayers Hurdle aboard Lion Na Bearnai at Punchestown Racecourse in 2017.
She was awarded the Irish Horse Racing Jockeys Association’s ‘Rising Star Award’ in 2014 and had her first ride at Cheltenham Festival on March 6, 2015, where she finished second on The Job Is Right. Blackmore is currently one of only five female jockeys to be licensed by the Irish National Hunt Steeplechase Committee (INHSC) but has not ridden at any of Ireland’s premier racecourses Galway or Punchestown during 2016.
The Cheltenham Racecourse is a National Hunt racing course located near the town of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, England. It has been host to the Cheltenham Festival since 1902 and is one of the most important racecourses in Britain. The course features two long uphill finishes and is very tough on horses.
Cheltenham Festival Tickets
Cheltenham Festival 2022 tickets are highly sought after and can be quite expensive. In 2020, tickets started at £25 for general admission on Thursday and went up to £165 for a VIP hospitality package on Gold Cup day. However, with the outbreak of Covid-19, many people have been unable to attend the festival this year, and ticket prices have dropped significantly as a result.
Covid 19 and the Event
Cheltenham Festival Tickets for 2022 are still available. Prices have dropped significantly due to Covid being released into the general population in 2021, but they are expected to go back up once people start rescheduling their travel plans. The cheapest tickets can be purchased by entering this promo code “C19HURT”. If you’re looking for a better deal on your ticket, check out our luxury packages listed below! Ticket options include VIP Hospitality.
Thank you for reading. I hope this article was helpful regarding the 2022 Cheltenham Festival that will take place in March.