As we head into 2023, the Cheltenham Festival is fast approaching, and the festive racing has already indicated which runners to look out for come March.
With just 11 weeks to go until the four-day race event, many punters have already placed their bets in the hope of securing favourable odds whilst they can.
Nicky Henderson’s Jet Powered is the most high-profile odds reversal since the festive racing began. Before the Introductory Hurdle at Newbury on 31 December Jet Powered was the second favourite for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, but flopped spectacularly as 66-1 outsider Jupiter Du Gite rode to victory, causing major upheaval to the ante-post market.
As a result, the winner, Jupiter Du Gite has been quoted at 16/1 for the Supreme Novices Hurdle in March. Other hot favourites include Constitution Hill in the Champion Hurdle and Galopin Des Champs in the Gold Cup on the final day.
However, there are still races to come where ante-post value might be found before the festival, so keep an eye on the racing calendar.
And it seems the appetite for racing is greater than ever after Cheltenham Racecourse recorded its largest-ever New Year’s Day attendance with 35,722 visitors brushing off their festive hangovers.
Impressive though that is, attendances for the four-day Cheltenham Festival are far greater, generating upwards of 68,500 per day. For 200 years, the Cheltenham Festival has been one of the biggest horse racing events in the world, and second only to the Grand National in terms of prize money.
What to expect at Cheltenham 2023
For the 2023 iteration, there will be 28 races with race distances ranging from 1m7f to 3m7f, plus a variety of hurdles to jump in between.
The action on Day One revolves around the Champion Hurdle, arguably the world’s foremost hurdles event. The in-form Jupiter Du Gite will go toe-to-toe with favourite Constitution Hill and Honeysuckle, who won this race in 2021 and is still unbeaten.
As for Day Two, the focus is very much on the Queen Mother Champion Chase, a two-mile 13-fence race – the leading minimum-distance chase in the National Hunt calendar.
In 2022 the race was won by Energumene and he is the favourite to do so again this year at 8/11, ahead of Edwardstone (6/4) and Blue Lord (6/1).
Day Three has not one but two featured races, the first is the Festival Trophy over a distance of about 2 miles and 4½ furlongs. Last year Allaho made it back-to-back wins in the Festival Trophy, can he make it a hat-trick in 2023? He’s the favourite at 5/4 ahead of Blue Lord 5/1 and Nicky Henderson’s Shishkin at 6/1.
The Gold Cup
The Festival’s crowning glory is undoubtedly on Day Four, the final day when the Gold Cup takes centre stage. The steeplechase is the most prestigious of all National Hunt events and it is sometimes referred to as the Blue Riband of jump-racing. Its roll of honour features the names of such chasers as Arkle, Best Mate, Golden Miller, Kauto Star, Denman and Mill House.
Last year the Gold Cup was won by A Plus Tard. The winning jockey, Rachael Blackmore, made history as the first female jockey to win the event.
However, at the time of writing, A Plus Tard is only the third favourite to claim the Gold Cup in 2023 at 9/1 behind L’Homme Presse at 7/1 and Galopin Des Champs at 6/4.
Cheltenham Festival ICON Hospitality
Tuesday 14 – Friday 17 March
No matter which day you choose, you are guaranteed to see some of the best racehorses, jockeys and trainers in the world compete toe-to-toe at arguably the most prestigious racecourse.
Whether it’s your first time or you’re a seasoned veteran of the racing calendar, there is no place quite like Cheltenham on that first week of Spring, as the helicopters fly in and the Guinness and Champagne are served ahead of four days of adrenaline-fuelled horse-racing action.