What are the feature races at the Cheltenham Festival?

By Swindon Link - 13 March 2024


The Cheltenham Festival stands as the pinnacle of National Hunt racing, a four-day extravaganza where champions are crowned, dreams are realised, and legends are forged on the hallowed turf of Prestbury Park.

At the heart of this prestigious event lie the feature races — the Champion Hurdle, the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the Ryanair Chase, the Stayers’ Hurdle, and the Gold Cup — each offering a unique blend of excitement, drama, and raw equine talent.

That said, let's take a deep dive into the marquee events that define each day of this illustrious festival.

Day One – The Champion Hurdle

Kicking off the festival in grand style, Day One showcases the Champion Hurdle, a Grade 1 race that epitomises the essence of speed and agility over hurdles.

Open to horses aged four years and older, this prestigious contest attracts the finest hurdlers in the sport, vying for glory in a test of speed, stamina, and jumping prowess.

This year’s favourite in the Champion Hurdle 2024 odds is the defending champion Constitution Hill, but Willie Mullins’ State Man should make him work for back-to-back victories.

Day Two – The Queen Mother Champion Chase

Day Two takes centre stage with the Queen Mother Champion Chase, a Grade 1 spectacle that crowns the champion two-mile chaser of the festival.

With past winners including legends such as Sprinter Sacre and Altior, this electrifying contest showcases the breathtaking speed and precision of the equine athletes as they navigate the Cheltenham fences.

Having never won the Champion Hurdle before 2022, Mullins has won two on the trot with Energumene and El Fabiolo is being well-backed to make it three in a row for the Irish handler.

Day Three – The Ryanair Chase and the Stayers’ Hurdle

Day Three — often referred to as St. Patrick’s Thursday — features a thrilling double bill of feature races, beginning with the Ryanair Chase.

Positioned as the premier two-and-a-half-mile chase of the festival, this contest attracts a high-quality field of staying chasers seeking their moment of glory.

Banbridge, who boasts a solid record of four wins in six outings over fences, is the favourite for this year’s renewal, but 2023 victor Envoi Allen is not far behind.

Following the Ryanair Chase is the Stayers' Hurdle, a gruelling test of stamina and resolve over three miles of punishing hurdles.

With past champions including the likes of four-time champion Big Buck's and Thistlecrack, this race separates the true stayers from the pretenders.

Gordon Elliott is looking for successive wins in the race and the Irish trainer holds a strong hand with Irish Point and Teahupoo both at the fore of the market.

Day Four – The Gold Cup

The crescendo of the Festival arrives on Day Four with the Gold Cup, the most prestigious prize in National Hunt racing.

As the ultimate test of speed, stamina, and courage, this Grade 1 showcase pits the finest staying chasers against each other in a battle for supremacy.

With a roll of honour featuring legends of the sport, including Arkle, Best Mate, and more recently Al Boum Photo, the Gold Cup exemplifies the pinnacle of National Hunt racing.

Galopin Des Champs is another horse seeking back-to-back glory at the Cheltenham Festival, and a lot of bettors will be backing him with their Cheltenham welcome offers.


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