Each year, horseracing enthusiasts from around the world come together to celebrate one of sport’s most exciting events: the Cheltenham Festival. This year the Festival will take place between 14th and 17th March, and is expected to attract its usual 200,000+ fans as well as some of the most prolific racers in history.
As we enjoy festivals of all kinds here at Girly Blogger, we thought we’d give our readers the ultimate guide to Cheltenham Festival 2017 including the events, what to wear, how to place the best bets and where the must-get seats are. Yes, that does indeed include the amazing private boxes!
Tuesday 14th March – Cheltenham Champions Day
Each year the Cheltenham Festival opens with Champions Day, which always features one of the most exciting races of the season: the Stan James Champion Hurdle. This race was first run in 1927, making it one of the most important races in British history. The prize for winning the Stan James Champion Hurdle is a whopping £400,000 so you can be sure some of the world’s best hurdlers will be in attendance.
Wednesday 15th March – Ladies Day
During the second day of the Festival, high fashion and racing come together to create perhaps the most distinctive day of the season. In fact, many believe that Ladies Day is more about what happens in the stands and enclosures than what happens on the course as many members of the royal family attend each year. As for the races, the Queen Mother Champion Chase is arguably the most important as it has offered drama and thrills for both the audience and the racers since it was first established in 1959.
Thursday 16th March – St Patrick’s Day
If you thought Ladies Day was the social highlight of the Festival, you were mistaken. St Patrick’s Day is the real social extravaganza as racegoers from around the world come together to celebrate. There are two main races taking place on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival, the first of which is the Ryanair Chase, a race that has propelled past racers to the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The second race – the Ladbrokes World Hurdle – will take place right after the Ryanair Chase, and features some of the world’s best hurdlers.
Friday 17th March – Cheltenham Gold Cup Day
While each day of the festival is exciting in its own way, they all build up to the amazing finale that is the Cheltenham Gold Cup Day. This final day is all about the Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase, a race that is only second to the iconic Grand National. Winners of this Grade 1 National Hunt race event are guaranteed a place in the British racing Hall of Fame as they must leap over 22 fences over 3 miles and 2.5 furlongs. We should also celebrate the final event of the entire Festival, the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Steeple Chase, which also happens to be the oldest event. The race was first established in 1834 though it was discontinued during the 1860s and didn’t return until 1913.
Alongside the races, the atmosphere and the socialising, many Cheltenham Festival fans enjoy researching the participants and placing their own bets. There are many sites that can help you pick the best horses, keep you up to date and even walk you through picking odds that suit you. For example you can look through Oddschecker, an online betting tips platform that has devoted an entire section to Cheltenham Festival 2017. This site is packed full of all the information you could possibly need including tips and previews on all the upcoming races, so you can let yourself be guided by the pros and concentrate on having fun.
According to the official Jockey Club website there is no dress code for the Cheltenham Festival as we can never know what the weather will be like. That said, it will definitely be cold so our first tip is to wear plenty of layers made of heavy materials. Wool, tweed and brocade are just some of the staple cosy couture fabrics you will want to embrace, plus they are sure to look stylish when paired with a cashmere scarf and leather gloves.
Of course, if you have decided to attend Ladies Day on March 15 you will absolutely need to purchase a hat! You don’t need to go overboard, you can simply opt for a classy Percher for example, but if you do want to go big make sure you share a picture of your hat in the comments below because we want to see it.
Finally, although you may want to wear your favourite high heels to such a classy event we do recommend you stick with comfortable footwear as there is a good chance you will be standing quite a lot throughout the Festival. Thick-heeled boots are very popular amongst racegoers and are sure to keep your feet comfortable as well as warm.
Enclosures, Stands & Private Boxes
Cheltenham Racecourse has several enclosures, stands and private boxes that are available for racegoers. Here is our definitive guide to Cheltenham’s best viewing locations.
The Best Mate Enclosure
From the Best Mate Enclosure you’ll have a great view of every race across from the finish line whilst also having instant access to a beer tent, a live band and plenty of food.
The Tattersalls Enclosure offers easy access to the Centaur, the paddock and unsaddling enclosure, the Hall of Fame and the Gold Cup Restaurant as well as viewing steps, bars and buffets.
The Club Enclosure is the most exclusive enclosure of all, complete with the best viewing, bars and access to the Tattersalls Enclosure and the Tented Village.
The Guinness Grandstand
The Guinness Grandstand sits opposite the final fence and hurdle and includes the world-renowned Guinness Village.
Private Box Packages
Cheltenham Racecourse is home to a number of private boxes where you and your party can experience Cheltenham Festival from a whole new perspective. Prices start from £125 per person, though there is a Hi-Lux Chalet with balconies that offer fantastic views of the entire arena.
There you have it: every single piece of information you need to fully enjoy this year’s Cheltenham Festival! Now all you have to do is get your tickets, which are currently available from a variety of trusted sellers as well as the official Jockey Club site.