The Cheltenham Festival is going to be 163-years-old in 2022, but it was only a 3-day festival for nearly one-and-a-half centuries. An extra day was added to Cheltenham’s equine celebrations only in 2005. Next, we are going to briefly go over the four days as they stand now, so that you may know what to expect and when.
Cheltenham Festival Day 1: Champions Day
As you will notice soon, each of the four race cards is named with significance. Some are named after the major National Hunt race(s) which are conducted on that day, while others have more traditional reasons. The opening day of the Cheltenham Festival is called Champions Day and it is named so because the Champion Hurdle is the day’s main race.
In 2022, Champions Day will start proceedings for the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday, March 15th. You can check the scheduled races and their timings below:
- 1st Race at 1:30 pm: The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade I)
- 2nd Race at 2:10 pm: The Arkle Chase (Grade I)
- 3rd Race at 2:50 pm: The Festival Trophy Chase (Grade III)
- 4th Race at 3:30 pm: The Champion Hurdle (Main Event of Day 1)
- 5th race at 4:10 pm: The David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle (Grade I)
- 6th race at 4:50 pm: The National Hunt Challenge (Grade II)
- 7th Race: The Centenary Novices’ Chase at 5:30 pm (listed race at Sandown Park)
Cheltenham Festival Day 2: Ladies Day
The day of the prestigious Queen Mother Champion Chase is called Ladies Day for obvious reasons. It should be noted that most multiday British horse racing events usually dedicate the second day to Her Majesty and the ladies in general.
The second day (Wednesday, March 16th) will see the Queen hit her 70th year on the throne, so Ladies Day at the Cheltenham could be huge in 2022. Check out the day’s schedule as follows:
- 1st Race at 1:30 pm: The Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle Race (Grade I)
- 2nd Race at 2:10 pm: The Broadway Novices’ Steeplechase (Grade I)
- 3rd Race at 2:50 pm: The Coral Cup (Grade III Hurdle)
- 4th Race at 3:30 pm: Queen Mother Champion Chase (Main Event of Day 2)
- 5th Race at 4:10 pm: The Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase (Ungraded handicap race)
- 6th Race at 4:50 pm: The Juvenile Hurdle (Grade III)
- 7th Race at 5:30 pm: The Champion Bumper (Grade I flat race)
Cheltenham Festival Day 3: St. Patrick’s Thursday
It’s not a coincidence that St. Patrick’s Day is also the 3rd day of the Cheltenham Festival. It is a deliberate tradition that has made Cheltenham Festival Day 3 the most popular day among Irish fans and punters. The schedule for St. Patrick’s Thursday in 2022 is as follows:
- 1st Race at 1:30 pm: The Golden Miller Novices’ Chase (Grade I).
- 2nd Race at 2:10 pm: The Pertemps Final (Grade III hurdle)
- 3rd Race at 2:50 pm: The Ryanair Chase (1st Main Event of Day 3)
- 4th Race at 3:30 pm: The Stayers’ Hurdle at (2nd Main Event of Day 3)
- 5th Race at 4:10 pm: The Stable Plate (Grade III steeplechase)
- 6th Race at 4:50 pm: The Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade II)
- 7th Race at 5:30 pm: The Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge (ungraded)
Day 4: Gold Cup Day
The biggest race of the event is held on the 4th and final day of the Cheltenham Festival, and you can probably guess why the Gold Cup Day is named so! This is the day on which the National Hunt Race of the Event is held, aka the Cheltenham Gold Cup. on Friday, 18th March 2022, expect the schedule to be as follows:
- 1st Race at 1:30 pm: The Triumph Hurdle (Grade I)
- 2nd Race at 2:10 pm: The County Hurdle (Grade III)
- 3rd Race at 2:50 pm: The Spa Novices’ Hurdle (Grade I)
- 4th Race at 3:30 pm: The Cheltenham Gold Cup (Main Event of Day 4)
- 5th Race at 4:10 pm: The St. James’s Place Festival Hunter’ Chase (Ungraded)
- 6th Race at 4:50 pm: The Grand Annual Chase (Grade III)
- 7th Race at 5:30 pm: The Conditional Jockeys’ Hurdle (Ungraded)
That’s it, now you know what each of the days are named, and why they are named so. Next, consider doing a bit of research on the probable winners and what their odds are for each race.