Thursday 7 March 2019

Cheltenham Festival: A Guide to Ladies Day


Whether you’re a first-timer or seasoned-regular, day two of the Cheltenham Festival is always one of the most popular – it’s Ladies Day. Never mind high-style, it’s all about high-class racing with seven races on show, including the prestigious Queen Mother Champion Chase. But expect to see a lot of tweed – and here we will take you through what to expect from day two.

The races

The Wednesday at the Cheltenham Festival kicks off with back-to-back grade 1 races for novices, beginning with the Novices’ Hurdle. Run on the old course, over two miles and five furlongs, the Irish-bred aptly-named Champ is the front runner with the bookies and has a decent record over hurdles.

Next up is the Novices’ Chase, which often sees many of the big-names battling for superiority, or previous winners at other races of the festival trying to add to their accolades. Delta Work is the favourite this year and is unbeaten this season in the chase. However, the winner generally goes on to be a big name in the world of racing.

The Coral Cup is the first of two handicap races on Ladies Day and is raced on the old course over two miles and five furlongs. Interestingly, no horse has ever won this race on multiple occasions. But Willie Mullins will be hoping to make it back-to-back wins as his hopes rest on Uradel, after winning with Bleu Berry in 2018.

The eagerly-awaited Queen Mother Champion Chase is set to be hotly contested again this year. The grade 1 steeple chase is run over nearly two miles and is the stand-out race on day two. 2018 saw Altior triumph by seven lengths, over Min – and the two horses are the favourites with the bookies again this year. Last year’s third-place horse, Gods Own can only muster odds of 33/1. But last year’s Arkle winner, Footpad could pose an outside threat – visit Betfair Champion Chase 2019 betting to make your selection.

The Cross Country Chase is one of the longest races at the Cheltenham Festival, run over three miles and six furlongs and consisting of 32 obstacles to be overcome. It is indeed a unique race and one that a lot of people enjoy watching, due to the nature of the course. Tiger Roll was victorious last year and is the favourite to win again this time around, a feat last achieved by Garde Champetre in 2008-09.

The penultimate race on Ladies Day is the second handicap race, the Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, which as the name suggests, is run by juvenile horses, aged four years. Band of Outlaws leads the way amongst the bookies at the minute, and he has a reasonable record in hurdles races. The race is fairly new, being introduced in 2005 and four years later, became a grade 3 race. The event is named in memory of Fred Winter, who was victorious 45 times at Cheltenham (17 as a jockey and 28 as a trainer).

If you’re wanting to see a rising star of the jump racing scene, then the Champion Bumper is the race for you. It’s perfect for young horses who have yet to make a racecourse and great for trainers to showcase their talent. Willie Mullins is the leading trainer, with nine victories in the Bumper and is hoping to triumph again with Blue Sari – however, understandably, it’s hard to pick out a winner.

The prize money

Day two sees a grand total of £1,020,000 won, which is marginally less than Champion Day. However, almost half of that is won from the Queen Mother Champion Chase alone (£400,000). You can find the full figures, here.

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