Cheltenham 2022 Schedule

The Cheltenham races feature four of the biggest events on the annual National Hunt calendar. Besides them, there are Grade I races and other events that may not get the same attention, but are just as significant. Some of the ‘smaller’ races feature famous horses, jockeys, and trainers too, and are widely popular in the Cheltenham races betting community.

Every day features one headliner as well as six smaller races. The race card with times is revealed months before the event just like the tickets for the festival. This year’s Cheltenham Festival 2022 dates are March 15-18, with a total of 28 races to be run.

13:30Supreme Novices' Hurdle
Hurdle
14:10Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase
Chase
14:50Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase
Chase
15:30Unibet Champion Hurdle
Hurdle
16:10Mares' Hurdle Race
Hurdle
16:50Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
Chase
17:30National Hunt Challenge Cup (Class 1) (Grade 2)
Chase
13:30Novices Hurdle Race (Grade 1)
Hurdle
14:10Novices' Steeple Chase (Grade1 )
Chase
14:50Cup Hurdle (A Handicap Hurdle Race) (Grade 3)
Hurdle
15:30Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
Chase
16:10Cross Country Steeple Chase
Chase
16:50Grand Annual Handicap Steeple Chase Challenge Cup (Grade 3)
Chase
17:30Champion Bumper (A Standard Open NH Flat Race) (Grade 1)
Bumper
13:30Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
Chase
14:10Network Final (A Handicap Hurdle Race) (Listed)
Hurdle
14:50Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
Chase
15:30Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
Hurdle
16:10The Cheltenham Plate (A Handicap Steeple Chase) (Grade 3)
Chase
16:50The Mares Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2)
Hurdle
17:30Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup
Chase
13:30The JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1)
Hurdle
14:10County Handicap Hurdle Race (Grade 3)
Hurdle
14:50Novices’ Hurdle Race (Grade 1)
Hurdle
15:30Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
Chase
16:10Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Steeple Chase
Chase
16:50Mares' Steeple Chase (Grade 2)
Chase
17:30Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (0-145)
Hurdle
Festival Day 1
13:30Supreme Novices' Hurdle
Hurdle
14:10Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase
Chase
14:50Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase
Chase
15:30Unibet Champion Hurdle
Hurdle
16:10Mares' Hurdle Race
Hurdle
16:50Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
Chase
17:30National Hunt Challenge Cup (Class 1) (Grade 2)
Chase
Festival Day 2
13:30Novices Hurdle Race (Grade 1)
Hurdle
14:10Novices' Steeple Chase (Grade1 )
Chase
14:50Cup Hurdle (A Handicap Hurdle Race) (Grade 3)
Hurdle
15:30Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
Chase
16:10Cross Country Steeple Chase
Chase
16:50Grand Annual Handicap Steeple Chase Challenge Cup (Grade 3)
Chase
17:30Champion Bumper (A Standard Open NH Flat Race) (Grade 1)
Bumper
Festival Day 3
13:30Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
Chase
14:10Network Final (A Handicap Hurdle Race) (Listed)
Hurdle
14:50Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
Chase
15:30Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
Hurdle
16:10The Cheltenham Plate (A Handicap Steeple Chase) (Grade 3)
Chase
16:50The Mares Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2)
Hurdle
17:30Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup
Chase
Festival Day 4
13:30The JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1)
Hurdle
14:10County Handicap Hurdle Race (Grade 3)
Hurdle
14:50Novices’ Hurdle Race (Grade 1)
Hurdle
15:30Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
Chase
16:10Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Steeple Chase
Chase
16:50Mares' Steeple Chase (Grade 2)
Chase
17:30Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (0-145)
Hurdle
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Tuesday, March 15, 15:30
UNIBET Champion Hurdle

Called the Unibet Champions Hurdle for sponsorship reasons, this race takes place on the first day of the festival. It is a Grade I National Hunt hurdle open to horses aged 4 and over. The Champions Hurdle is raced at the Old Course and has a distance of 2 miles, ½ furlong or 3,298 metres. Horses battle for the prestigious trophy on an exciting racecourse with a total of 8 hurdles, making it a challenging race right from the start.

The Champions Hurdle is the last leg of the Triple Crown of Hurdling that also includes the Fighting Fifth Hurdle and the Christmas Hurdle. You’ll find numerous Cheltenham betting offers focused on this race in particular with great odds on the runners in tow. Inaugurated in 1927, the prize money for the first Champions Hurdle was only £365. It jumped to a purse of £337,500 in 2021, with £189,911 for the winning horse and jockey.

Ruby Walsh is one of the most successful jockeys at the Unibet Champions Hurdle with 4 wins, just like Barry Geraghty and Tim Molony. Five horses have managed to win it 3 times in a row. The last one to do such a feat was Istabraq in 1998, 1999, and 2000. Nicky Henderson is the leading trainer with 8 wins, while the leading owner is J. P. McManus.

Wednesday, March 17, 15:30
Queen Mother Champion Chase

The Queen Mother Champion Chase has a close connection to the Queen Mother as the name suggests. Originally added to the Cheltenham race card in 1959 under a different name, it took today’s title in 1980 on the 80th birthday of the Queen Mother. It is named after her in recognition of her support to jump racing. The Queen is a successful owner of several Champion Chase runners, including Game Spirit who was a runner up in 1976. This event is always held on the second day of the festival and is the premier minimum distance race on the National Hunt calendar.

The leading horse in this part Cheltenham Festival event is Badsworth Boy with 3 wins in a row (1983, 1984, 1985). Pat Taaffe and Barry Geraghty are the leading jockeys, while Tom Dreaper, Paul Nichols, and Nicky Henderson are the most successful trainers with 6 wins.

George Ansley is the leading owner together with Doug Armitage and John Hales with 3 wins each.

In terms of prize money, the Queen Mother Champions Chase had a pool of £300,000 in 2021. Winning horse Put The Kettle On and jockey Aidan Coleman won £168,810 for the first spot.

Thursday, March 17, 15:30
Gold Cup

The Gold Cup is arguably one of the biggest horse races in the world. It’s the climax of the Cheltenham races and the most valuable event on the race card. It is held on the closing day and run over a distance of 3 miles, 2 furlongs, and 7 yards. There are 22 fences to be jumped on this course which has been graced by the presence of legendary winners such as Golden Miller and Arkle.

A steeplechase open to horses aged 5 and over, the Gold Cup is the most prestigious National Hunt race on the calendar. Also known as the Blue Riband of jump racing, it draws the biggest crowd and has the largest prize sack. In 2021, the pool was £468,750, with £263,766 going to winning jockey Jack Kennedy and his horse Minella Indo.

The race has been won a record 5 times by Golden Miller in the mid-1930s, a feat that has never been repeated. Pat Taaffe is the most successful jockey with 4 wins, 3 of them coming with Arkle. Tom Dreaper is the sole trainer with 5 wins, while the most successful owner is Dorothy Paget with 7 winning horses.

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