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Cheltenham Racecourse

Published on: 03/09/2016

Cheltenham Racecourse is located at Prestbury Park in Gloucestershire, England. The course is one of the United Kingdom’s most important National Hunt facilities. It has three left-handed tracks, the Old Course, The New Course and the Cross Country Steeplechase Course. Every year in March the four-day Cheltenham festival takes place as well as another 16 race days of jump racing throughout the racing calendar. Highlights include the Grade One races such as the Champion Hurdle, The Arkle Challenge Trophy, the Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup, all of which attract huge crowds.

In 1815, the very first flat race meeting was arranged on Nottingham Hill in Cheltenham. Three years later the first Gold Cup race took place on Cleeve Hill. However, the local parish priest was of the opinion that horseracing was ungodly and encouraged his congregation to protest at the race in 1830. Following this disruption, the grandstand at the course was burnt down which led to the racecourse being relocated to Prestbury Park a year later. Steeplechase meetings were previously held an Andoversford but were switched to Prestbury Park in 1834.

The four-mile National Hunt Chase moved from Warwick to Cheltenham in 1911. The Cheltenham three-mile Gold Cup was added to the schedule in 1924, and was reinvigorated as a jumps event on the Old Course track. Between 1932 and 1936, a horse known as Golden Miller achieved five consecutive Gold Cup wins and also triumphed in the Grand National at Aintree.

In 1927, the Champion Hurdle race was established as part of the Cheltenham Festival. Taking place every year in March, the meet was increased to three days and this encouraged other prestigious events to participate. For example, the Triumph Hurdle, previously based at Hurst Park in Surrey, joined the Cheltenham Festival in 1955. Soon after (1959), the National Hunt Two-Mile Champion Chase was started and would be later renamed the Queen Mother Champion Chase in honour of the Queen Mothers 80th birthday.

In 1960, to accommodate an increasing number of visitors, Cheltenham Racecourse was expanded with the construction of the Tattersalls Grandstand. Over the years, the racecourse evolved into an acclaimed venue. The main grandstand was finished by the end of the 1970s and further improvements were made including the construction of new stables, the creation of the Cross Country Course and the further regeneration of the Tattersalls Grandstand with its new tiers and top-class restaurant.

Since the turn of the century, Cheltenham Racecourse has continued to grow. Millions of pounds have been spent on upgrades including the Best Mate Enclosure and the new conference and events facility called the “Centaur”, which is one of the biggest auditoria in the South West of England. The Cheltenham Festival was increased to four days in 2005. Cheltenham Racecourse attracts over 750,000 visitors annually and generates more than £50 million in revenue for the local economy. The Festival’s prize fund is now worth more than £3.5 million, making it one of the most prestigious and valuable jump racing meetings in the world.

Cheltenham Racecourse hosts many other popular fixtures throughout the racing season. The Two-Day Showcase in October welcomes the start of the jumps season, The Open is held for three days in November. The Two-Day International takes place in December, while the New Year’s Day Meeting is always a popular way for punters to kick off the year. January also sees the Festival Trials. Then in April, it’s the Two-Day Meet and the Hunter Chase Evening.

Published on: 03/09/2016 © Bet Bind