As we bring in the New Year, one of the most exciting horse racing festivals is fast approaching. The Cheltenham Festival takes place over four days in March, is hugely popular around the world, and is one of the United Kingdom’s largest single betting occasions.

The biggest of the 28 races that run each year is the Cheltenham Cup which takes place on the final day of the festival.  The winners take home a purse of £625,000 also making it one of the richest races in the UK.

This short guide will take you through what you have to look forward to, what horses are the early favourites, and a little bit of history of the world’s most prestigious jumping event. Read on to learn everything you need to know about this fantastic race day.

Who are the Runners to Look Out For?

Al Boum Photo made history in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last time out by becoming the first horse to win two consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cup races since Best Mate did the same over 15 years ago in 2004. He will be running once again and is already the favourite with many leading online sports books at around 5/1.

Best Mate actually went one better by winning three straight victories, something the trainer, owner, and horse himself will want to emulate in 2021.

Currently following the favourite at many online sports books is Minella Indo at 8/1, Santini at 43/5, Champ at 12/1, and Cyrname at 16/1. Of course, the beauty of big races like this is that there is always the chance of an upset. While Al Boum Photo has a great chance at securing a third win on the trot, there could be better money available among the chasing pack.

If you are unsure which horse to back in the upcoming Cheltenham Cup, many former jockey’s have been providing their own tips.

Cheltenham Gold Cup History

A Grade 1 National Hunt horse race, the Cheltenham Gold Cup is the centrepiece of the Cheltenham Festival. The race takes place at Cheltenham Racecourse and is three miles, and two and a half furlongs in length. Featuring 22 fences, there is never a shortage of action.

The first Cheltenham Gold Cup took place in 1924 making it one of the oldest races in the United Kingdom. Among the famous horses to have won includes Golden Miller, Best Mate, Arkle, and Kauto Star. Golden Miller is the most successful horse in the history of this race, winning it five consecutive times between 1932 and 1936.

Roundup of the Fabulous and Prestigious Cheltenham Cup

Attending the Cheltenham Cup is something that is on the bucket list of many horse racing fans around the world. The occasion usually attracts over 50,000 people to the race track and brings in sports bets in the hundreds of millions. 

The atmosphere is one of dressing up, having a good time, and essentially just taking in the wonderful experience. The festival features separate days for the Women, the Irish (it coincides with Saint Patrick’s Day), and the main event the Gold Cup. The town itself is beautiful and there is no shortage of restaurants and accommodation for visiting fans. 

In fact, many in the UK claim that the festival experience is even better than the Grand National which is generally considered the biggest race of the year. If you are yet to experience the race in person, you can still get a taste of the excitement by watching the event on television and by placing your bets online.