Guide to all the races at the Cheltenham Festival on Friday
JCB Triumph Hurdle
Distance: 2m 1f
A Grade 1 hurdle on the New Course gets things under way at the Cheltenham Festival on Friday. The race is for juvenile hurdlers aged four years and there are eight obstacles to be jumped.
It became part of the Cheltenham Festival in 1968 and winners of this race often become Champion Hurdle runners in the future.
Four horses have won both races, namely Clair Soleil, Persian War, Kribensis and Katchit, while 2014 winner Tiger Roll (pictured below) went on to win two Grand Nationals.
The McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle
Distance: 2m 1f
This was traditionally the last race of the Cheltenham Festival but a change in the schedule for 2009 saw it moved to become race two on Friday.
It is a Grade 3 handicap for horses aged five or more and there are eight hurdles to be cleared on the New Course.
The County Hurdle was established in 1920 and was named after Irish trainer Vincent O’Brien between 1995 and 2016.
Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
The second Grade 1 of the day is the highlight of the season for long-distance novice hurdlers aged four years or more, who have 12 hurdles to jump on the New Course.
Registered as the Spa Novices’ Hurdle, it was one of the events added to the extended Festival schedule in 2005 when it was a Grade 2 before being upgraded in 2008 when Albert Bartlett’s sponsorship began.
Tony McCoy was the winning jockey in 2006 and 2007 and added to his tally in 2013 riding At Fishers Cross.
Minella Indo, ridden by Rachael Blackmore, won the Novices’ Hurdle as a 50/1 outsider in 2019 before going on to win the Gold Cup with Jack Kennedy on board two years later.
Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup
Distance: 3m 2 ½f
The most prestigious National Hunt race in the world is nicknamed the ‘Blue Riband’ of jump racing and is the one they all want to win.
Open to horses aged five years or older, there are 22 fences to be jumped by the cream of the world’s steeplechasers.
It was first run as a jumps race at Cheltenham in 1924 on what is now the Old Course before it was switched to the New Course in 1959.
The list of Gold Cup winners contains some of the greatest names in racing. Golden Miller won the race for five successive years in the 1930s while other famous champions include Arkle, Desert Orchid, Best Mate, Kauto Star and Denman.
"And a new star – it's Denman!" 🤩
— CheltenhamRacecourse (@CheltenhamRaces) March 12, 2021
St James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase
Distance: 3m 2 1/2f
The next race after the Gold Cup is over the same course and distance but is restricted to amateur jockeys, hence it is sometimes referred to as the amateur Gold Cup.
Horses must qualify for the race based on previous performances and six have enjoyed back-to-back victories in this race, the most recent being Pacha du Polder in 2017 and 2018.
Paddy Power Chase
Distance: 2m 4 1/2f
The Grade 2 race was only introduced in 2021 when it replaced the Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase.
It is open to mares aged five years or older and is run over 17 fences on the New Course, with Willie Mullins training the first two winners in Colreevy and Elimay.
Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle
Distance: 2m 4 1/2f
The curtain comes down on the Cheltenham Festival on Friday and for another year with this handicap over nine hurdles on the New Course. It is for conditional jockeys and is open to horses aged four years or more.
It has been run since 2009 and is named after National Hunt trainer Martin Pipe, who was champion trainer 15 times and had 34 winners at the Festival.