Champion Hurdle, Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday
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Guide to all the races at the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday

| 12.03.2023

Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday: The full schedule

The countdown to day one at Prestbury Park is ticking and here we guide you through all the races at the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday.

Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

Distance: 2m 1/2f

The opening race of the Cheltenham Festival is much anticipated and the start is greeted by a huge roar from the spectators as the best four days of the racing calendar get under way.

The Grade 1 contest is for novice hurdlers aged four years or older and they have eight hurdles to jump on the Old Course.

Originally called the Gloucestershire Hurdle, it was dominated by trainer Vincent O’Brien in the 1950s.

More recently, Altior won this race on his Cheltenham debut in 2016 with jockey Nico de Boinville having since also triumphed on Shishkin (2020) and Constitution Hill (2022).

Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase

Distance: 2m

Open to novice chasers aged five years or older, this Grade 1 race is named after Arkle, who was a three-time winner of the Gold Cup in the 1960s. It is run on the Old Course and there are 13 fences to be jumped.

Some of the best horses to win this race have gone on to also win the more prestigious Queen Mother Champion Chase, including the likes of Moscow Flyer and Sprinter Sacre, with the most recent being Put The Kettle On, who won the Arkle in 2020.

Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase

Distance: 3m 1f

Five handicap races take place during the Cheltenham Festival and this is the first of them.

It is also known as the Festival Trophy Handicap Chase but has included the name of a sponsor since the 1980s.

The Grade 3 race is for horses aged five years or older and they have 20 fences to jump. Many runners also go on to appear in the Grand National, with 1996 Aintree winner Rough Quest the last horse to win both races having won the Festival Trophy in 1995.

Three horses have won this race in two successive years, the most recent being Un Temps Pour Tout in 2016 and 2017 with Coral ambassador Tom Scudamore on board.

Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy

Distance: 2m 1/2f

The Champion Hurdle is the highlight of the day at the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday and is the most important hurdle race in the National Hunt calendar.

Run since 1927 and switched to the first day of the Festival in 1980, it is a Grade 1 race open to horses aged four years or older and there are eight hurdles to be jumped.

Five horses are on an illustrious list of three-time winners of the race. The most recent of those was Istabraq, who completed the hat-trick in 2000 and was odds-on favourite for four in a row in 2001 before the Festival was cancelled due to the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.

Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle

Distance: 2m 4f

The fourth Grade 1 race at the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday has only been run since 2008 and was originally held over the New Course on the last day of the Festival. It moved to the opening day in 2009 and was upgraded from a Grade 2 in 2015.

The race is for mares aged four years or older and there are 10 hurdles to be jumped. The official name for it is the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle in honour of a man who was successful at Cheltenham both as a jockey and trainer.

Quevega, ridden by Ruby Walsh and trained by Willie Mullins, won the race for six successive years from 2009 to 2014, beating Golden Miller’s record of five successive wins at Cheltenham in the Gold Cup.

Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Race

Distance: 2m 1/2 f

The second handicap race on Tuesday is a Grade 3 for four-year-old juvenile hurdlers and is over eight obstacles.

It is officially known as the Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle and is named in memory of Fred Winter, who died in 2004 after a career which included 17 wins as a jockey at Cheltenham and 28 as a trainer.

It was added to the list of Cheltenham Festival races when a fourth day was added in 2005. It was upgraded from Listed level in 2009.

No jockey had won the race more than once until Mark Walsh rode Brazil (pictured below) to victory in 2022, having also triumphed on Aramax in 2020.

Mark Walsh, Brazil, Cheltenham Festival, horse racing

National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup

Distance: 3m 6f

Tuesday’s racing at Cheltenham ends with this Grade 2 chase for amateur riders and horses aged at least five years.

It has been run more than any other race at the Festival, having first been staged in 1860, although it was run at several different venues before a permanent switch to Cheltenham in 1911.

It has had several names too while it was held over the New Course for three years from 2005 but is now run on the Old Course.

The distance was shortened after the 2019 race when only four of the 18 runners completed the race.

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Andrew McDermott

Andrew is a sports betting content journalist at PA Media. He is a lifelong Huddersfield Town fan but when he isn't reminiscing about their Premier League days he is also a junior cricket coach and enjoys cycling.