Guide to all the races at the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday
Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday: The full schedule
Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
Distance: 2m 5f
Day two starts with one of the season’s top races for novice hurdlers. It is for horses aged four years or older and they have 10 hurdles to jump on the Old Course.
The race was originally known as the Aldsworth Hurdle when it was first run in 1971 but its registered name is now the Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle, taking its name from the developer who bought the land in 1898 and organised the first Cheltenham Festival four years later.
Willie Mullins is the leading trainer in this race and enjoyed four wins with Ruby Walsh (pictured below) as jockey between 2008 and 2016, while several winning horses have gone on to win the Champion Hurdle.
Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase
Distance: 3m 1/2f
This Grade 1 is for novice chasers aged five years or older and there are 20 fences to be jumped.
It has had a number of sponsors down the years and was commonly known as the RSA Chase for a long time but is registered as the Broadway Novices’ Chase.
Peter Scudamore is the only jockey to win the race for three successive years (1991-1993) while winning horses that have gone on to triumph in the Gold Cup include Arkle (1963), Denman (2007) and Bobs Worth (2012).
Distance: 2m 5f
The first handicap to be run on Wednesday is a Grade 3 over 10 hurdles. The race was established in 1993, when Martin Pipe’s Olympian came home first, and has always been sponsored by Coral.
It is known as a competitive handicap and no horse has won the race more than once, while there have been some big gambles on this event in the past, most notably when Son Of Flica was backed down from 66/1 to 16/1 before winning in 2012.
Congratulations to Shane Fitzgerald who rode the 50/1 winner Commander Of Fleet 👏 pic.twitter.com/0mUSZj3TTY
— Coral (@Coral) March 17, 2022
Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
This is the feature race on Wednesday at Cheltenham and is the highlight of the National Hunt season in terms of minimum-distance chases, with speed rather than stamina the order of the day.
There are 13 fences to be jumped in a race which was established in 1980 as the National Hunt Two-Mile Champion Chase before changing to its name in 1980 when the Queen Mother celebrated her 80th birthday.
The most successful horse in the race is Badsworth Boy, who completed a hat-trick of wins in 1985. Several others have won the race twice, including Moscow Flyer, Master Minded, Sprinter Sacre and Altior.
Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase
Distance: 3m 6f
Attention switches to the Cross Country course for the fifth race of the day on Wednesday and there are 32 obstacles to be jumped in an event open to horses aged five years or older.
It was added to the schedule when a fourth day was added to the Cheltenham Festival in 2005 and was originally run as a handicap before being changed in 2016 to a conditions race.
The race is best known for the exploits of two-time Grand National winner Tiger Roll, who won this race three times in four years between 2018 and 2021 before finishing as a valiant runner-up to stablemate Delta Work in 2022.
Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase
Distance: 2m 1/2f
This is the oldest of all the Cheltenham Festival races and dates back to 1834, when it was run at nearby Andoversford. It was contested at various venues before returning to Cheltenham in 1913 where it has remained ever since.
It is a handicap race over 14 fences on the Old Course and is open to horses aged at least five years. It is named after trainer Nicky Henderson’s father, who helped to raise funds to protect the future of Cheltenham Racecourse in the 1960s when under pressure from property developers.
In 2009 it was moved to be the last race of the Festival but it was switched to the penultimate race in 2019 and moved to Wednesday in 2021. The number of runners has been restricted to 20 to improve safety.
Only two horses – Top Twenty (1958, 1959) and Dulwich (1974, 1976) – have won the race more than once.
Weatherbys Champion Bumper
Distance: 2m 1/2f
Racing at the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday ends with the most prestigious flat race of the National Hunt season with this Grade 1 being for horses aged four to six years.
It is the only flat race at the Festival and was originally called the Festival Bumper when it was first run in 1992.
Many of the horses which run in this event go on to run over obstacles while some flat racing jockeys sometimes take part.
The race has been dominated by trainer Willie Mullins, whose winners have included Florida Pearl (1997), Champagne Fever (2012) and Sir Gerhard (2021).