Top Graded Races at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival

The Cheltenham Festival is the biggest racing event of the UK National Hunt Calendar. Featuring races of all different levels, distances and even types it can be difficult for punters to pick out where the best horses will stake a claim for victory. Before they take a look over the available horse racing betting, many punters like to know the differences in the races, and with that in mind our tipster has picked out the best-graded races you are likely to see for both hurdlers and chasers so that you can make an educated bet when reading through our Cheltenham 2021 Betting Tips.

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Hurdle Races

The Cheltenham Festival is full of races of all shapes and sizes, and some of the most popular races on the card are those over the timber hurdles. Normally quick and packed full of action, hurdle races give punters the chance to see younger horses with speed and stamina take to the track for their chance to win one of the most high-value races in the sport.

Pertemps Network Final (Handicap Hurdle) (Grade 3)

Open to horses five-years and over, the Pertemps Network Final is run on the new course on the third day of the Festival for a prize of £95,000. Contest over a distance of 3 miles, runners will need to safely navigate 12 hurdles, including one in the home straight to potentially take the victory. Served by 21 qualifying races that are run across the season, it’s often used as a stepping stone for younger horses before they move to chase fences. Won by the last two seasons by Gordon Elliott-trained Delta Work and Sire Du Berlais, and has also been won by Presenting Percy and Buena Vista.

Mares Novices Hurdle (Grade 2)

A race just for the ladies to strut their stuff around Cheltenham, the Dawn Run Mares Novices’ Hurdle is another race which is run on the third day of the Festival, normally after the highlight race of the day, the Stayers Hurdle. First run when the Festival was expanded to 28 races, it takes in a distance of 2 miles and 1 furlong, and horses will jump eight hurdles on their way around the new course at Cheltenham. Normally a race for mares who’ve failed to win over hurdles this season, it has been dominated by Willie Mullins since its inception with Limini, Lets Dance, Laurina and Eglantine Du Seuil taking race wins.

Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1)

Opening the final day of the Cheltenham Festival, the Triumph Hurdle is open to horses aged four and over. The leading horse racing event to be contested by juveniles, it’s another chance for punters to see some of the future stars of racing take to the track as only novices hurdlers run in this race. Contested over 2 miles and 1 furlong, it takes in eight hurdles before the long run-in up the Cheltenham Hill. Won last year by Pentland Hill, Tiger Roll and Defi Du Seuil, all of whom are expected to head to the festival this year, it should be in an interesting contest.

Chase Races

Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (Grade 3)

One of the only Grade 3 Chases at the Cheltenham Festival, the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate is contested on St Patrick’s Day Thursday, and it’s normally a race where long odds horses take to the forefront as only two favourites have won the contest in the last decade. Won by the likes of Road To Respect and Mister McGoldrick in the past, it’s contested over 2 miles 4 1/2 furlongs and takes in 17 fences, it is a handicap race so that can have a bearing on who’ll ultimately perform well on the day.

National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup (Grade 2)

One of the longest races to be held at the Cheltenham Festival, the National Hunt Chase concludes the opening day of racing and is well-known as a test for potential horses who will be heading the Grand National later this season. Run 160 times, more than any other at the Cheltenham Festival, the National Hunt runs over the old course over a distance of 4 miles and includes 25 fences. Won in the past by Tiger Roll, Midnight Prayer and Causes of Causes, stamina is very much a key attribute of runners here.

Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1)

The highlight race on the second day of Cheltenham, The Queen Mother Champion Chase is one of our tipster's favourite races at the Festival. The shortest chasing races available for runners to partake in, it’s a test of speed as the fences come thick and fast over the 2-mile course which can prove tricky. Still, it’s always an interesting race and has been won in the past by Altior and Sprinter Sacre.

Amateur Riders

Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase

Throughout the Cheltenham Festival, many punters will see amateur jockeys take to the track in the feature races, but there’s also one key race where they’ll get the chance to race against their counterparts with the same skill level, and that’s the Kim Muir Challenge Cup. Run over 3m 1 1/2 furlongs, there is often a substantial amount of prize money on offer for passing the post first and because it’s a handicap having amateurs on board can improve a runner's chances due to less weight. Notable winners of the race include Missed Approach, Junior and Cloudy Lane.

Although we’ve only highlighted a few of the top graded races at the Cheltenham Festival there are still a myriad of other that you can take a look at the racecards and place a bet across the entire week of racing by heading over to our sportsbook where you’ll find all the latest odds and Cheltenham Tips.