The 2022 Cheltenham Festival remains unchanged as per a year ago. However, the one substantial difference will be the atmosphere.
12 months ago, the stands and slopes of Prestbury Park were uninhabited by crowds. The photos of Minella Indo outbattling stablemate A Plus Tard were set to an empty backdrop.
So while the 28 races may be exactly as they were, in exactly the same order, the build up when the Cheltenham Festival entries are announced, declared and lined up will be of a totally different level this time around.
(Racecards will be available nearer to the start of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival)
Day 1: Tuesday 14th March – Champion Day
Champions Day opens with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, host to the famous Cheltenham Roar. While the Festival still delivered some highlights a year ago, the absence of atmosphere for the opening race was felt in Prestbury Park. It will be great to have crowds back this time around.
The Arkle Challenge Trophy follows, won last year by the imperious Shishkin, while the Ultima Handicap Chase is first handicap of the Festival.
The feature race, however, is the Champion Hurdle. The unbeaten mare Honeysuckle looks almost certain to defend her title come March, but will anyone be able to stop her?
This does not conclude the action though, as the Mares Hurdle, won by Honeysuckle in 2020, is the fifth on the card. The last two races are the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle for four-year-olds and the National Hunt Chase, the longest race for novices and the first for amatuer riders.
Day 2: Wednesday 15th March – Ladies Day
Fittingly, the feature race on Ladies Day is the Queen Mother Champion Chase. This could contain the most exciting battle of the Festival, with Shishkin and Energumene set to lock horns once more after their pulsating fight at Ascot in January.
The day opens with the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, won by the brilliant Bob Olinger in 2021. The Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase follows, with both likely principles, Galopin Des Champs and Bravemansgame, looking imperious over fences so far.
The Coral Cup is the big handicap prize of the day and usually plays host to the most runners with a maximum field size of 26. Following the Champion Chase is the Cross Country Chase, in which Tiger Roll will have a shot at Festival history.
The one race without obstacles, the Champion Bumper, is the sixth race on the card while Day 2 concludes with the Grand Annual Handicap Chase, the oldest race at the Festival.
Day 3: Thursday 16th March – St Patrick’s Day
Every day must have felt like St Patrick’s Day for the Irish last season, but Thursday is always a carnival atmosphere at Cheltenham.
The Marsh Novices’ Chase is the opener, while the second is the only qualifying race at the Festival, the Pertemps Qualifier Handicap Hurdle over three miles.
Day 3 is the only day in which there are arguably two feature contests. In the Ryanair Chase in 2021, Allaho put in one of the most exceptional performances at the meeting. Thereafter, Flooring Porter won the Stayers’ Hurdle, the traditional highlight of the day.
Two of the last three races are handicaps in the form of the Paddy Power Plate and the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir, while the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle, one of the newest races at the Festival, is sandwiched between the two.
Day 4: Friday 17th March – Cheltenham Gold Cup Day
The big one: Cheltenham Gold Cup Day. The most prestigious prize of the day occurs as race four on the card, with two-time champion Al Boum Photo and last year’s hero Minella Indo both in the preliminary lineup.
The day opens with the JCB Triumph Hurdle, the big Grade 1 prize for four-year-olds. It is followed by the County Hurdle, another race which traditionally attracts a big field.
The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle is often for horses with future Gold Cup aspirations and precedes the big race itself.
The Festival begins to wind down with the Foxhunters Chase, often seen as the “Gold Cup for amateur riders” as it is over the same course and distance. The final two races are the newly-introduced Mares’ Chase and the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle.
Cheltenham Festival Time Around The World
(Table for Cheltenham Festival times coming soon)
Cheltenham Festival TV Coverage in UK
Every race can be seen live on Racing TV throughout the week. For those without a subscription, the first five races every day will be broadcast on ITV free-to-air.
Similarly, every UK-based bookmaker will stream a broadcast of every race for their customers. View any of their new customer offers in time for Cheltenham and make sure you are signed up to make sure you can watch every single race from the 2022 Cheltenham Festival.
How to watch the Cheltenham Festival Races Live if you live outside of UK
The Cheltenham Festival is free to view for the majority of the races on ITV, while paid customers of Racing TV can watch every single race from the 2022 Cheltenham Festival.
If you live outside of the UK, you may require a VPN to be able to view them via the ITV or Racing TV websites or app.