Cheltenham Festival Race Card & Horse Racing Tips
The UK’s most anticipated horse racing meeting – the Cheltenham Festival, will soon be upon us and with hundreds of runners competing in twenty-eight races across four days of serious racing action, there’s good reason for you to be stuck over who to bet on at one of the major races at Cheltenham
But you can put all your fears aside as Eventmasters have got you covered with a complete guide to betting on race day. From the illustrious Champion Hurdle on Champions Day to the Blue Ribband Gold Cup race, our Cheltenham handbook is sure to help you decide on a winner from your Cheltenham races race card!
Whether you’re an avid racegoer looking to make some major coins, a first-timer wanting an easy flutter or simply looking for some information on a particular horse – this will be your Book of Books.
Jump to how to read a race card.
Tuesday Cheltenham Race Card – Champions Day
The Tuesday of the Cheltenham Festival is the headline day of Champions and a must for all racing fans, or those looking to experience some of the finest Championship racing action, with highlight races such as the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, The Arkle Challenge Trophy and the Champion Hurdle.
The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, also referred to as the curtain raiser of the Cheltenham Festival is a two-mile Grade 1 race.
Last year, Klassical Dream and renowned jockey, Ruby Walsh took the title. Klassical Dream had come in at 6/1 on the Cheltenham Festival race card. The race card also detailed how many days it had been since his last run, as well as the fact he had previously won a race of further distance, which may have influenced the punters. Also, with household names such as Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins associated with Klassical Dream, you can begin to see how a race card can influence betting decisions.
The Champion Hurdle, which is one of the most prestigious races in the National Hunt calendar saw Espoir D’allen take the top spot in 2019. Whilst he wasn’t the favourite, the form comment on the Cheltenham race card painted him out to have the capability to make his mark at the top level. The race card also displayed that he had a won a race of longer distance prior to Champion Hurdle, which is ideal as it suggests this race may be an easier run for him.
Of all the days at the Cheltenham Festival, your race card will be your Holy Grail on Tuesday, especially if you’re looking to rake in some big bucks. Champions Day boasts some of the finest races of the Cheltenham Festival and the National Hunt season, featuring four top-grade races.
How to Read a Race Card
Once you know how to read a race card, it can become of extreme value to both the newbie and the horse racing expert. A race card contains a wealth of knowledge, the most important being key information on the runners and riders of the day which can be useful in helping you make an informed decision on who to bet on.
It is understandable to be overwhelmed when looking at a race card for the first time but we’re going to breakdown what each component means. Also, it might be worth keeping in mind that online race cards may visually differ to race cards in print. We’re going to breakdown the print version here.
The first number that you encounter is the horse’s number which will also be displayed on its saddle throughout the race.
Next to the number is the horse’s name, which is more often than not a highly entertaining name. Take Cheltenham Festival’s most recent Gold Cup Winner, Al Boum Photo for example.
The component that follows a horse’s name will be its place of birth (if outside of Great Britain).
Days since the horse last ran
The number next to the horse’s birthplace represents the number of days since the horse’s last run. This information is helpful as if they’ve been out of action for a while this could indicate that their fitness may be lacking too.
These number and letter groupings signify a quick way to see a horse’s performance in previous races. Let’s breakdown what each letter represents and its relevance in identifying a winner.
C – This letter stands for Course. If shown next to a horse’s name it indicates that this horse has won a race on this track previously. A horse that has previously handled a course is more likely to win it again, which may help you reach a betting decision.
D – represents Distance. This means a horse has won a race over this distance which is important as a horse that has the capability to run further is far more likely to perform well in a race of less, or similar distance.
CD – This could be seen as the icing on top as these two letters symbolise that the horse has won on this course and over the distance. If a horse is both familiar with the course and able to run over the distance, they could be at a serious advantage to other runners.
BF – Signals that the horse was a Beaten Favourite. To put it plainly, the horse was a favourite in a previous race but didn’t finish first, however this isn’t all negative. Perhaps they weren’t prepared in their last race but are ready now.
Other Information on Form
F – The horse fell
U – Rider was unseated
R – Horse refused to race
S – Horse slipped
D – Disqualified
/ – Missed racing season
If a form displays as something like this: F2R1-F1. You should read its information backwards. What it is telling you is that the horse won it’s last race, fell the race before that, the dash signifies that the information prior to it of the previous season, which informs you that the horse won, then refused to race, placed second and fell in that season.
Horse’s age and weight
The first number that appears on the far right denotes the horses age. The two numbers that follow dictate the weight each horse is expected to carry (jockey and saddle), which is displayed in stones and pounds.
The horse’s breeding
Below the horse’s name is its breeding and finding out who a horse’s parents are can often be a good way of judging its racing ability.
Jockey, Trainer, Horse’s Owner & Horse’s Breeder
Next that appears on a race card will be the jockey, trainer, horse owner and breeder. This information can also be useful as riders or trainers with a history of being successful may influence your betting decision. Frankie Dettori, is a prime example of this complex as his reputation precedes him.
Timeform view, TFR and BHA rating
This is the experts view on the horse’s chances. The higher the BHA rating, the better the horse and this goes for the TFR rating too. The form comment is also useful in providing a brief summary of a horse’s previous performance.
Keep your eyes peeled for our blog on who to back at The Cheltenham Festival this year! As soon as the runners are announced, we’ll be putting together a complete guide. Do you reckon the winners will be household names? Or up-and-coming powerhouses?