Changes At The Cheltenham Festival This Season

Changes At The Cheltenham Festival

Cheltenham Racecourse have implemented certain changes ahead of this season's Festival in March, with switches to the track layout and race schedule on the agenda in a bid to upgrade safety.

The biggest move comes from the Old Course, with the penultimate fence - which has troubled many in recent seasons, being moved for the third time in just nine years.

The repositioning of the obstacle comes as a result of discussions between Cheltenham, jockeys and the BHA, after several horses were deemed to have fallen without having made a mistake.

It is no coincidence that the very fence has been too much for the likes of Charbel, God's Own and last year Al Boum Photo in the RSA - which saw Ruby Walsh ruled out for the remainder of the week, all of whom have fallen when attempting to cross it in the last couple of years.

It will be negotiated for the first time in its new location in the Racing Post Arkle - the second race of the upcoming Festival, a further ten yards past the bend to give more chance for the horses in their approach.

(Credit: Racing Post) Simon Claisse, Clerk of the Course said : "We felt if we moved that first fence in the home straight jockeys would have a better chance to get their horses balanced.

"We therefore decided we should give it a go, so that fence will now be another ten yards beyond the bend, equivalent to two strides.

"We have listened to the advice of the riders, including Richard Johnson, who told us this should help. That opinion is backed up by the senior inspector of courses, who says we should give it a try.

"I don't think anyone would take the view that by giving the horses a little bit further off the turn before they jump the fence it could make things worse. It can only make things better. There are also racecourses where the final two fences are closer together than ours are now."

chelts

The Festival will this year finish for the first time with the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle after swapping with the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup - which has been moved to conclude Day Three.

The size of the field for the Grand Annual has been confirmed to be reduced to a maximum of twenty, following an inquest conducted by the BHA which looked deeper into the causes of last year's festival fatalities; three of which occurring in the two mile handicap chase.

Also shifting are the sixth and seventh races on Champions Day, which will now end with the Amateur Rides National Hunt Chase over four miles, foreshadowed by the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase.

(Credit: Racing Post) Cheltenham boss Ian Renton said: "We already have an amateurs’ race as the last on the card on Thursday, which works well, allowing the professional jockeys to conclude their day after the sixth race.

"We will now have a similar order of running, with the National Hunt Chase on the Tuesday and the Martin Pipe on Friday as the concluding races."

The racecourse finally revealed that trainers and connections of horses would only be allowed to enter individual runners in one sole contest for the week.

Some trainers in recent years have entered their horses, say for instance in both the Champion Hurdle and the Stayers Hurdle - so that if they did not get a run for their money in the first, they have a chance in the second.

(Credit: Racing Post) Renton added: "We believe this change to declaration arrangements will provide greater certainty as to the horses running in all the festival races for racegoers, the media, the off-course betting market and the international audience.

"The move is also appropriate given our commitment to the highest standards of equine welfare."

Free Bets & Offers


🔸 BET £10 ON TODAYS RACING & GET £30 FREE BETS + £10 CASINO BONUS! 🔸
Min deposit £/€/$10 • A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £/€/$10 • Min odds 1/2 (1.50) • Free Bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days • Free Bet stakes not included in returns • Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days • To withdraw bonus/related wins, wager the bonus amount 40 times within 14 days • Casino Bonus expires after 60 days • Withdrawal restrictions, payment methods, country & Full T&C’s apply
Claim Bonus
🔥 ✅ BET £10 & GET £60 IN FREE BETS! ✅ 🔥
New UK customers only. Register using the promo code BETFRED60, deposit and place first bet of £10+ on Sports (cumulative Evens+). First bet must be on Sports. £20 in Free Bets to be used on Sports, £10 in Free Bets to be used on Lotto and 50 Free Spins (20p per spin) credited within 48 hours of bet settlement. Further £20 in Free Bets credited 5 days after settlement. Bonuses have a 7-day expiry. Payment restrictions apply. SMS verification and/or Proof of I.D and address may be required. Full T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🚀 £20 IN FREE BETS WHEN YOU PLACE A £5 BET 🚀
New customers only. First single & e/w bet only. Odds of 1/1 or greater. 2 x £10 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Free bets exclude virtuals. Free bets are non withdrawable. No free bet expiry. Eligibility restrictions. Further t&cs apply. 18+. Begambleaware.org
Claim Bonus
🏇🏼 BET £10 ON ANY RACE TODAY & GET £40 IN FREE BETS! 🏇🏼
Sign-up via Mobile using promo code N40 and place a bet of £10/€10 or more and we will give you 4x £10/€10 free bets. By entering the Promo code in the box above you agree to the full terms and conditions of this promotion as displayed below. See full terms below.
Claim Bonus
⚽️ UP TO £50 MONEY BACK AS CASH IF ANY OF YOUR FIRST 5X £10 FOOTBALL BETS LOSE ⚽️
Place 5x£10 Single Sportsbook bets on any Football market at minimum odds of 2.0 (Evs) between the 18th and 31st January, and get money back as Cash if it loses. Max refund per qualifying bet is £10 (up to £50 in total). Only deposits made via Cards will be eligible for the promotion. T&Cs apply. 18+.
Claim Bonus
🔴 BET £10 & GET £30 IN FREE BETS! ⚫️
New customers only. Place a £10 fixed odds bet min odds 1/2, 2 x £10 free bets & 2x free spread bets. Free bets awarded on consecutive days. Full t&c’s apply.
Claim Bonus

🏆 Money Back as CASH up to £20 if your first bet loses! 🏆
New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any Football market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using cards will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🔥 BET £10 ON ANY SPORT & GET £20 IN FREE BETS 🔥
18+, Welcome Bonus: New Players only, 1st Deposit, Min Deposit,: £10, max £20 free bets valid for 14 days, bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater and be settled within 14 days of placement. begambleaware.org.
Claim Bonus
✅ BET £20 AND GET YOUR MONEY BACK IN CASH IF IT LOSES! ✅
New customers only. Deposit £20 using Debit Card or Trustly. Up to your first £20 of losses will be refunded as CASH within 24 hours of qualifying bet having been settled. T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🟢 Bet £10 & Get £50 in free bets! 🟡
Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of qualifying bets. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
GET A £30 MATCHED FREE BET IF YOUR FIRST FOOTBALL ACCA LOSES!!!! 🙌🙌🙌
New UK customers only. Min Deposit: £5. Maximum Free Bet: £30. First bet on a Football multiple with 3+ selections. Overall odds: 3.00 (2/1) or higher. Free Bets available upon settlement of the qualifying bet. Debit card deposits only. This is offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. 18+ BeGambleAware.org Full terms apply.
Claim Bonus
🌟 Bet £5 & get £30 in bonuses! 🌟
18+ New customers only. Opt in, bet £5 at odds 2.00+ within 7 days of registering, no cashout. Get 2x £10 Free Bets, set events at odds 2.00+. Plus £10 Game Show Bonus, selected games, wager 40x to withdraw max £250. 7 day bonus expiry. Card payments only. T&Cs apply. begambleaware.org | Please gamble responsibly
Claim Bonus
🤩 BET £10 AT MANSION BET AND GET A £10 FREE BET 🤩
New customers only. Min deposit and bet £10 (£20 if E/W bet) from UK debit card only. Min odds evens (1/5 per leg in multi selection). £10 Free Bet vaild for 7 days, stake not returned, no Cash Out, max winnings £5k. T&C’s apply. 18+.
Claim Bonus