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 the 13:50 at Newmarket & Get £10 free bet for the next SIX ITV races! 🤯
New customer offer. Place a single £10 (or £5 e/w) Sports bet in the 13:50 Newmarket on Friday, June 6th and get a £10 free bet for each of the subsequent ITV races. Deposits using Credit/Debit cards or Apple Pay only. Free bets are only valid for the specified race and are awarded when the qualifying bet has been settled. Free bet stakes not returned with winnings. T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🏇🏻 BET £10 AT NEWMARKET & GET A £10 FREE BET FOR FOUR RACES OF CHOICE 🏇🏻
New customers who register via mobile only, min £10/€10 stake, win only. Min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 4 x £10/€10 (30 day expiry), free bet/payment method/play/country restrictions.
Claim Bonus
🏆 BET £20 AT NEWMARKET & GET YOUR STAKE BACK AS CASH IF YOU LOSE! 🏆
New customers only. Minimum odds 1/5 (1.2). If you place a multiple at least one selection must meet the min odds requirement. Max £20 refund. Only deposits made using Cards or Applepay qualify. Qualifying bet must be placed and settled within 30 days of account opening. T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🏆 Newmarket £20 Risk Free First Bet - Money Back in CASH 🏆
New customers only, limited to one per person. If you’ve previously had a Paddy Power account, you will not qualify for the offer. Place your first bet on any Sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £/€20. Only deposits made using Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply.
Claim Bonus
🌟 BET £10 AT NEWMARKET & GET 7 X £5 FREE BETS FOR THE REST OF THE CARD! 🌟
New customers only • £10 deposit using promo code • Minimum stake £10 at odds of 1/2 (1.5) • Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days • Free bet stakes not included in returns • Deposit balance is available for withdrawal at any time. withdrawal restrictions and t&c's apply.
Claim Bonus
💥 BET £5 ON HORSE RACING & GET £30 IN FREE BETS! 💥
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 ARE NON WITHDRAWABLE. NO FREE BET EXPIRY. ELIGIBILITY RESTRICTIONS. FURTHER T&CS APPLY. 18+. BEGAMBLEAWARE.ORG
Claim Bonus
Get up to £30 in FREE BETS! ☑️
New UK & Ireland customers only. Min Deposit: £10. First deposit matched up to £30. 1 x wagering at odds of 1.75+ to unlock Free Bet. Debit Card & PayPal deposits only. Terms Apply
Claim Bonus
⚡️Get up to £100 in Bet Credits⚡️
New Customers only. Up to £100* in Bet Credits. Sign up, deposit £5* or more to your account and bet365 will match your qualifying deposit in Bet Credits when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply.
Claim Bonus
🌟 Bet £5 & Get £30 in Bonuses 🌟
New Customers only. Deposit and place a £5 qualifying bet at odds of 2.00 or greater within 7 days of opening a new account; excludes cashed out bets. Receive 2x £10 Sports/Virtual Sports Free Bets, valid on set events only at odds 2.00 or greater, expires in 7 days, plus a £10 Casino Bonus, expires in 7 days. Wager the Casino Bonus 35x to withdraw winnings. Payment Cards only. Geographical Restrictions and T&Cs Apply. Please Gamble Responsibly
Claim Bonus
🟢 Money Back As Bonus Up To £40 If Your First Bet Loses + £10 Casino Bonus! 🟢
New customers only. 18+, BeGambleAware.org. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus. Wagering requirements: Sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 25x. Only one bonus can be used at a time, Sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in.
Claim Bonus
When The Fun Stops. Stop.