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Close Brothers and the Cheltenham Festival

A look ahead to the world renowned jump racing festival, Tuesday 15 to Friday 18 March 2022.

More Cheltenham 2022 FAQs with Sir AP McCoy



Cheltenham Festival 2022

15 to 18 March

2022 Event Schedule

    Officially billed as Champion Day, the opening afternoon of the Cheltenham Festival is packed with top quality racing and starts with a bang as the best young hurdlers clash in the opening Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle. The newly-named Sporting Life Arkle crowns the champion two-mile novice chaser and the headline race on day one is the Unibet Champion Hurdle, won by some legends of the sport over the years including magnificent mare Dawn Run, the hugely popular Brave Inca and three-time winners Hatton's Grace, Persian War, See You Then and Istabraq. 


    1.30pm The Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle Race (Grade 1)
    2.10pm The Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
    2.50pm The Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
    3.30pm The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) 
    4.10pm The Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle (Grade 1)
    4.50pm The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Race (Grade 3)
    5.30pm The Ukraine Appeal National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup (Amateur Riders' Novices' Chase) (Grade 2) 


    Ladies Day consists of a fine blend of speed and stamina, with The Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase one of the most exhilarating races of the entire week as the fastest two-milers fly around Prestbury Park's demanding chase course.

    The Brown Advisory Novices' Chase is a severe examination for burgeoning staying talent and the Cross Country Chase gets better by the year, with dual hero Tiger Roll famously going on to claim Grand National glory at Aintree on the occasions he was successful.


    1.30pm The Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) 
    2.10pm The Brown Advisory Novices' Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
    2.50pm The Coral Cup Hurdle (A Handicap Hurdle Race) (Grade 3)
    3.30pm The Betway Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase (Grade 1) 
    4.10pm The Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase
    4.50pm The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Steeple Chase Challenge Cup (Grade 3)
    5.30pm The Weatherbys Champion Bumper (A Standard Open NH Flat Race) (Grade 1) 



    St Patrick's Thursday and every reason to celebrate, with a couple of cracking Grade One contests in the Stayers' Hurdle and the Ryanair Chase.

    The Marsh Novices' Chase also carries top-class status while the Pertemps Network Final provides a fantastic puzzle for punters to solve as a huge field scrap for hurdling honours over three miles.


    1.30pm The Turners Novices' Chase (Grade 1) 
    2.10pm The Pertemps Network Final (A Handicap Hurdle Race) (Listed) 
    2.50pm The Ryanair Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
    3.30pm The Paddy Power Stayers Hurdle (Grade 1)
    4.10pm The Cheltenham Plate (A Handicap Steeple Chase) (Grade 3)
    4.50pm The Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2)
    5.30pm Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup (sponsored by the JRL Group) (0-145)

    Gold Cup Day needs no introduction.

    One of the most sought-after titles in racing is decided on the final day of the Festival and always promises to provide the greatest spectacle.

    The WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup is a race associated with the elite of the sport and nothing can rival the Cheltenham roar as the horses charge up the famous hill - last year saw Al Boum Photo claim back-to-back wins in the race, the first horse to do so since Best Mate who went on to win a third the following year. Willie Mullins' charge is likely to be back to try and emulate that great chaser this time around.

    The JCB Triumph Hurdle and Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle also crown top-class talents, while a recent tweak to the programme now means the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle is the 28th and final race of the Festival.


    1.30pm The JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1)
    2.10pm The McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle Race (Grade 3) 
    2.50pm The Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle Race (Grade 1) 
    3.30pm The Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase (Grade 1)
    4.10pm The St James's Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Steeple Chase
    4.50pm The Mrs Paddy Power Mares' Steeple Chase (Grade 2)
    5.30pm Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle Race (0-145) 

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    Sir AP McCoy's Favourite Festival Wins

    From Gold Cup glory with Synchronised to *that" ride on Wichita Lineman, Close Brothers brand ambassador Sir AP McCoy gives you the inside steer on his 10 favourite Cheltenham Festival winners.


    Close Brothers at the Cheltenham Festival History


    Close Brothers first year at the Cheltenham Festival, sponsoring the 17:30pm Novices Handicap Chase on the opening day of the festival. Won by Ballyalton (IRE).


    The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase this year was thrilling race, but in the end Tully East came through and won by a cosy length-and-a-quarter.


    Bottom weight Mister Whitaker came out best in the closest finish on day one of the Festival for trainer Mick Channon and jockey Brian Hughes.


    Rachael Blackmore landed her first Cheltenham Festival winner with a superb ride on A Plus Tard to land the 2019 Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase. A Plus Tard’s win was the first of the festival by a favourite, coming just half an hour after the short-priced Benie Des Dieux had fallen when clear at the final fence in the Mares’ Hurdle.


    A switch of race this year saw Close Brothers now sponsoring the Mares Hurdle on day 1 of the Festival. Benie Des Dieux was a strong favourite to take the race but Rachael Blackmore pinched the race with a decisive move around the home bend on board Honeysuckle.


    Due to Covid-19 this year’s Cheltenham Festival took place behind closed doors, with no crowds in attendance. In a thrilling finish, Black Tears ridden by Jack Kennedy and trained by Denise Foster took the race to deny the Willie Mullins trained favourite Concertista.