Your Ultimate Guide To Cheltenham Racecourse
With Cheltenham Racecourse all set to play host to the 2017 Cheltenham Festival next week, we thought now would be a good time to give punters new to Cheltenham all the lowdown on this historic horse racing circuit.
Cheltenham is widely regarded as the home of National Hunt racing, which is jump racing over hurdles and steeplechases only. Nestled beautifully within Prestbury Park, Cheltenham Racecourse provides one of the most picturesque settings of any UK racecourse. One visit here and you’ll very quickly establish just why more than 180,000 spectators embark on this corner of Gloucestershire for its annual festival – aside from the line-up of some of the world’s finest thoroughbreds and jockeys!
Within this ultimate guide to Cheltenham Racecourse, we’ll tell you all you need to know about the best way to experience Cheltenham for yourself and also what to look out for if you’re planning on having a flutter on any races during the Cheltenham Festival.
How To Get To Cheltenham Racecourse
If you are planning on driving to Cheltenham Racecourse, you’ll be pleased to know that the circuit is easily accessible from the M5 motorway at Junction 10. From here, it’s easy to follow the AA recommended route signs which will take you through Uckington via the A4019 and towards the various free car parks on the A435 and in close proximity to the racecourse itself.
It’s important to note that throughout the Cheltenham Festival and on the Saturday of The Open, held every November at Cheltenham, the car parks charge for parking, so make sure you have some loose change handy.
For those considering travelling to Cheltenham by train, the racecourse puts on regular shuttle buses from Cheltenham Spa train station direct to the course. This service begins two hours before the first race of every day and starts return journeys after the last race. These shuttle buses are only scheduled for the Festival and The Open and not for any standard weekday or weekend race meetings.
There are also a plethora of Stagecoach buses that operate during meetings. Services D and 527 operate in close proximity to the Racecourse. You can call Stagecoach on 0870 6082608 to find out more specific departure and arrival times, if necessary.
Seating And Spectator Areas Around Cheltenham Racecourse
If you are wondering where to get the best view of the action at Cheltenham, let’s take a look at the three main spectator enclosures at Cheltenham Racecourse:
This is the racecourse’s most exclusive enclosure – and understandably the most expensive! It offers the best view of the track and the home straight, as well as refreshment stalls and eateries.
Note: Those with a Club Day badge for any day during the Cheltenham Festival or the Open Saturday can also venture into Tattersalls.
A slight step down from being a Club guest, Tattersalls spectators still get everything they need to have the most fantastic day at Cheltenham. With expansive views from the Grandstand, an unrivalled choice of on-course bookmakers and access to the parade ring and the unsaddling enclosure, as a Tattersalls guest you can get up close and personal with the action here.
Situated opposite the main Grandstands, the Best Mate enclosure offers the best value ticket for spectators. It still offers an excellent view of the racing action, along with plenty of food outlets and on-course bookies to help you get your bet on. The only difference is that Best Mate entrants do not have access to the parade ring and the other entertainment areas on offer.
Dress Codes At Cheltenham Racecourse
There is no dress code in operation at Cheltenham Racecourse, which makes this a rather refreshing racecourse to visit. No matter whether it’s a weekday race meeting or the Cheltenham Festival, you’ll be able to dress for comfort; although if the mood takes you many people still like to dress to impress!
With no dress code, Cheltenham is also highly popular with stag dos given that fancy dress is permitted – providing the outfits are not offensive!
Primary Race Meetings At Cheltenham
Although the Festival is the highlight of Cheltenham’s horse racing calendar, there are many other regular meetings and chases throughout the year:
• The New Years’ Day meeting (1 January)
• The Festival Trials meeting (28 January)
• The Cheltenham Festival (14-17 March)
• The April meeting (19-20 April)
• The Hunter chase (5 May)
• The Showcase meeting (27-28 October)
• The Open meeting (17-19 November)
• The International meeting (15-16 December)
A Description Of Cheltenham’s Flat And Jumps Courses
Cheltenham Racecourse boasts three different race circuits to cater for both jump and flat racing:
• The old course
Arguably the ultimate test for steeplechasers in the UK, Cheltenham’s oldest race circuits has some of the most gruelling fences in the country. Traditionalists tend to prefer the action on the older circuit, but the new course offers a different type of challenge to horses and jockeys alike.
• The new course
There are a few interesting changes and quirks to the new course that makes for an altogether different test. Firstly, there is a unique downhill fence which has so often proved the undoing of many thoroughbreds. Meanwhile, the home straight is significantly longer than the old course, making for a stiff test of stamina. In addition, the hurdle races on the new circuit tend to have the majority of the fences in the opening half of the race. A typical two-mile race will only see two fences in the last seven furlongs!
• The cross-country course
Sandwiched between Cheltenham’s new and old circuits is the cross-country course that’s used for one race each at the Cheltenham Festival and the International and Open meetings. With a unique blend of ditches, banks and rails, this cross-country circuit is unlike any other in British horse racing.
Quick tip: Many experienced punters looking for horses with good potential around Cheltenham will review the horses’ form at the likes of Newcastle and Hexham, which both have similar circuits.
Remember, if you’re looking for a reliable horse racing tipster to find you some winners during the 2017 Cheltenham Festival, we’ve got a great selection of approved professional bettors here or check out the all-new Betting Gods VIP Club.
Cheltenham Racecourse certainly does rival the very best of them in the UK, playing host to around half of all Group 1 events in the racing calendar.