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Opening day of Cheltenham Festival is here

Horses and Jockeys during a morning warm up at Cheltenham Racecourse. Credit: Andrew Matthews / PA

In a few hours time gates will open for this year's Cheltenham Festival.

Around a quarter of a million people will descend on Prestbury Park for the four day event. It's the first Festival where the new £45 million Grandstand will be in use.

Today kicks off with Tuesday's Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, it's the first of 29 races over the four days on the Gloucestershire hills.

CHAMPION DAY PROCEEDINGS (TUESDAY)

  • 13.30 The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Race
  • 14.10 The Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase
  • 14.50 The Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase
  • 15.30 The Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy
  • 16.10 The OLBG Mares’ Hurdle
  • 16.50 The 146 Year Of The National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup (Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Steeple Chase)
  • 17.30 The Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase

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Cheltenham Festival: The stats

With the annual Festival kicking off on the 15 March, we've been taking a look at why the event just seems to get bigger every year.

Horses and Jockeys during a morning warm up at Cheltenham Racecourse. Credit: Andrew Matthews / PA

THE STATS

25,000+
amount of people on a normal race day
65,000
people expected this Friday on Gold Cup day
£150m
will be bet during the four day festival
£4m
worth of prize money on offer
800
journalists covering the event, goes to show just how much interest there is

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Behind the scenes ahead of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival

With just a few days until the start of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival we've been allowed onto the racecourse to see some of the areas that are off limits to much of the public during the four day event.

The site at Prestbury park in Gloucestershire will welcome almost 250,000 spectators during the Festival making it one of the most popular events in the National Hunt calendar.

Our sports reporter Jonty Messer takes you on a guided tour.

Pendleton will ride at Cheltenham Festival

Victoria Pendleton will ride Pacha Du Polder at the Cheltenham Festival next Friday.

The dual Olympic cycling champion will partner Pacha Du Polder in the St James's Place Foxhunter Chase on Friday week.

Victoria Pendleton will be on Pacha Du Polder. Credit: PA

We have always had the extremely ambitious target of riding competitively in the Foxhunter as our goal, so to be announcing that I have achieved this goal is a truly amazing feeling.

– Victoria Pendleton

Pacha Du Polder's trainer Paul Nicholls and a team of experts made the decision to allow the 35-year-old the chance to fulfil her dream of appearing at next week's Festival.

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Somerset trainer misses out on Gold Cup win

Silviniaco Conti misses out on Gold Cup win Credit: PA:David Davies

Somerset trainer Paul Nicholls has missed out on his 5th Gold Cup win with Silviniaco Conti. Talking to Channel 4 Nicholls said there were "no excuses" and the "winner was impressive."

Coneygree won the cup with Djakadam coming second and Road to Riches was third.

Trainer Paul Nicholls is hoping for a Gold Cup win

Somerset trainer Paul Nicholls is hoping for his fifth win with Silviniaco Conti who is favourite Credit: ITV News

It's the final and biggest day of the Cheltenham Festival.

70 thousand racegoers are expected at Prestbury Park for today's big race, the Gold Cup.

Somerset trainer Paul Nicholls is hoping for his fifth win with Silviniaco Conti who is favourite.

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