Everything you need to know for Cheltenham Festival 2019

Runners and riders line up at the Cheltenham Festival. Credit: PA images

It's one of the highlights of the racing calendar with more than 65,000 people expected to head to Cheltenham racecourse over the next four days.

  • Where and when does it take place?

The four day event takes place at Cheltenham Racecourse, otherwise known as Prestbury Park, from Tuesday 12th - Friday 15th March 2019

  • What should you wear?

Racegoers watch the action on Ladies Day. Credit: PA images

Cheltenham has a more relaxed atmosphere and the weather can be unpredictable, so the dress code is usually warm coats and flat caps.

Some women and men dress up for Ladies Day and there are usually plenty of colourful hats on show.

Fancy dress is permitted as long as the outfit is not offensive.

  • How do I get there?

The postcode for the racecourse is GL50 4SH. However on a race day visitors are advised to follow the yellow, temporary signs in the local area.

More details on trains, buses and road closures here.

The original Cheltenham Gold Cup makes a return to the course this year. Credit: PA images
  • What's different this year?

The 1924 Cheltenham Gold Cup comes back to life having resurfaced after being ‘lost’ for years.

It weighs 644 grams of nine carat gold and is plated in 18 carat gold.

The trophy was offered to the course by a private owner who had kept it in a bank vault since the 1970s.

The course has changed too... racecourse officials have decided to move a fence to reduce risks for horses and jockeys.

The second-last fence will be moved 10 yards up the hill, closer to the winning post and further from the bend.

It follows a safety review by the British Horseracing Authority after seven horses had to be put down at last year's festival.

A record number of people attended the races in 2018. Credit: PA images
  • What are the most important races?

Tuesday 12 March – Champion DayFeature Race – the Unibet Champion Hurdle

Wednesday 13 March – Ladies DayFeature Race – the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase

Thursday 14 March – St Patrick’s ThursdayFeature Races – the Ryanair Chase / the Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle

Friday 15 March – Gold Cup DayFeature Race – the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup

  • Who is the favourite to win the Gold Cup?

The Gold Cup is the feature race of the entire festival with £625,000 up for grabs for the winner.

Native River returns to defend his crown after a thrilling race last year which saw him triumph over the favourite Mite Bite - who is also back.

The Irish will be pinning their hopes on Presenting Percy.

Somerset trainer Paul Nicholls is also setting his sights on a fifth Gold Cup win with Clan des Obeaux a strong favourite.

Devon's Bryony Frost could also make history if she rides Frodon to victory and becomes the first female jockey ever to win the prestigious race.

Could Frodon and Bryony Frost be on their way to victory? Credit: PA images
  • How can I watch it?

If you can't be there then you can still watch all the main races live on ITV1.

ITV Racing will broadcast five races a day on ITV in a three-and-a-half hour live show as well as the Opening Show daily on ITV4.

  • What is the latest weather forecast?

The second day of Cheltenham Festival is understood to be under threat due to strong winds.

Organisers have announced a precautionary inspection will take place at 8am on Wednesday morning, to decide if Wednesday's card will go ahead.

Gusts of 40mph are expected to batter the racecourse on Wednesday and course clerk Simon Claisse says officials are monitoring the weather carefully.

We will continue to update this article with the latest information and weather forecasts - so keep checking back.