In many observers' eyes, a career in jumps racing is left unfulfilled without a win at the Cheltenham Festival. For horses, trainers and jockeys alike, success in just one of the 28 races that zip around the home of National Hunt racing during four action-packed days is confirmation that they are at the top of their game. There's rarely a dull moment at Prestbury Park during the second week of March, so strap in for one hell of a ride.
Day one preview
For a snapshot of the ferocious gallop that races at the Cheltenham Festival are run, look no further than the opening day, and the Champion Hurdle in particular. The roll of honour for Tuesday's showpiece event has had a distinctly Irish feel about it lately, with five of the last six winners trained in the Emerald Isle. Alan King's Yanworth and Nicky Henderson's Brain Power are the leading candidates to help the UK redress that balance this year, although Willie Mullins' well-fancied Limini could prove tough to overcome.
Champion Hurdle (3.30)
Nicky Henderson's decision to switch him back to hurdles after winning both his chase starts can pay dividends. Still very green when third in a hot Supreme last year, he is more the finished article now and looks to have bags of speed.
Key stat: Five of the last ten winners in this race won their previous start by at least five lengths.
New customer offer
Bet £10 get £30 in free bets, plus 25% win bonus or money back second in every festival race every day that is won by five or more lengths.