The Cheltenham Festival: Racing, Betting and Live Streaming
The annual horse racing calendar is filled with festivals of all shapes and sizes, but none of them offer as much entertainment, engagement and, importantly, scope for live streaming, as Cheltenham. Held every year at the Cheltenham Racecourse, the Cheltenham Festival is a must attend event for jump jockeys and trainers from the top stables in the UK, Ireland and beyond.
Although Cheltenham doesn't court as much attention with the masses as the Grand National; among the racing fraternity, the event is arguably the most important in the National Hunt season. Indeed, between the festival's major races and its prize money (as well as the money wagered), Cheltenham is second only to the Grand National in terms of size and stature.
One of the main reasons the Cheltenham Festival is so popular with horse racing fans, other than the quality of its races, is the fact it traditionally falls on St Patrick's Day. For those of you who are unsure of what that means, the Cheltenham Festival takes place in mid-March each year and that means the live streaming antics will kick into life around March 15.
Cheltenham Racecourse: A Complete Form Guide
Cheltenham Racecourse is located in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK, and is situated away from the main town in a rural setting. A natural amphitheatre carved into the landscape of the Cotswold Hills, the course is one of the most aesthetically pleasing in the world and, due to its size and location, it can hold an impressive 67,500 spectators.
In years gone by the racecourse had its own steam railway station that connected to the national circuit. Although this is no longer the case, the railway is still a major feature of the racecourse and one of the reasons Cheltenham is one of the more traditional race meets.
In structural terms, Cheltenham Racecourse is split into two main sections: the Old Course and the New Course. Although both courses are deemed to be a test for even the best horses, the New Course has a slightly tougher downhill run. Moreover, in something that's relatively rare for jump races, Cheltenham's hurdles are often situated at the opening straight of the course which leaves an unusually long run into the home straight.
Away from the famous Old and New Courses, Cheltenham also has a cross-country course that runs outside of the main circuit. Bringing all these elements together is the famous Centaur auditoria. Capable of holding 2,000 seated spectators, this open air stand is one of the largest in England and allows Cheltenham to host a range of events, including concerts, conferences and graduation ceremonies.
The Cheltenham Festival
Aside from the Grand National, the Cheltenham Festival is the richest race meet in the UK and thanks, in part, to the attendance of top stables in the UK and Ireland. Indeed, given the festival's proximity to St Patrick's Day, a number of Irish racing fans will make the trip over to Gloucestershire or watch an online horse racing stream via their computers.
The main appeal of Cheltenham for race fans is the high concentration of Grade I races on the schedule. The quality of runners and riders not only makes it an impressive spectacle in terms of racing prowess, but it means there is a huge amount of scope for betting with the largest bookmakers in the industry.
Cheltenham's Major Races
Because the Cheltenham Festival offers a higher concentration of Grade I races than any other festival, the organisers place particular emphasis on a handful of races which take place over a four day period.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup: Taking place on the New Course, this Grade I race is contested over a 3 mile 2 1/2 furlong circuit. Since the race was first run in 1924 the format has been tweaked; however, today, the race contains 22 fences and it's open to any Grade I horse aged five and over. Given the standard of runners in the race, The Cheltenham Gold Cup is regarded as the most prestigious National Hunt event in the industry.
The Queen Mother Champion Chase: Another Grade I race that takes place on Cheltenham's Old Course, the Queen Mother Champion Chase is a testament to the festival's royal connections and is often regarded as one of the most entertaining races of the year. Stretched over a 2 mile course and laced with 12 fences, the Champion Chase is always the feature race of Day 2 at Cheltenham and traditionally offers a purse in excess of £350,000.
The World Hurdle: Regarded as the leading long-distance race on the National Hunt calendar, the World Hurdle is open to runners aged four-years-old and above carrying a weight of 11 stone. In modern times the race has been run on the New Course over a distance of three miles, during which a horse will be required to clear 12 fences.
The Champion Hurdle: Although not as prestigious as the Gold Cup, the Champion Hurdle is arguably one of the most intense and revered races on the racing calendar. Contested over a distance of 2 miles 2 1/2 furlongs, this race contains eight hurdles and the first runner across the line is given the lion's share of a prizepool worth around £400,000.
Cheltenham's Legendary Runners and Riders
Over the years Cheltenham has seen some sensational races contested by the finest horse ever to grace the sport and the same goes for the men in the saddle. A look through the list of top riders at the Cheltenham Festival in recent times reads like a who's who of racing.
Also on the list of multiple race winners is the likes of Mick Fitzgerald, Richard Dunwoody and Peter Scudamore; however, when it comes to overall success at the Cheltenham Festival, there is no one who can challenge Mr. Walsh.
Aside from claiming as many as five wins in a single festival, Walsh managed to win more Cheltenham races than any other jockey between 1980 and 2015 with a staggering
Indeed, names such as Tony McCoy, Barry Geraghty, Ruby Walsh and Jamie Osborne have all claimed five titles in a single festival.
Behind the men in the saddle a similarly impressive list of trainers sits. Owing to the prestige of Cheltenham, many of the UK and Ireland's top trainers focus much of their resources on the four-day festival. This means they often peak a number of horse at the same time and the end result is often a plethora of winners.
In recent years Willie Mullins has dominated with a total of 21 wins between 2011 and 2015. However, as impressive as this tally is, the honour of the most consistent trainer over a number of years goes to Paul Nicholls. The man behind Cheltenham Gold Cup winners in 1999, 2007, 2008 an 2009 as well as countless other festival titles, Nicholls has almost made a career out of training champions for the leading National Hunt festival in the sport.
Cheltenham 2016 Live Stream
As in previous years, Cheltenham 2016 will take place in March with the Gold Cup slated to get underway on the 18th. Early markets already have a number of horses among the favourites for the trophy, including Vautour, Coneygree, Don Cossack and Don Poli.
Although the odds will change multiple times before the off, the fact markets are already available for the 2016 festival shows its immense popularity. Helping to ensure top quality fields and impressive prizepools for many of the major races in 2016 will be a selection of online betting companies. From the likes of Stan James and Betway, to Betfair, the Cheltenham Festival will be awash with betting banners in 2016 and that means there will be a slew of ways to ante-up when the action gets underway.
Naturally, with so much action taking place over a four-day period, the best way to stay in touch with all the latest winners and losers (other than attending the event in person) is to watch a dedicated Cheltenham Festival live stream. Inside PlayLiveStream.com you'll find a dedicated hub designed to make all the action as accessible as possible.
By clicking through the horse racing tab and entering the Cheltenham 2016 live stream portal, you'll be able to watch HD quality streams of all the major races. Whether you're a fan of the Gold Cup or a Champion Chase fanatic, the live streams on PlayLiveStream.com will act as a window into the event's top races.
Aside from giving you the chance to catch all the action in real time, these live racing streams will run alongside a selection of betting options. Located just a few clicks away, these betting markets will give you the ability to speculate on any horse you think looks strong in the parade ring or any rider who has shone in previous races.
By combining live racing streams and online betting options, you can not only make a lot more money from Cheltenham 2016, but you'll enjoy the action more than ever. Although reading reports and watching video highlights of the event gives you some sense of the buzz around the racecourse, the only true way to experience the action is to watch it as it unfolds live.
If you're a fan of horse racing and haven't yet taken in the joys of the Cheltenham Festival, then make sure you tune in to the next Cheltenham 2016 live streams in March.