A look at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival

With less than one month until the 2016 Cheltenham Festival gets underway, it’s time to start checking out the form guides, betting markets and runners and riders for each and every race. The festival itself will span four days and plays host to a number of Group One races – including the prestigious Cheltenham Gold Cup, Queen Mother Champion Chase and the Champion Hurdle.

In 2015, almost a quarter of a million people passed through the famous gates of Cheltenham and officials are estimating over 250,000 to attend this year’s festival. The event is growing at a rapid rate and avid racing fans from all over the world now travel to Cheltenham to see the best horses on the planet compete against each other in some of the biggest races in the sport.

2016 Cheltenham Festival

This year, many punters will be hoping the Ruby Walsh-Willie Mullins combination strikes gold again. In 2015, the duo combined for a treble on the opening day of the festival, which has since been labelled as “Ruby Tuesday”. The nine-time Cheltenham top jockey is looking for yet another accolade this year and stands a great chance with Mullins’ horses.

Walsh will be riding the likes of Faugheen, Douvan and Annie Power once again and his mounts’ odds have shot in considerably in recent weeks. In fact, Coral now price a Min, Douvan, Faugheen and Annie Power quadruple at just 6/1. As the betting markets heat up, so does the excitement and anticipation for the event – we simply cannot wait!

It’s not all about Ruby Walsh however, there are plenty of other jockeys that are more than worth considering throughout the festival. The likes of Barry Geraghty, Sam Twiston-Davies and David Bass are all likely to feature on the podium this year and the latter is sure to be confident of a convincing victory on Barters Hill as well as Charbel against Mullins’ novice Min in the first race of the festival.

Throughout the four-day event, there is sure to be plenty of drama, excitement and emotion. Anything can happen at the meeting but that’s what makes the Cheltenham Festival so special and unique. Nobody can take anything for granted, just look at Annie Power’s fall in the Mares’ Hurdle last year. With a bit of luck, punters will come out on top – as they did on the opening day of the 2015 festival – but most importantly, everyone has a good time, including the fans, owners, jockeys and of course, the horses!