Latest Cheltenham Festival News 2021

Gold Cup News and More

First things first, if you are reading this, you already know the dates of this year’s Festival and you are looking instead for the Cheltenham Festival latest news and we have it all here for you.

A lot has happened in the last few days and we are going to update you on all things related to Cheltenham races odds and how they might be affected by events that have taken place in the last week.

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The racing world and beyond has been in shock following the release (by persons unknown) of a damning photograph showing top NH trainer Gordon Elliott posing rather jauntily with a dead horse, which has since done the rounds on social media.

Cheltenham Festival latest news on the Gordon Elliott saga is that all eight of his Cheveley Park horses have already gone to pastures new.  His best horse, Envoi Allen, was a dead cert (perhaps not the most appropriate turn of phrase at this time) for the Marsh Novices’ Chase, but the glory for a win will now go to one of Elliott’s biggest rivals, Henry de Bromhead.  Sir Gerhard, a favourite for the Champion Bumper, has gone to Willie Mullins.

Even more shocking is the decision of the Gigginstown House Stud which has pledged continued support to Elliott, meaning their horses, including Tiger Roll, will remain at his yard.  This leaves a huge question mark hanging over the horse’s head.  Tiger Roll, who is a main contender for this year’s Glenfarclas Chase, has already been withdrawn from the 2021 Grand National and if he doesn’t run at Cheltenham, he may be retired without a final chance of glory.

The one glimmer of hope is that the horses still in Gordon Elliott’s care will stay in training under the scrutiny and licence of Elliott’s neighbour, Irish trainer Denise Foster, meaning they will be permitted to race at Cheltenham.  Foster seems to think it is a done deal and posted an ill-advised Tweet, which also suggested that Elliott would be assisting her; we note this was withdrawn a short time later and edited rather hastily!

Cheltenham Festival Latest News: Important - Race Times Have Changed

As this year’s Festival must go ahead without spectators, certain special allowances have been made for television coverage of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival racing.  In a historic first, ITV will be televising six races on each day of the Festival, rather than the standard five contracted.  To accommodate this, the day’s racing will begin earlier and the gap between races has been reduced, meaning the starting time of every race has changed too.

The first race of each day will now start at 1.20pm and there is only 35 minutes between the races.

In our pursuit of Cheltenham Festival latest news, we have seen many online sources where the race times have not been updated.  We would hate for you to miss out on the chance to get the best Cheltenham betting deals or to see the races in action.

Cheltenham Festival Latest News: The Full, Updated Race Schedule

Below is the new race and updated racing schedule for 2021, complete with a bit of extra information about each race:

Tuesday March 16 2021 – Old Course

  • 1.20pm Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1), 2m 87y
  • 1.55pm The Sporting Life Arkle Novices' Chase (Grade 1), 1m 7f 199y
  • 2.30pm Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3), 3m 1f
  • 3.05pm Unibet Champion Hurdle (Grade 1), 2m 87y
  • 3.40pm Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle (Grade 1), 2m 3f 200y
  • 4.15pm The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Race (Grade 3), 2m 4f 44y
  • 4.50pm National Hunt Chase (Amateur Riders' Novices' Chase) (Grade 2), 3m 7f 147y

Wednesday March 17 2021 – Old Course and Cross Country Course

  • 1.20pm Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1), 2m 5f
  • 1.55pm Brown Advisory Novices' Chase (Grade 1), 3m 80y
  • 2.30pm Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3), 2m 5f
  • 3.05pm Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1), 1m 7f 99y
  • 3.40pm *Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase (Ungraded) 3m 6f 37y
  • 4.15pm The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Steeple Chase Challenge Cup (Grade 3), 2m 44y
  • 4.50pm Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade 1), 2m 87y

Thursday March 18 2021 – New Course

  • 1.20pm MARSH Novices' Chase (Grade 1), 2m 3f 166y
  • 1.55pm Pertemps Network Final (Handicap Hurdle) (Grade 3), 2m 7f 213y
  • 2.30pm Ryanair Chase (Grade 1), 2m 4f 127y
  • 3.05pm Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle (Grade 1), 2m 7f 213y
  • 3.40pm Paddy Power Plate (Handicap Chase) (Grade 3), 2m 4f 166y
  • 4.15pm Daylesford Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2), 2m 179y
  • 4.50pm Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase, 3m 2f

Friday, March 19 2021 – New Course

  • 1.20pm JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1), 2m 179y
  • 1.55pm Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3), 2m 179y
  • 2.30pm Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1), 2m 7f 213y
  • 3.05pm WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup (Grade 1), 3m 2f 70y
  • 3.40pm Foxhunter Chase (Amateur Riders), 3m 2f 70y
  • 4.15pm Mrs Paddy Power Mares' Chase (Grade 3), 2m 4f 127y
  • 4.50pm Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle (0-145), 2m 4f 56y


Can’t stay at home to watch? Then why not download a horse racing betting app to place a few cheeky bets or check out the Cheltenham festival latest odds while you are at work, or out and about.

The Three Cheltenham Courses & What You Need to Know About Them

Something that you may not know is that Cheltenham has three different courses, the Old Course, the New Course and its best-kept secret, the Cross-Country Course.  The Cheltenham Festival is one of the rare occasions when all three are used at the same race meeting.  The first two days of the Festival are run on the Old Course, with the exception of the Glenfarclas Chase, and the second two days on the New Course.

The courses all run left-handed and are somewhat undulating, in accordance with Gloucestershire terrain.  The New Course is on the inside and has some tricky, tight turns which have been known to catch out unwary jockeys.  Each features a final long, uphill run-in for which stamina is required and those who have ridden their races wisely tend to be victorious.

The Cross Country Course is only used three times in the racing season, one of which is on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival.  It is a unique figure of eight course, tucked away inside the other two, with 32 challenging obstacles and it needs a very special horse/jockey partnership to negotiate it successfully.

Cheltenham Festival Latest News From the Course

Course experts are predicting that for this years Festival the going will be ‘Good to Soft’.  Prior to 2007 the going was determined by a course official using the sharp end of an umbrella, but these days, a much more technical device is used which believe it or not, is called a ‘GoingStick’.

The going is an important matter for horses and by rote, a big concern for their trainers and jockeys.  There is no doubt that some do not like getting their hooves muddy (the horses that is) whilst others do not jump as freely if the going is too firm.

For the Cheltenham Festival, latest news from Clerk of the Course, Simon Claisse and resident singing weatherman John Kettley is a prediction of “Good to Soft”.  For the uninitiated, that means mostly OK, but a bit muddy in places. Careful walking of the course by trainers and jockeys is indicated.

If the weather continues to hold, then that will be about right, more rain and any talk of ‘Heavy’ going could affect the odds for some of the favourite runners.  It’s not much fun for the jockeys either, unless you are at the front, your pristine silks will change to a delicate shade of brown and you will need mud wipers for your racing goggles.

Cheltenham Festival Latest News From the Bookies

We are watching the annual Cheltenham bookies race closely in the exceptional circumstances of 2021 and so far, few have chosen to declare the full extent of their Cheltenham Festival betting promotions.

However, some are taking the Festival race very seriously already.  Out in front by several lengths is relative newcomer TonyBet, whose 100% of £200 offer for new clients is outclassing the rest of the field.  Get in quick by using the code TONY200 and keep your eyes peeled for more offers before the Festival kicks off.

Still very much in the running and making up ground fast is Paddy Power, with a half-decent new client bonus.  If you place a £5 horse racing bet, you will get a further £20 of free bets plus another £20 (£5 for each day) for Cheltenham, so £40 in total.  Paddy Power has also just released ante-post odds, along with a few Cheltenham-related specials and is hosting a special Cheltenham preview across its social media channels on Monday 8 March.

888sport and Betfair are just ahead of the rest of the field, both having released a new client offer very similar to Paddy Power, but as yet, full ante-post betting odds are not available on either website.  Most of the other big names are still running at a slow and steady pace, with little to choose between them at this stage.

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The End Result

As if the whole Covid thing wasn’t sufficient to upset the Cheltenham Festival apple cart, the 2021 Festival has now been overshadowed by the most unfortunate Gordon Elliott situation.  It does make us wonder if the release of the three-year old photo in question was timed to cause maximum disruption to Elliott’s Cheltenham plans, or whether the perpetrator had a farther-reaching purpose in mind?

Either way, a number of top-class horses have been moved to new yards, which begs the question of whether they will settle in time to perform at their best in time for Cheltenham.  Whether Tiger Roll will run at all hangs in the balance.  There is also a knock-on effect of public outrage connected with their perception of the racing industry, which could affect their decision to wager at all.

The whole sorry scenario is starting to read like a poorly-produced soap opera at the moment and whatever happens at the Cheltenham Festival in 2021, it will be a year that few will look back on as one of the better ones for the racing industry.  Regardless of any doom and gloom, we think you should break out the beers, enjoy the racing and celebrate or commiserate accordingly.

Latest Cheltenham Festival News FAQs

👀 Has Cheltenham schedule been changed 2021?

The 2021 Cheltenham Festival schedule has been changed to accommodate extended television coverage for this year only.  You can find full details of the updated schedule and starting times for all races in our exclusive Cheltenham guides.  Read them here at

🐴 What has happened with Tiger Roll?

Tiger Roll has yet to be confirmed as a runner for Cheltenham 2021.  Read all about what is happening with Tiger Roll, plus loads more Cheltenham-related news in our exclusive betting guides to this year’s Festival.

💰 How can I improve my chances of a winning bet for Cheltenham?

There are many ways to make the most of betting opportunities for the 2021 Cheltenham Festival.  Start by reading our up-to-the-minute Cheltenham guides, where you will find plenty of betting tips and where to find the best betting promotions.

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