The ultimate guide to St Patrick’s Day at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival

We take a look ahead to St Patrick’s Day at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival and the full schedule of races for 17 March

The Tipster
By The Tipster
ruby walsh
Will Ruby Walsh be crowned top jockey at Cheltenham 2016? Photo: British Racing

St Patrick’s Day at the Cheltenham Festival is arguably the most enjoyable race day of the entire season and this year the fixture will take place on Thursday 17 March.

If you haven’t been to Prestbury Park to experience the meeting then you are missing out and here’s what you have to look forward to on an incredible afternoon of racing.

The full schedule for St Patrick’s Day 2016:

Race One – The JLT Novices’  Chase

The opening race on Thursday is a 2m 4f contest and is a newer addition to the Festival schedule, having had its first run in 2011.

Some classy novices have won this race since it was first run, with the likes of Vautour, Taquin Du Seuil and Sir Des Champs all past winners.

Race Two – The Pertemps Network Final

Although a handicap, this contest has Listed status and takes place over three miles of the New Course at Cheltenham.

The field is made up of qualifiers from eight races that take place in the preceding months of the jumps season, and past winners include Call The Cops, Fingal Bay, Holywell and dual-winner Buena Vista.

Race Three – The Ryanair Steeple Chase

A classy Grade One contest, this race often features high calibre runners who would otherwise perhaps struggle to meet the demands of the Gold Cup, both in distance and class.

Nevertheless, some hugely talented winners have won the race, notably Imperial Commander who went on to win the Gold Cup in 2010 having won this race the previous year.

Dynaste, Cue Card and dual-winner Albertas Run all feature on the winners’ list for this top-class event.

Race Four – The Ladbrokes World Hurdle Race

The big race of the day, the World Hurdle is a three mile race for long distance hurdlers and is another Group One contest. 

The most famous winner of the race is Big Buck’s, and the imperious hurdler won this race an unprecedented four times, beating the record of three wins set by Inglis Drever.

Race Five – The Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate

A handicap contest over two miles four furlongs, the race was formerly the Byrne Group Plate, and this contest invariably attracts a big field. A graveyard for favourite backers, this race has a penchant for big-priced winners, and recent victors have carried some huge odds.

Past winners of this race include Ballynagour, Great Endeavour and Carrickboy.

Race Six – The Trull House Stud  Mares Novices’ Hurdle

A new addition to the Festival roster, this 2m 1f novices’ event for mares will have its’ inaugural running at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival..

Race Seven – The Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup

A second race open to amateur jockeys only, this contest closes proceedings on the third day of the Cheltenham Festival, and the three-mile event is invaribaly a keenly contested big field affair.

The Package, Spring Heeled, Sunnyhillboy and Cloudy Lane have all won this race in the past, and so can often be a useful pointer towards the Grand National at Aintree in future seasons.

Cheltenhamfestival.net guides you through the 2016 Festival race cards and provides all the news and Cheltenham tips you need to enjoy the Festival.

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