It won't be too long until the 2016 Cheltenham Festival

The Cheltenham Horse Racing Festival is one of the highlights on the sporting calendar and tens of thousands of supporters travel to the racecourse every year to witness some of the best horses, jockeys and trainers pit their wits against one another for a number of the sport’s top trophies.

This year’s event was a huge success and the popularity of the event, both at the course and on the television coverage, has only increased the anticipation levels ahead of the 2016 event. Next year’s meeting will begin on Tuesday 15th March and will last for a full four days before the final race on Friday 18th March.

Vautour, who won so impressively at the festival earlier this year, is one of the early contenders to claim success in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which is arguably the most prestigious race of the week. There are a number of impressive horses already included in the betting markets for this race but the selection committee will narrow down the amount of horses involved as the event draws nearer.

By the same token, there are already some top quality horses pencilled in to run in the World Hurdle, which is one of the highlights of Thursday’s action. Jezki, which was a popular mount with AP McCoy before his retirement, and Annie Power, who famously fell at the final hurdle in the Mares’ Hurdle, are just two of the incredible field that could line up for this race.

Ruby Walsh will be well fancied after his tremendous performance at this year’s festival and will get the ride on most of Willie Mullins’ top prospects once again. The Mullins/Walsh combination has been incredible in recent years, particularly at televised meetings, and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see those two feature regularly in the Winners Enclosure throughout the week.

The Cheltenham Festival truly is one of the great spectacles on the sporting calendar and supporters who travel to the racecourse are in for a treat. The atmosphere will be absolutely sensational on-site and anticipation is beginning to grow for the first major festival of the 2016 calendar. While you can watch the racing on terrestrial television, there’s nothing quite like the general buzz and vibe of live horse racing. It’s well worth a trip and, with a bit of luck, you could come home with profit.

PUBLISHED IN ASSOCIATION WITH SLAP-UP-MEDIA