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Cheltenham racing over jumps is the most well known in the sport. The track in the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire is the home of British National Hunt racing. There are good transport links to the course and it is located 100 miles from London and 40 miles from Birmingham. Cheltenham racing for the four days of the festival attracts daily crowds of 65,000 which makes the festival the most attended meeting in Britain.
Cheltenham racing takes place on two undulating tracks. The New Course and Old Course are oval in shape, left-handed and one and a half miles in distance. The obstacles that have to be jumped during Cheltenham racing are demanding and small errors can result in falls. Safety is a major issue for organisers of Cheltenham racing but there are fatalities which do not reflect well on Cheltenham racing.
Cheltenham Racing Leading Trainers
Irish trainers Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins have dominated Cheltenham racing over the last two Festivals. They are both based in Ireland and are supported by wealthy backers who invest in the horses with most potential. Of the British trainers Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson have produced the most Cheltenham racing winners over the last few years. Henderson holds the record for the most winners at the Cheltenham Festival, but Mullins is not far behind.
Jonjo O’Neil has won races at the festival as a trainer and jockey and is one of the most well-known characters in the history of Cheltenham racing. He was the jockey when Dawn Run won the Champion Hurdle in 1984 and the Gold Cup in 1986. The mare is the only horse to have won those two championship races so has a special place in the history of Cheltenham racing.
Cheltenham Racing Leading Jockeys
Tony McCoy is the most successful jockey in jumps racing and before retirement he enjoyed many great Cheltenham racing wins. He has won the Champion Hurdle and Gold Cup and many other major festival Cheltenham racing races. The festival is the meeting the jockeys look forward to the most because the atmosphere is unique. The huge crowds make the annual Cheltenham racing festival a very special occasion.
Of the current jockeys Sam-Twiston Davies, Richard Johnson and Ruby Walsh have been the most successful. In the few days before the festival some jockeys are reluctant to take rides on unreliable jumpers. They fear a fall and injury that would prevent them from enjoying the biggest Cheltenham racing occasion of the season.