Cheltenham Racecourse Guide
The Cheltenham Racecourse facilities are located in a massive natural amphitheatre. The racing facilities consist of three racetracks. All the tracks on the racecourse are known for the undulations of the turf which make racing extremely demanding. The racetracks also feature relatively steep uphill and downhill sections that can have a significant impact on a horse’s progress in any race.
The Cheltenham Old Course
Traditionally, the first 2 days of the Cheltenham Festival are run on the Cheltenham Old course. The old course is a 1-mile, 4-furlong oval with a 350 yard run-in. The course is left-handed & features nine fences & six hurdles.
The fences on the Cheltenham Old Course are particularly challenging with open ditches on the 4th and 6th fences and a water jump on the 3rd fence. Despite the severe undulations on the Old Course it tends to feature a sharp to galloping pace.
The race gathers pace at the top of the hill, and the last two fences exact a particularly heavy toll on jockeys who aren’t timing jumps perfectly. The layout of the Cheltenham Old Course requires jockeys to balance stamina and pace.
The Cheltenham New Course
The final two days of the Cheltenham Festival are run on the Cheltenham New Course. The New Course is a 1-mile, 5-furlong oval with a 220 yard run-in. The course is left-handed and features ten notoriously stiff fences and six hurdles.
The 3rd and 5th fences on the Cheltenham New Course are accompanied with open ditches and a water jump is located on the 2nd fence. The course is designed to facilitate extensions for different race lengths, incorporating five additional fences and three additional hurdles.
The new course has the same undulating surface as the old track, and encourages racing at a gallop with races over hurdles facilitating the fastest speeds.
Despite the fast pace of the races stamina is regarded as the most important attribute a racehorse can have if it is to succeed on the demanding track.
The Cheltenham Cross Country Course
The Cheltenham Cross Country Course is a relatively new addition to the Cheltenham Racecourse facilities and was created by using natural obstacles whilst pulling together features of both the Old Course and New Course to create an approximate figure-of-eight shape. The last three furlongs of races run on the Cross Country course are run on the Old Course.