The start of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival

The 2018 Cheltenham Festival gets underway today, with the Supreme Novices Hurdle kicking things off at 13:30 local time.

It is part of the National Hunt racing calendar, with race prize money second only to the Grand National.  With prize money totalling just under £5 million, it means that more than £1 million is on offer each day during the four-day event.

The Cheltenham Festival itself is also noted for its atmosphere, famous for the “Cheltenham roar” which is the large amount of noise generated by the crowd as the starter raises the tape for the opening race of the festival.

Wednesday is Ladies Day where you can expect spectators to be dressed up in their best gear ahead of the racing.  Several millions of pounds will be placed on horse racing betting over the next four days and much of that will be placed on the opening race tomorrow, the Ballymore Novices Hurdle, sees Samcro as the odds-on favourite.

The Cheltenham Festival runs in line with St Patrick’s Day each year, falling on the penultimate day of the event.  This year’s most notable race is the Ryanair Chase with Un De Sceaux being the evens favourite in the third race of the day.

Gold Cup Day is the final day of the event, on Friday 16 March.  Many of the best British and Irish-trained horses compete head-to-head and this year’s event is no different.  In the most prestigious race of them all, the Gold Cup, Irish horse Might Bite is currently the bookmakers’ favourite with odds of 4/1 at Betfair.

Might Bite is closely followed by fellow Irish horse Native River, with Betfair currently offering 9/2 on the second favourite.  Our Duke is set to start the race as third favourite with odds of 6/1.

In the following race, Burning Ambition has the shortest odds of the day, at 10/3 in the Foxhunter Chase.

You can expect many celebrities and famous owners to be at the Cheltenham Festival as per usual this year.  Many celebrities up and down the country own race horses – including the Queen, Sir Alex Ferguson and the Duchess of Westminster.

If you know your famous race horse owners or fancy taking a guess, then this quiz sounds like a good fit for you: