The Cheltenham Festival 2023: A Guide
Everything you need to know about the four-day horse racing extravaganza
The most prestigious jump racing event of the year, The Cheltenham Festival commences next week, running from 14–17 March 2023, marking the start of the social season.
Each year over 260,000 people flock to The Jockey Club for four days of horse racing, live music, food and drink. Horses are made heroes and reputations of top jockeys are on the line. Champions return to retain their crown, while others battle to steal the limelight. It’s a week of drama and high emotion, with moments of pure theatre thrown in for good measure. There’s plenty to enjoy off the track too: from shopping to restaurants to entertainment. Here’s everything you need to know about The Cheltenham Festival 2023.
The festival is held at Cheltenham Racecourse, Evesham Road, Cheltenham, GL50 4SH. It’s a five-minute drive from the town centre.
The festival takes place from 14 – 17 March 2023. Gates open at The Festival every day at 10.30am. The first race is at 1.30pm, and the last race at 5.30pm. Each day there is a feature race at 3.30pm.
- Day One: Featuring the Unibet Champion Hurdle
- Day Two: Featuring the Betway Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase
- Day Three: Featuring the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle Race and the Ryanair Steeple Chase
- Day Four: Featuring the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup
Incredible horses are set to run. On day one, watch out for superstar Constitution Hill and State Man in the Champion Hurdle; on day two favourites include Edwardstone and Editeur Du Gite in the Queen Mother Champion Chase; and on day three Teahupoo is the favourite to win the Stayers’ Hurdle. For the Gold Cup, meanwhile, Galopin Des Champs is the current favourite, with other horses to watch including Protektorat and A Plus Tard.
The dining options at the festival are world class, with over 45,000 meals being plated up over the four days and a fantastic 3,500 catering team taking part each day. In true British style over 9,000 gallons of tea and coffee are consumed, with nine tons of locally produced potatoes and five tons of locally sourced salmon devoured throughout the week. Local produce is in fact at the heart of the festival’s catering, with up to 70 percent of the fruit and vegetables coming from within the Cotswolds region and 100 percent of the cheese produced within 50 miles of Cheltenham. What’s more, the entirety of the afternoon tea selection is quintessentially ‘best of British’.
An exciting new addition for 2023 is Core on Course, the first sporting hospitality experience by Michelin-star chef Clare Smyth, famed for her Notting Hill restaurant Core by Clare Smyth. She’ll be bringing her acclaimed cooking to the festival, offering a six-course tasting menu alongside paired wines selected by head sommelier Head Sommelier Gareth Ferreira.
Award-wining venues include The Horse and Groom Pub, a relaxed and informal spot which overlooks the final two fences of the racecourse. Elsewhere visitors can dine in the company of the iconic Roux family at Chez Roux, one of the most prestigious restaurants at the festival hosted by the world-renowned Albert Roux, his son Michel Roux Jr. and granddaughter Emily. The Champions Walk Restaurant, meanwhile, offers great views of the horses as they move between the Parade Ring and the course, alongside a menu focused around local Cornish produce.
C&TH is thrilled to be the official media partner for the Fitzdares’ Partners Bar within The Orchard. Situated in the heart of the Tented Village and open to Club Enclosure ticket holders, The Orchard is home to brands such as Boodles, Nyetimber and Bentley, offering top-class entertainment and unique experiences for racegoers.
For the first time ever, this year The Orchard is offering a walk-in dining experience, set within an idyllic orangery and serving Asian-inspired dishes. Guests can enjoy curries, skewers and sweet treats while sipping Whispering Angel rosé and beers from Gloucester Brewery.
The Fitzdares Club Partners Bar is an invitation-only area within The Orchard. It’s a venture from The Fitzdares Club, which was originally created as an upmarket live sport pop-up back in 2018. As the pop-up moved across London’s most exclusive clubs, its popularity grew, and in 2020 Fitzdares found a permanent home in Mayfair. Lavish sports viewing is the focus, with state-of-the-art equipment and daily HD sporting streams of everything from Royal Ascot to the Champions League.
Fancy going to the extra mile? Delight in booking one of The Orchard’s exclusive Pods, complete with a private balcony and available to hire for 12 up to 20 guests.
While there is no formal dress code in place, many guests like to dress up for Cheltenham. You can get some inspiration from model and TV presenter Rosie Tapner here – or why not go the extra mile and book in for a personal shopping experience at Festival Fashion partner Holland Cooper? It’s worth noting that two-thirds of the car parks are on grass, so suitable footwear is advised, and bear in mind the weather can be unpredictable.
Tickets for the festival are on sale from £55. thejockeyclub.co.uk
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