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Cheltenham Festival 2017: Horses to WatchPosted on Monday 20th February 2017 @ 12.43

We are now just weeks away from the 2017 meeting. Here’s a look at some of the star attractions this year.

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The Cheltenham Festival is the biggest race meeting on the National Hunt calendar in the UK. It takes place every March, with 28 races across the four days. Racing fans from the UK, Ireland, and further afield flock to Cheltenham in their numbers every year, and those who can’t make it down to Gloucestershire find themselves glued to the action on TV.

Thistlecrack – Cheltenham Gold Cup

Thistlecrack is the 7/4 favourite in the Betway odds for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the feature race of the week. It takes places on the Friday and, along with the Grand National at Aintree, is the race every owner, trainer, and jockey wants to win.

Colin Tizzard trains Thistlecrack and he made the decision to switch his horse to chasing earlier in the season. This means he will now jump over fences rather than hurdles, which he was familiar with in the 2015/16 campaign. That move was a risk as some horses don’t take to fences very well. However, that has not been the case with Thistlecrack as he won the prestigious King George Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day to firmly establish himself as the horse to beat at Cheltenham.

Watch out for this horse’s tremendous cruising speed. At Kempton, he was able to break away from his rivals without jockey Tom Scudamore even shaking his reins. If successful at Cheltenham, the discipline could have a new figurehead and he could take the sport to new levels.

Unowhatimeanharry – Stayers’ Hurdle

Anybody who is called Harry or has a friend with that name is sure to be backing Unowhatimeanharry in the Stayers’ Hurdle on day three of the meeting this year. This horse has been on an incredible run of form, winning his last eight races. The nine-year-old is far from flamboyant but he really battles well and refuses to be beaten. It is this attitude that has won him over so many supporters. His toughest test to date is likely to come at the Festival this year where he is looking to win the leading 3m hurdling race of the week.

Day one of the Festival takes place on March 14th this year, with the opening race taking place at 1.30pm. Enjoy the racing and good luck if you are having a bet!

Article Posted on Monday 20th February 2017 @ 12.43

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