One of the first horse racing meets of the year gets underway today in the form of New Year’s Day racing at Cheltenham. The fixture offers punters a glimpse of the runners showing promise for the hugely popular Cheltenham Festival in March.
The famous course is regarded as the undisputed home of jump racing so makes the perfect venue to launch a new year of the equine sport. And at Prestbury Park today, all eyes will be on, in particular, Grade 2 prizes the Paddy Power Novices’ Chase and the Relkeel Hurdle.
Scenes of thundering hooves and roaring crowds are synonymous with this course as each year, race-goers flock to Gloucestershire from across the globe to view the spectacle which is Cheltenham Gold Cup. In addition to this particular fixture, other highlights of the season include The Open in mid-November and of course, today’s New Year’s Day meet.
According to British Horse Racing, the going today is ‘good to soft’ with the weather forecast saying conditions should remain dry and feeling mild with temperatures expected to be around 11C. There are seven races scheduled for today with the first runners and riders heading out in the Ballymore Maiden Hurdle at 12.10pm and the JCB ‘Junior’ National Hunt Flat Race closing the day at 3.40pm.
If you can’t make it today in person but want to watch the action, fear not, ITV has you covered. Ed Chamberlin will be presenting coverage of four races from 1pm to 3.30pm with analysis from Mick Fitzgerald and Sir AP McCoy. Oli Bell, Alice Plunkett, Matt Chapman and Natalie Green will be reporting on the day’s events while Richard Hoiles provides commentary. There will also be live action from racing at Musselburgh and Tramore.