New Year’s Day Meeting 2021 at Cheltenham Racecourse

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The Cheltenham Racecourse is best known around the globe for the Festival that takes place in march every year. Every horse racing enthusiast and bettors must have heard about it at least once, especially when it comes to compare the best sign up offers for Cheltenham and bet on favourites horses. However, it would not be fair to say that this majestic racecourse has nothing else to boast about.

For example, the November meeting is known as the beginning of the jump racing season, so it should receive plenty of attention. Another important event that sees many horse racing lovers visit Cheltenham is the New Year’s Day Meeting. As you can guess, it takes place on January 1 and marks the beginning of the new year.

In this article, we will tell you everything there is to know about this unique equestrian event and show you what events to look out for.

Cheltenham New Year’s Day Meeting Schedule

Due to the timing of the New Year’s Day Metting at Cheltenham, it is hard to come up with a bulletproof schedule. Sometimes, races are postponed because of snowfall or other types of severe weather.

However, if everything goes as planned, these are the main races you can expect to see and bet on in 2021:

1. BALLYMORE NOVICES’ HURDLE

This race runs over a course of 2 miles 4 furlongs and 56 yards, over 10 fences and on a new course.

The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle race consists of ten hurdles and usually features around ten horses at the line-up. This is a Class 1 race for horses of ages four and above and usually lasts for less than 5 minutes.

2020 WINNERS

  • Horse: Imperial Alcazar
  • Jockey: P J Brennon
  • Trainer: F.O*Brien
  • Overall Prize Money: £24,600
  • For The Winner: £14,238

2. HANDICAP CHASE

Class 2 Chase type of race runs over a course of 3 miles 2 furlongs and 70 yards, over 22 fences and on a new course.

This handicap chase race is second in line at the New Year’s Day Meeting and is reserved for horses who are at least five years of age. It features 22 hurdles that horses usually take around 4 minutes to tackle. This race has a pretty attractive reward, but you shouldn’t expect too many contestants for it.

2020 WINNERS

  • Horse: Oldgrangewood
  • Jockey: Harry Skelton
  • Trainer: D Skelton
  • Overall Prize Money: £25,600
  • For The Winner: £15,640

3. DIPPER NOVICES’ CHASE

Grade 2 race runs over a course of 2 miles 4 furlongs and 127 yards, over 17 fences and on a new course.

The third race of the day is where fast, novice horses can show all they can do. This Grade 2 hurdle race is run over 17 fences and the action is usually done in around 5 minutes. Only horses who are at least five years old can compete.

2020 WINNERS

  • Horse: Midnight Shadow
  • Jockey: Danny Cook
  • Trainer: Sue Smith
  • Overall Prize Money: £34,500
  • For The Winner: £20,026

4. HANDICAP CHASE

Grade 3 race runs over a course of 2 miles 4 furlongs and 127 yards, over 17 fences and on a new course.

Race number four at Cheltenham’s New Year’s Day Meeting is a Grade 3 event that’s pretty much the same in terms of the number of fences as the race number 3. It has 17 hurdles that horses older than the age of 5 can navigate.

Moreover, this is a handicap race, which is something that makes it different and unique. The race began in 1990 and was granted the Grade 3 status back in 2009.

2020 WINNERS

  • Horse: Oldgrangewood
  • Jockey: Dan Skelton
  • Trainer: Harry Skelton
  • Overall Prize Money: £69,000
  • For The Winner: £39,389

5. HANDICAP HURDLE

Class 2 Hurdle type of race runs over a course of 2 miles 7 furlongs and 213 yards, over 12 fences and on a new course.

If you like races with a massive field, then the fifth race of the day is the right choice for you. It is a Class 2 event that usually has more than 10 horses at the line-up. Only 4-year olds and older horses can compete and try to jump over 12 demanding fences. As you can see from its name, this is another handicap hurdle race.

2020 WINNERS

  • Horse: Skandiburg
  • Jockey: Gavin Sheehan
  • Trainer: Olly Murphy
  • Overall Prize Money: £24,600
  • For The Winner: £15,640

6. RELKEEL HURDLE

Grade 2 race runs over a course of 2 miles 4 furlongs and 56 yards, over 10 fences and on a new course.

The last race of the day worth mentioning in our opinion is the Relkeel Hurdle Grade 2 event. It’s reserved for horses who are at least five years old and has only ten hurdles. That makes it a very fast and exciting event. Most often, there are between 5 and 10 horses competing for the main purse.

2020 WINNERS

  • Horse: Summerville Boy
  • Jockey: Jonathan Burke
  • Trainer: Tom George
  • Overall Prize Money: £49,200
  • For The Winner: £28,475

New Year’s Day Meeting 2021 at Cheltenham Racecourse

What To Expect On New Year’s Day at the Festival

New Year’s Day Meeting at Cheltenham does not offer the same glamorous experience of the Cheltenham Festival, but you’ll still get to enjoy some fun festive atmosphere! You can expect complete strangers to wish you a Happy New Year and continue the party from the night before along your side.

The New Year’s Day Meeting is also a family event, as there are usually plenty of activities for children as well, so the entire family can enter the new year in a jolly way.

Considering the time when this race takes place, you should not really expect to see many celebrities at the Cheltenham Racecourse. The Royal Family usually spends the day at home, with the loved ones, so the majority of people you’ll meet will be regular racegoers.

However, it is not that unheard of to spot some celebrities who have a knack for horse racing and take every chance to be outside at the racecourse.

You can surely expect to see all your favourite jockeys, trainers, and owners who would never miss a chance to warm up their horses and their skills before the big Cheltenham Festival.

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