When is the Cheltenham Festival Gold Cup? What are the odds, tips and how can I watch it?

The 2021 Cheltenham Festival is almost upon us

The 2021 Cheltenham Festival is just around the corner

Last year’s meet was one of the last major sporting events before the Covid-19 pandemic forced the UK into lockdown.

The highlight of the week will be the Gold Cup with Al Boum Photo gunning for history after becoming the first since Best Mate to retain the iconic trophy.

A three-peat is on the cards, but Willie Mullins announced that the horse needs “a big bit of work” to move into contention to join Cottage Rake, Arkle and Best Mate in winning the blue riband three times.

“He’s in great shape. He worked well last week and he’s a big bit of work coming up this week. He’s uncomplicated, he’s very nice to train.

“I didn’t think when we were buying him we’d be in this position, or indeed the day that he ran out in Punchestown, or when he had the mishap with Ruby (Walsh) jumping the last at Cheltenham.

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“He’s got a funny back history – but here he is, a double Gold Cup winner going for his third. We’re very privileged to have him.”

Read more: ‘Big three’ stand their ground for Arkle at Cheltenham Festival

Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s race:

When is the Gold Cup?

The race is on Friday 19th March.

Runners will go to post at 3.05pm.

How can I watch it?

ITV and ITV 4 will broadcast each day’s coverage.

The broadcaster has announced that six races will be shown live each day within their live slot between 1pm and 4.30pm. There will now be 35 minutes between races.

You can stream the race online via the ITV Hub.

Read more:

How many fences in the Gold Cup?

The Gold Cup represents a true test of a stayer’s stamina with 22 fences spread out over three miles and two and a half furlongs.

Who is running?

The field is still to be finally decided but defending champion Al Boum Photo, 2020 RSA Chase winner Champ and Henry De Bromhead’s A Plus Tard are likely to feature at the sharp end of the betting come race day.

What are the odds?

Al Boum Photo 5/2

A Plus Tard, Champ 5/1

Royale Pagaille 8/1

Kemboy 10/1

Frodon, Minella Indo 12/1

Native Rive, Santini 14/1

Allaho 20/1

Imperial Aura 25/1

Lostintranslation, Melon, Samcro 33/1

Burrows Saint, Vinndication 40/1

Battleoverdoyen, Real Steel, Saint Calvado, Shattered Love 50/1

Aso, Black Op, Magic of Light 66/1

Via Betfair

Will there be any fans?

There was widespread criticism for allowing the event to go ahead with fans last year, but this year there will be no fans at the legendary race course.

So the festival will go ahead behind closed doors due to the current guidelines in the UK over Covid-19.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s road map out of lockdown revealed that step three will see stadiums with a capacity of 40,000 or more can welcome back up to 10,000 no earlier than 17 May.

Smaller stadiums will be permitted to host up to 25 per cent of their capacities, but with Cheltenham Festival before the UK can possibly enter step three, no fans will be allowed at the 2021 Festival. 

A Cheltenham Racecourse statement read: “Based on current Government restrictions, professional sport is able to continue under stringent health and safety protocols, without spectators present.

“In horseracing’s case this is vital to support the livelihoods of the many thousands of people who rely on the industry and for the welfare of the thousands of thoroughbred racehorses who live and train in Britain.

“This means that under current restrictions, The Festival will take place as a televised event, but sadly without spectators at the course. We continue to monitor Government guidance and should this change in advance of The Festival we will act accordingly.”

Racing coverage is brought to you in association with Betfair. Build your free bet pot for Cheltenham with Betfair. Bet £20 across UK & Irish racing, Get £10 free bet on the Cheltenham Festival. Runs every Saturday. Terms: Min £20 in Exch bets on Saturday races, excludes ante-post. Max £10 free bet per qualifying day, awarded 15/03. Betfair Rewards ‘Basic’ customers excluded. T&Cs apply

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