Cheltenham Festival LIVE: Latest updates, tips, racecard and results as day one begins despite coronavirus

Cheltenham Festival LIVE: Latest updates, tips, racecard and results as day one begins despite coronavirus

Follow the latest updates live from the Cheltenham Festival as day one gets underway on Tuesday with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

The second-biggest event on the National Hunt calendar takes place at the Prestbury Park racecourse as all the big names compete for one of the most lucrative meets in the world, with more than £4.5m up for grabs in prize money to make it the highest-earning Cheltenham Festival yet. Having survived fears that the coronavirus outbreak would result in its cancellation, officials are on high alert to keep the Festival as safe as possible, with hand sanitisers and safety advice on display all around the paddock, but with the action set to get underway in the early afternoon, fans are still expected to flock to Cheltenham in their thousand. 

Racing gets underway at 1:30pm with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle up first, but all eyes on day one will be on the Champion Hurdle at 3:30pm as the headline race of the day with an open field that is the largest seen for the last 11 years. Follow the live updates below.

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Reports on Tuesday suggested the channel could be in danger of losing the live rights to televise racing because the broadcaster could not guarantee the biggest events, including the Cheltenham Festival, will be shown on its main channel from next year.

There are nine months remaining on the existing four-year deal, with talks ongoing between ITV and the Racecourse Media Group (RMG), who deal with media rights sales on behalf of the courses.

ITV took over coverage of racing from Channel 4 in 2017 – and Jockey Club Racecourses, which stages the Cheltenham Festival, Randox Health Grand National and Investec Derby, is hoping for a positive resolution.

A spokesperson said: “Discussions continue, and we’re pushing towards a win-win outcome for both parties.”

RMG is similarly optimistic, with a spokeperson adding: “Commercial discussions are at an advanced stage, and we are very hopeful of a positive outcome in the near future.”

  • Jack de Menezes
  • 10 March 2020 12:12
  • Jack de Menezes
  • 10 March 2020 12:04

Who to back on day one at the Cheltenham Festival

  • Jack de Menezes
  • 10 March 2020 11:43

He added: “It’s brutal – it’s not an issue that has ever bothered him before, he’s never taken a lame step in his life. The timing is just ridiculous, but that’s what we say every year – you know something will come and bite you, but there are certain ones that are a bit bigger than the rest.

“It’s very cruel, and cruel on everybody to be fair. To get him back from that race at Ascot to where he is now – he’s been in such brilliant form, but he won’t be there to show it.”

Altior suffered his first defeat over jumps in November after winning 19 consecutive races, beaten by Cyrname in the 1965 Chase at Ascot, but has returned to form by winning Newbury’s Game Spirit Chase in February and was hotly fancied to make it three from three in Wednesday’s main event.

  • Jack de Menezes
  • 10 March 2020 11:12

Altior will not run in Wednesday’s Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival after trainer Nicky Henderson confirmed he had been withdrawn after pulling up lame at the weekend.

The two-time Champion Chase winner was bidding for a third consecutive title this year after cementing its status as one of the Festival greats, having already one the Supreme Novices Hurdle and the Arkle Trophy in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

But Henderson said on Sunday that a dormant splint that had not caused the 10-year-old any previous issues had “reared its ugly head”, and despite naming Altior at the 48-hour declaration following good progress overnight on Monday, his recovery has not progressed as hoped to leave the trainer little choice than to withdraw the horse.

“What is really disappointing is the improvement from the night before last to yesterday morning was so good that we were genuinely optimistic that, as long as that recovery rate was maintained, we figured he’d be sound this morning, and that is not the case,” Henderson told the Press Association.

“It’s flattened off, he hasn’t improved at all from last night, whereas the night before he improved dramatically. Consequently I think it’s only right now that he will be taken out of the race.”

  • Jack de Menezes
  • 10 March 2020 10:55

Altior pulls out of Champion Chase at Cheltenham Festival

  • Jack de Menezes
  • 10 March 2020 10:37
  • Jack de Menezes
  • 10 March 2020 10:32
  • Jack de Menezes
  • 10 March 2020 10:20

Full racecard


1:30pm – The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

2:10pm – The Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase

2:50pm – The Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase

3:30pm – The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy

4:10pm – The Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle Race

4:50pm – The Northern Trust Company Novices’ Handicap Chase

5:30pm – The National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup


1:30pm – The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Race

2:10pm – The RSA Insurance Novices’ Steeple Chase

2:50pm – The Coral Cup Hurdle

3:30pm – The Betway Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase

4:10pm – The Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase

4:50pm – The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Race

5:30pm – The Weatherbys Champion Bumper


1:30pm – The Marsh Novices’ Chase

2:10pm – The Pertemps Network Final

2:50pm – The Ryanair Steeple Chase 

3:30pm – The Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle

4:10pm – The Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate

4:50pm – The Festival Mares Novices’ Hurdle

5:30pm – The Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup


1:30pm – The JCB Triumph Hurdle

2:10pm – The Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle Race

2:50pm – The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Race

3:30pm – The Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase

4:10pm – The St James’s Place Foxhunter Steeple Chase Challenge Cup

4:50pm – Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase

5:30pm – Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle


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