All four days of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival will shown free to air and in HD on ITV next week.
The festival marks the start of the broadcaster’s annual racing calendar which also includes the Grand National, the Epsom Derby, Royal Ascot, the Qatar Goodwood Festival and the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival.
From Tuesday 12 March to Friday 15 March, Ed Chamberlin and Francesca Cumani will present each day’s racing between 1pm and 4.30pm on ITV (previously ITV1), while ITV4 will air The Opening Show from 9.30am to 10.30am with Oli Bell, Sally Ann Grassick and Kevin Blake, plus a variety of guests and Richard Hoiles’ Festival Quiz Time.
ITV has confirmed that champion jockey Sir AP McCoy, Luke Harvey and Mick Fitzgerald will join Chamberlin and Cumani to provide “expert insight and analysis,” while Oli Bell, Alice Plunkett and Sally Ann Grassick will handle reporting duties, with Brian Gleeson also on hand to provide an Irish angle on the action.
Cheltenham is horseracing’s biggest event of the year so Matt Chapman will be bringing viewers all the latest betting news throughout the four days. Viewers wanting place a wager can head over to betbrain.co.uk to find the best odds.
On Ladies Day (Wednesday 13 March) Good Morning Britain’s Charlotte Hawkins and Lorraine’s Mark Heyes join the team while Love Island star and racing enthusiast Chris Hughes is confirmed for the following day.
Tuesday 12 March – Champion Day
Feature Race – the Unibet Champion Hurdle
Champion Hurdle favourite Buveur d’Air goes for a historic hattrick in the race hoping to join the five other greats who have achieved this – including See you Then (1985-87), also trained by Nicky Henderson, and the legendary JP McManus-owned, Istabraq who dominated the race from 1988 to 2000.
Hoping to upset the English apple cart will be the two mares from Ireland – Apple’s Jade and Laurina. This day also sees Lalor, trained by Kayley Woollacott, see if he can bring home the Racing Post Arkle.
Wednesday 13 March – Ladies’ Day
Feature Race – the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
This day will undoubtedly be all about Altior, the Nicky Henderson-trained superstar who goes for a second win in the Queen Mother and has not been beaten in 17 starts over jumps.
Thursday 14 March – St Patrick’s Thursday
Feature Races – the Ryanair Chase/the Sun Racing Stayers’ Hurdle
Paisley Park, trained by Emma Lavelle will be the favourite for the Stayers’ and all talk will be whether he can win it for owner, Andrew Gemmell.
Friday 15 March – Gold Cup Day
Feature Race – the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup
With a new sponsor and an old trophy (the 1924 Cheltenham Gold Cup comes back to life having resurfaced after being ‘lost’ for years) Friday is all about the Gold Cup, one of racing’s most coveted prizes.
ITV’s coverage will be available to all UK homes via Freesat, Freeview, YouView, Sky, Virgin Media and through ITV Hub.