The popular Open meeting at Cheltenham racecourse will be held over three days from Friday 11 November.

This is when many of the best horses from Britain and Ireland will lock horns for the first time this season. Reputations can be made or broken, new heroes will emerge and the atmosphere is a mixture of fun and spine-tingling excitement.

Add in 80 trade stands in the shopping village, a range of bars and restaurants, plus pre-racing entertainment and you get three fabulous days of top-class sporting enjoyment.

Countryside Day

Friday at The Open is Countryside Day with its range of displays and demonstrations covering many equine and other country pursuits.

Equestrian Team GBR will be there this year ahead of London 2012. Team GBR performance manager Yogi Breisner will host a special display called ‘Team GBR Prepares’. Among the riders present will be Pippa Funnel, Ben Maher and Carl Hester.

Britain’s bronze medal-winning European Championship Eventing team, William Fox-Pitt, Mary King, Piggy French and Nicola Wilson will follow a parade of hounds on horseback.

Managing director of Cheltenham Racecourse Edward Gillespie said: “The presence of Equestrian Team GBR on Countryside Race Day will be a huge asset and provides the opportunity to bring together racing and other equestrian sports.”

Countryside Day raises significant sums for both The Countryside Alliance and Equestrian Team GBR.

Out of the six races the feature event will be the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase. It will run over Cheltenham’s unique cross-country course, which hasn’t been used since March.

The Brightwells Bloodstock Sale will take place in the evening.

Paddy Power Gold Cup Day

For many racing fans, this is when the new jump-racing season really gets into top gear. The Paddy Power Gold Cup has been run since 1960 and has been won by some of the sport’s greatest names, from Tom Dreaper to AP McCoy.

Last season’s 50th anniversary race went to 20/1 chance Little Josh, a popular local winner for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and his 18-year-old son and jockey, Sam. Long Run, who went on to win the King George at Kempton and the Cheltenham Gold Cup, was third.

Open Sunday

On another six-race day, the Greatwood Hurdle will see the up-and-coming stars of the hurdling world take centre stage, while the Shloer Steeplechase will be an opportunity for the best two-mile chasers around to run for the first time this season.

On all three days, racegoers under the age of 18 are admitted free.

Tickets are available from www.cheltenham.co.uk or by calling 0844 579 300