How to watch Cheltenham Festival on TV: your armchair viewing guide

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  • If you can’t make it to the Cheltenham Festival (14-17 March) in person, there is no need to miss the action, as every single race from the meeting will be shown on TV.

    Here’s our full TV guide so you don’t miss a moment of the action…

    Cheltenham Festival on TV: how to watch

    The Festival at Cheltenham is the Olympics of jump racing but, how can you watch the Cheltenham Festival from the comfort of your armchair?

    The Cheltenham roar is something not to miss, and for racing fans and amateur punters alike, it couldn’t be easier to submerse yourself in all the action.

    So here it is, your armchair viewing guide to the Cheltenham Festival — and now is definitely the time to invest in that 55inch 4k Ultra HD OLED TV you’ve been hankering after. Grab your remote, a family pack of snacks and a tipple of your choosing because you needn’t leave your armchair for four days.

    Where can I watch it?

    Those of you with a Racing TV subscription can enjoy all the races live but for everyone else in the country, tune in to ITV1 where the brilliant ITV Racing team will take you right to the heart of the action.

    In 2024 ITV Racing will cover the Cheltenham Festival daily between 1-4.30pm, broadcasting five live races a day.

    Presented by Ed Chamberlin, viewers will be taken to the heart of the action to see all their favourite equine stars at jump racing’s most famous Festival.

    Alongside Ed, on the punditry team will be 20-time champion Jump jockey, Sir Anthony McCoy and the Festival’s winning-most rider, Ruby Walsh. They will be joined by Gold-cup winning pundit, Mick Fitzgerald and Luke Harvey, both of whom will get down to the start and get up close to the fences during the week. Rishi Persad and Matt Chapman will be out and about on the course interviewing winning jockeys and connections, while Megan Nicholls and Alice Plunkett will guide viewers through all the activity in the parade ring. Oli Bell will also be interacting with viewers at home in the popular Social Stable.

    Richard Hoiles will be in the commentary box, with Kevin Blake and Brough Scott offering their views on stories as they unfold throughout the week.

    The live Festival coverage will also be simulcast on ITVX, on web and app for viewers to watch online or if you’re on the move you can still keep up to date by listening to BBC Radio 5 Live.

    What time does it start?

    The ITV Racing coverage will show racing between 1pm and 4.30pm.

    ITV’s Morning Show will be shown between 8.30am and 10am each morning of the Festival.

    What if I’m too excited to wait until the TV coverage starts?

    After you’ve picked up your copy of the Racing Post — every Cheltenham Festival viewer’s bible — and checked out the latest news on the H&H Festival hub page, be sure to switch in ITV4 at 8.30am on each morning of the Festival action.

    Hosted by Oli Bell, the programme will air from 8.30-10am on ITV4 and ITVX in order to provide viewers with a fuller preview of each day’s races and capture more of the morning action as the Irish contingent exercise out on track at Prestbury Park.

    Oli will be joined daily by Matt Chapman, Sally Ann Grassick and Kevin Blake. Sir Anthony McCoy, Ruby Walsh, Megan Nicholls, Mick Fitzgerald, Rishi Persad and Luke Harvey will also join the team across the week.

    How to watch Cheltenham Festival outside the UK

    If you’re watching from outside the UK, you might need a VPN to access ITVX in order to watch the racing live.

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    How to use a VPN

    Three simple steps to using a VPN to watch Cheltenham Festival.

    1. Download and install a VPN – we recommend ExpressVPN

    2. Connect to the relevant server location – launch the VPN app, click on ‘choose location’ and select the UK

    3. Head to the chosen broadcaster’s live stream – in this case, head to ITVX

    Who are the experts?

    You’ll very quickly discover that everyone’s an “expert” during Cheltenham Festival week and everyone from your farrier to the postman will be offering you their Festival “banker”. Our tip is to stick with what you know and if it’s too good to be true, it usually is. The ITV Racing team is an encyclopaedia of racing facts and figures and usually pretty good with tips.

    When is the big race?

    Racing fans are treated to a “championship” race every day, beginning on Tuesday with the Unibet Champion Hurdle, Wednesday features the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, on Thursday it’s the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle and it all culminates on Friday with the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup. Each showpiece race is run at 3.30pm. But each of the 28 races over the four days offers something to savour with 14 Grade One (top level) races in total.

    Speed is my thing, which race will I enjoy the most?

    The shortest races at the Cheltenham Festival are just shy of two miles in length and with the best horses, trainers and jockeys battling it out for top honours, they are always breathtakingly fast and furious. Over the fences (the larger obstacles), the Queen Mother Champion Chase is a real sprint and where you’ll find the fastest chasers.

    How about if I enjoy a stamina test?

    Wednesday’s Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase is a brilliant spectacle as the field comes away from the racecourse to face the challenge of a course of 32 obstacles that twists and turns, including a mix of timber, brush and drops over a gruelling 3m6f-plus.

    Where can I spot future stars?

    The Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is greeted by the deafening yet spine-tingling Cheltenham roar from spectators, and this race is always a hotspot for future talent with past winners including Altior, Brave Inca and 2022’s victor, the Nicky Henderson-trained Constitution Hill. Likewise on Friday, the JCB Triumph Hurdle for four-year-olds is the big target for the country’s best juvenile hurdlers – the dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll was first past the post in the race in 2014 and then went on to repeat that success twice.

    Can I buy tickets to Cheltenham Festival?

    Yes, tickets are available in 2024, and you can find out everything you need to know here.

    What is the Prestbury Cup?

    As well as the head-to-heads between the leading horses, jockeys and trainers, one of the greatest rivalries is between Great Britain and Ireland for the total number of Festival winners, otherwise known as the Prestbury Cup. In 2023, Irish trainers took the advantage, with 18 winners over the four days versus Great Britain’s 10.

    Who are the top jockeys to follow at Cheltenham?

    Irish jockey Paul Townend, who is retained by leading Irish trainer Willie Mullins, topped the jockey standings over the four days at the Festival in 2023. Also travelling from across the Irish Sea will be Rachael Blackmore, who was leading jockey at the Festival in 2021. Nico De Boinville usually enjoys a tremendous strike rate at Cheltenham and he will be joined in the weighing room by Harry Cobden and Sean Bowen who are in close competition with each other for this year’s champion jockey title.

    Who is likely to be the leading trainer?

    It’s hard to look beyond leading Irish trainer Willie Mullins, who really is a mighty force in the sport and has been crowned top trainer at the Festival for 10 of the past 13 years, breaking the former dominance of Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson. Irish trainer Henry de Bromhead also has a notable amount of success to his name at the Festival, and is worth keeping an eye on throughout the week.

    How do I bet?

    Online betting companies will be clamouring for your custom during Cheltenham so look out for some of their promotional deals for new customers which include everything from a free bet to giving your money back if your horse loses. You’ll need to deposit some money into your betting account, choose a race, select your horse (you could study the form, or you could simply pick your lucky number of favourite colour from the jockeys’ silks) and the type of bet — then get ready to cheer!

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    Want to place a bet ahead of the Cheltenham Festival? Sign up to Betway and receive a £10 welcome bet.

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