Horse racing fans, the wait is over - the 2020 Cheltenham Festival is finally here. After months of building up the hype, it is time to sit down and study the form ahead of the greatest week in National Hunt racing.
We will be here with LIVE updates on everything Cheltenham Festival-related throughout the week. Whether it is an update on non-runners, declarations or the going, 888sport is the place to be for all things Cheltenham.
Cheltenham 2020: Day Four
4:30pm: That's it from the 888sport LIVE blog for the 2020 Cheltenham Festival. It has been an absolute pleasure to talk you through the last four days - bring on next year's event!
4:20pm: The Willie Mullins run is over! It Came To Pass wins for trainer Eugene O'Sullivan, under jockey Maxine O'Sullivan. A real family affair in the winners enclosure.
4:05pm: Our Twitter team's NAP of the day is Minella Rocco - he goes next in the Foxhunter Chase.
Can this former Cheltenham Gold Cup runner up prevail?
3:45pm: Santini and Lostintranslation were brave but Al Boum Photo was too strong in the finish.
What a week it has been for the Donnellys - starting with Shishkin in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and capping off a fantastic week with Al Boum Photo securing his second Gold Cup in a row!
3:40pm: AL BOUM PHOTO has won the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup - the first horse to win back-to-back renewals since Best Mate!
What a ride from Paul Townend and what a training performance from Willie Mullins.
3:25pm: Here we go - good luck with your Gold Cup bets!
3:10pm: If you are new to 888sport, join now and take advantage of our new customer offer ahead of the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.
Back defending champion Al Boum Photo to retain his Gold Cup crown at a HUGE 33/1. T&Cs apply.
3:05pm: Rich Ricci believes that Monkfish and Latest Exhibition are future Cheltenham Gold Cup contenders!
Not long now until the 2020 renewal gets underway - will Al Boum Photo make it four wins on the day for Willie Mullins?
2:55pm: What a race that was! Monkfish gets back up to pip Latest Exhibition and Fury Road to make it three out of three for Willie Mullins this afternoon.
2:45pm: Not long now until the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle - one of the most competitive races at the meeting.
Can Thyme Hill further frank the 2019 Champion Bumper form?
2:30pm: One hour to go until the 2020 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Whet your appetite by reading our take on five famous winners of the big race.
2:20pm: If in doubt, back a JP McManus horse in the Cheltenham Festival handicaps. Saint Roi gets the job done to give his owner his seventh win of the week.
Gallant run from Aramon for our blogger - you can find his Cheltenham Festival Day 4 tips here!
2:05pm: Almost time for the County Hurdle - an absolute minefield of a race. Our blogger has backed Aramon and Eldorado Allen but the two JP McManus runners near the top of the market have been well supported...
2:00pm: Willie Mullins was very gracious following Burning Victory's success in the Triumph Hurdle. He could be set for more success later in the day...
1:55pm: Goshen looks like an absolute machine. Punters already hinting at the 2021 Champion Hurdle as a target for him - and it would be hard to dispute that.
So much raw ability and talent.
1:35pm: DRAMA in the Triumph Hurdle as Goshen unseats Jamie Moore at the final hurdle! Moore is left distraught on the ground as Burning Victory claims a shock win under Paul Townend.
Heartbreaking for connections but good to see Goshen and Moore up safe and sound.
1:30pm: Our final Big Race Battle of the week is Al Boum Photo vs Santini in the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The Nicky Henderson runner has been weak in the market today but has been hyped up for this race. It will be interesting to see if the Cotswolds Chase winner can get the job done...
1:15pm: Paul Nicholls is quietly confident of a big run for dual King George winner Clan Des Obeaux in the 2020 Gold Cup.
He disappointed last year but could give Sir Alex Ferguson a win in National Hunt racing's biggest race.
1:10pm: The Triumph Hurdle could be one of the races of the week. Dan Skelton has been bullish about Allmankind for some time now - can he claim Grade One glory in today's opener?
12:45pm: Front View very strong in the market for the Martin Pipe at 5:30pm. Connections won this race last year with Early Doors - can they make it two in a row?
12:00pm: 90 minutes until the first race of the day - the atmosphere is building at Cheltenham.
Irish punters will be hoping for a big day in the race for the Prestbury Cup - Ireland currently lead 11-8 heading into Day 4.
11:15am: The official going at Cheltenham has shifted once again. On the chase course, it is now GOOD TO SOFT, SOFT IN PLACES while on the hurdle course it is SOFT, GOOD TO SOFT IN PLACES.
We start the fourth and final day of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival with three hurdles races before the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
10:45am: Goshen is a strong favourite to win the Triumph Hurdle. He'll face stiff competition in Allmankind, Solo and Aspire Tower but trainer Gary Moore has stated that Goshen is an "absolute freak".
10:00am: Good morning all! Cheltenham Gold Cup day is here...
Our blogger has his Day 4 Cheltenham tips, including two selections for the big race.
Cheltenham 2020: Day Three
6:05pm: That's us done for Day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival. Tomorrow is Friday and we all know what that means - the Gold Cup, National Hunt racing's biggest race, is the highlight.
We'll be back tomorrow with our top tips ahead of Day 4.
6:00pm: If you are new to 888sport, join now and take advantage of our new customer offer ahead of the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday.
Back defending champion Al Boum Photo to retain his Gold Cup crown at a HUGE 33/1. T&Cs apply.
5:45pm: Well, would you believe it? Milan Native absolutely hacks up to win the Kim Muir!
That's three winners on the day for our blog writer - perfect time to hit top form ahead of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
5:15pm: Gordon Elliott has had plenty of winners already this week but his NAP of the meeting runs in the Kim Muir.
Can Milan Native live up to the hype in what looks like a competitive affair?
5:00pm: The answer to our previous question is yes and her name is Concertista. Runner up in the race last year, she absolutely bolted up to give Willie Mullins his fifth win in the race.
He has a 100% record in the Mares Novices' Hurdle.
4:45pm: Going forward in the Mares Novices' Hurdle - are we about to see a future superstar?
4:40pm: So... heading into Day 4, we've had Benie des Dieux, Carefully Selected, Defi du Seuil, Tiger Roll, Appreciate It and Paisley Park all turned over. Envoi Allen the only odds on favourite to win this year!
4:20pm: "Should Imperial Aura run well on Tuesday, SIMPLY THE BETTS (8/1) is well worth a punt to go and win the Brown Advisory."
I fancied it on Tuesday morning and I was right! Simply The Betts gets the job done in the Brown Advisory.
That's three winning NAPs in a row for our blog - what a Cheltenham Festival this is turning out to be.
4:05pm: Simply The Betts is the favourite for the Brown Advisory but Ben Dundee is our market mover ahead of this race.
Can Davy Russell claim another Cheltenham Festival winner?
3:45pm: Actually - looks like our horse racing writer Steve Mullington did! Nice little winner at 50/1.
3:40pm: Well, don't think anyone saw that coming...
Lisnagar Oscar wins the Stayers Hurdle after a really testing race. Apple's Jade set one heck of a gallop while odds-on favourite Paisley Park was very disappointing.
3:15pm: Min is an absolute star. Trained by Willie Mullins, he has had to settle for second best behind Altior on more than one occasion but he finally breaks his Cheltenham Festival duck.
Credit to Paul Townend - gutsy ride from the front on his mount.
2:35pm: Not long now until the Ryanair Chase - A Plus Tard vs Min vs Frodon vs Riders Onthe Storm. Four very good horses but who will come out on top?
2:30pm: Incredible ride from Davy Russell on Samcro in the first race of the day. He has had his fair share of criticism over the last few years but what a moment for his connections - you just can't beat a Cheltenham Festival winner!
2:20pm: What a week this is turning out to be for JP McManus. Barry Geraghty with a superb ride on Sire du Berlais to claim victory in the Pertemps Final.
Gordon Elliott is having an exceptional meeting - the Irish trainer has hit top form at the right time.
1:40pm: What a race! Samcro just about holds off Melon in a frantic finish in the Marsh Chase.
Faugheen a gallant third - all three runners receiving a huge ovation from the Prestbury Park grandstand.
1:25pm: Not long now until the off in the Marsh Chase - Faugheen the clear favourite...
1:10pm: Who will win the Ryanair Chase this afternoon?
A Plus Tard and Min are the market principles ahead of today's big race.
12:30pm: 1 hour to go until the first race of the day. Faugheen winning would bring the house down...
Samcro has been strong in the market this morning though, with connections full of confidence after working well at home. Not long to wait now.
11:45am: Aramax gave our Twitter team a winning NAP at 10/1 yesterday - can they strike again on Day 3?
This time, our social media squad are backing Itchy Feet (9/2) to win the Marsh Novices' Chase.
11:00am: The official going on the New Course at Cheltenham is SOFT, GOOD TO SOFT in places. With dry conditions expected today, we could see the ground turn closer to Good to Soft ahead of the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
10:15am: Simply The Betts has been well supported to win the Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate this afternoon. Our writer was very keen on the Harry Whittington runner in his preview earlier in the week...
"Should Imperial Aura run well on Tuesday, SIMPLY THE BETTS (8/1) is well worth a punt to go and win the Brown Advisory. He has been raised nine pounds for beating the Kim Bailey runner at Cheltenham in January but should cope reasonably enough.
Simply The Betts ticks all the right boxes to succeed at the Festival and he is undoubtedly Harry Whittington’s best horse racing betting chance of the week."
10:00am: New to 888sport? Join now and take advantage of enhanced odds on PAISLEY PARK to win the Stayers' Hurdle.
9:45am: Welcome to our coverage for Day 3 of the Festival. It has been a mixed bag for punters so far, with the likes of Envoi Allen, Champ and Epatante living up to the hype while Defi du Seuil, Tiger Roll and Benie des Dieux all flopped.
Today's card is a bit of a minefield - fingers crossed for a successful day of punting...
Cheltenham 2020: Day Two
5:45pm: Ferny Hollow pips stablemate Appreciate It to secure a 1-2 for Willie Mullins. Boy, did he need that!
Thanks for joining us here on the 888sport blog, we'll be back tomorrow for Day 3 of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival.
5:00pm: This is JP McManus' world... we're all just living in it.
A fourth winner on the day for birthday boy as Aramax wins the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle!
4:20pm: Easysland wins the Cross Country Chase!
A treble on the day for JP McManus - Tiger Roll a gallant second. All roads lead to Aintree now for the Gordon Elliott runner...
3:55pm: Not long now until TIGER ROLL runs in the Cross Country Chase.
Gordon Elliott wasn't too confident about the ground - can the 'pint-sized' rcket claim his fifth Cheltenham Festival success?
3:45pm: Something clearly amiss with Defi du Seuil there. Lots of burnt fingers around Cheltenham...
3:35pm: HUGE shock as Defi du Seuil can only manage 4th in the Champion Chase!
Harry Skelton with a superb ride on Politologue to claim a much-needed winner for Paul Nicholls.
3:25pm: Check out our top tips on the rest of the Day 2 races - will Defi du Seuil, Tiger Roll and Appreciate It make it a brilliant day for punters?
3:15pm: Our horse racing writer was sweet on Dame de Compagnie and she duly obliged! What a day this is turning out to be for JP McManus... and he still has Defi du Seuil to come!
2:40pm: Has everyone recovered after Champ's late surge? He's got some engine. We've seen two possible Gold Cup contenders this afternoon.
2:30pm: Davy Russell was chuffed after Envoi Allen's win earlier today.
A huge future ahead for the Cheveley Park runner...
2:20pm: WOW - Champ comes from another postcode to claim victory in the RSA Chase. Heartbreak for Allaho & Minella Indo backers but what a ride from Barry Geraghty.
We could be seeing those famous JP McManus colours again this afternoon...
1:45pm: Gordon Elliott has an absolute superstar in his stable. Envoi Allen - a future Cheltenham Gold Cup winner?
1:40pm: What a horse. Envoi Allen justifies his short price to win the Ballymore!
Great start to Day 2 for favourite backers.
1:15pm: Chacun Pour Soi WAS our writer's NAP of the day but he has now been ruled out. He fancies Dame De Compagnie in the Coral Cup - she should run a big race off her current mark.
The JP McManus-owned mare has been well supported in the market this morning. Fingers crossed for a big run...
1:05pm: Less than 30 minutes until the off in today's first race, the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle.
Envoi Allen is the red hot favourite but he won't have everything his own way - Sporting John and The Big Breakaway are both 'could be anything' prospects and the Gordon Elliott star will need to be at his brilliant best to claim victory.
12:55pm: Our social team fancy Aramax to win the Boodles Juvenile Handicap this atfernoon. He's drifted out to 10/1 in the market this morning but is certainly talented.
11:45am: In the space of 48 hours, the Champion Chase has gone from the race of the week to a foregone conclusion. With Altior and Chacun Pour Soi ruled out, surely it is now just a formality for Defi du Seuil?
11:15am: We've got our 'Big Race Battle' for Day Two and it comes in the RSA Chase. A tough race to call but Minella Indo and Champ head the betting - who will prevail up the Cheltenham hill?
11:10am: BREAKING NEWS - Chacun Pour Soi will NOT run in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. He has been declared a non-runner due to a vets certificate.
10:30am: The official going for Day 2 at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival is SOFT. Fingers crossed for a dry day at Prestbury Park.
10:00am: Gordon Elliott is expecting big things from stable star Envoi Allen in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle. Is he the BANKER of the Festival?
9:30am: The Willie Mullins camp are full of confidence in our writer's NAP of the day, Chacun Pour Soi.
Paul Townend was particularly bullish, saying "from riding against Defi Du Seuil on Un De Sceaux earlier in the season, I'm very happy to be taking him on with Chacun."
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Cheltenham 2020: Day One
6:00pm: And that is us done for the day. Thank you for joining our 2020 Cheltenham Festival LIVE coverage - we'll be back ahead of the first race at 1:30pm.
5:45pm: It wasn't to be for Willie Mullins as Carefully Selected is well beaten. Ravenhill gives Gordon Elliott his first winner of the day and plenty of punters will be siding with Ballymore Novices' Hurdle fancy Envoi Allen in the opener tomorrow.
5:25pm: Willie Mullins hasn't had the best of days but Carefully Selected can give him a winner in the National Hunt Chase. Will the short priced favourite emerge victorious?
5:10pm: A winning NAP on Day One of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival for our horse racing writer. Hope readers backed it...
5:05pm: Would you Adam and Eve it? Imperial Aura wins the Northern Trust!
Superb ride from David Bass - keep an eye out for Simply The Betts in the Brown Advisory on Thursday now...
4:45pm: Kim Bailey said in the Racing Post Weekender that Imperial Aura was his best chance of a winner this week.
Can he justify favouritism in the Northern Trust Company Novices Handicap Chase?
4:30pm: Barry Geraghty was full of praise for Epatante after her victory in the Champion Hurdle. Will she be back in 2021 to defend her crown?
4:10pm: Shock in the Mares Hurdle as odds-on favourite Benie Des Dieux is turned over! Honeysuckle wins after a clinical ride from Rachael Blackmore.
Henry De Bromhead came under scrutiny for deciding on this race instead of the Champion Hurdle - bet the critics are quiet now...
3:35pm: Epatante wins the Champion Hurdle!
JP McManus was concerned over the ground before the off... No need to worry! Epatante makes light work of the Champion Hurdle field to claim a fourth successive victory for her owner.
3:05pm: What a race! Vinndication runs a mighty race off top weight but finishes 4th. The Conditional just about fends off Kildisart and Discorama in the closing stages under a patient ride from Brendan Powell.
Bigger things ahead for connections?
2:45pm: A frustrating second for our writer with Fakir D'oudairies in the Arkle. Check out the rest of his Day 1 Cheltenham tips here!
2:20pm: Put The Kettle On (20/1) wins the Arkle. Our social team got it all wrong with Notebook - very disappointing today. Doubt many people will have had the Shishkin/Put The Kettle On double...
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2:00pm: Perfect start for Nico de Boinville. He led all jockeys with three wins at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival - could he secure the award for the second year in a row?
1:40pm: A big drifter this morning, SHISHKIN wins the Supreme Novices' Hurdle, just about pipping Abacadabras on the line.
The winner touched 100/1 in-running!
1:10pm: Just 20 minutes to go until the first race of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival - Asterion Forlonge is the 10/3 favourite but Abracadabras has been well backed all morning.
12:45pm: We have a going change at Cheltenham. The ground is now officially SOFT, HEAVY IN PLACES from soft. Great news for Fiddlerontheroof in the Supreme, less so for Pentland Hills in the Champion Hurdle.
12:15pm: Our social team have selected Notebook as their NAP of the Day! The Henry De Bromhead star is well fancied to win the Arkle Challenge Trophy at 2:10pm.
12:00pm: The atmosphere is building at Prestbury Park. The Guinness is already flowing and punters are enjoying watching former Cheltenham greats trotting around the parade ring. Cue Card looked an absolute picture!
10:30am: Three hours to go until the Supreme Novices' Hurdle. Find all of the most important race trends and statistics here - who is your idea of the winner?
10:25am: BREAKING NEWS: Nicky Henderson has confirmed that Altior is OUT of the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
9:30am: The Mares Hurdle could be one of the races of the week. Can Benie Des Dieux (4/7) make amends after falling last year or can new kid on the block Honeysuckle (11/4) win under Rachael Blackmore?
8:15am: Our horse racing writer Steve Mullington (@mulldog) is up bright and early with his picks for Day One at the Cheltenham Festival. Here are his tips:
- 1:30pm - Abacadabras (e/w).
- 2:10pm - Rouge Vif (e/w).
- 2:50pm - Cepage & Discorama (e/w).
- 3:30pm - Click here for his Champion Hurdle preview.
- 4:10pm - Honeysuckle (win).
- 4:50pm - Galvin & De Plotting Shed (e/w).
- 5:30pm - Forza Milan (e/w).
7:45am: Clerk of the course Simon Claisse has confirmed that the going is officially SOFT on the hurdle and the chase course.
Claisse said: "We have a few clouds in the sky but it's dry this morning.
"Overnight we had 4mm of rain overnight as anticipated so the going has reverted to soft on the hurdle and chase course. We're expecting a breezy but dry afternoon."
7:30am: Our horse racing writer is predicting a successful day for Willie Mullins - can Asterion Forlonge justify favouritism in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle?
Check out his Day 1 best bets ahead of what could be a fascinating opening day at Prestbury Park.
*Credit for the main photo belongs to Tom Hevezi / AP Photo*