Cheltenham Festival is the largest event of barrier races and steeplechase that this world has to offer. Every year, about 260,000 spectators and participants from all over the world come to Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. The event usually takes place in mid-March and sometimes coincides with St.Patrick's Day.
The main event of the festival is the Cheltenham Gold Cup. It is one of the most prestigious races in the UK with a grand prize sum of £550,000.The Cheltenham Gold Cup is held on the New Course of Cheltenham Racecourse, covering 3 miles 2½ furlongs (5,331 m), and filled with 22 obstacles. This steeplechase is often called the Blue Riband of jump-racing.
The second day by tradition is Ladies Day. Visitors of the festival choose the brightest and most unusual outfits, paying special attention to the headdresses.
The Cheltenham Festival dates back to 1860 when the first National Hunt Chase was held. It has gone through several locations before Prestbury Park in Cheltenham has become its permanent site in 1911. It currently features about 30 races over four days including the Champion Bumper, Ryanair Chase, Supreme Novices' Hurdle, Triumph Hurdle, Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle, Arkle Challenge Trophy, RSA Chase, as well as two biggest Hunter Chases of the season. Unlike Royal Ascot, the Cheltenham Festival doesn't draw many international participants, however visitors will definitely see many of the best British- and Irish-trained horses and jockeys.