All you need to know about Cheltenham 2018

With less than a month to go, here is all you need to know about Cheltenham 2018.

oped cheltenham 2018 back
The biggest week of the horse racing calendar is now just a few weeks away and it's building up to be a real exciting one.

A number of runners are finding form going into the week, with the likes of the Queen Mother Champion Chase and, of course, the Gold Cup expected to be stars of the show.

But when does it start and who should you back? Here's our guide to this year's Cheltenham Festival.

When does Cheltenham 2018 start?
The Festival gets underway with Champion Day on March 13, 2018. There's a bumper seven races to enjoy throughout the day with the Champion Hurdle the day's key meet.

Wednesday, March 14 is Ladies Day at Cheltenham and has a further seven meetings, before St Patrick's Day celebrations take over Thursday and the great Gold Cup heads up the action on the final day, March 16.

Is Cheltenham shown on TV?
Every minute of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival will be shown by ITV. It will all be free-to-air with Ed Chamberlain, formerly of Sky Sports' Super Sunday, to host the action.

He will be joined by the likes of Francesca Cumani, AP McCoy and Luke Harvey as they preview and analyse each meeting.

What are the main races?
There are a number of major meets each day during the festival, with it all kicking off with the Champion Hurdle on the opening day.

Champion Hurdle
For those who enjoy a bit of Cheltenham betting, this is usually the race to get things started on the betting slip.

Buveur D'Air is a clear favourite for this one and will be heavily backed after winning the same race last year. Faugheen looks good value at 11/2, while 20/1 shot Elgin may also be worth an each way back if he's supplemented.

Queen Mother Champion Chase
Wednesday's feature race is always a great event and we're going to see a strong Queen Mother Champion Chase this year.

Altior goes in as favourite after a staggering return to action following an operation and 617 days away from the track. Plenty are putting their money elsewhere though, and Douvin at 9/2 and Fox Norton at 12/1 could prove value.

Stayers Hurdle
The last feature race before the Gold Cup, the Stayers Hurdle is always heavily backed and was won by Nichols Canyon this time last year.

Jessica Harrington's Supasundae is favourite this year at 3/1 after finding some good form, while Sam's Spinner at 5/1 and Apple's Jade (10/1) making up the top three contenders.

Lil Rockerfeller finished second last year and is at 25/1 which could also make for a nice each-way punt.

Cheltenham Gold Cup
It's what the week builds up to and where the money is piled. The Gold Cup is the most thrilling race of the year and was won by 7/1 shot Sizing John back in 2017.

The double for him is at 6/1, although heavyweights of the sport Might Bite and Native River are ahead in the pecking order according to the bookies.

It's going to be a great race with some big names in there, all battling it out for a slice of that half a million prize pot.

Second place last year, Minella Rocco returns at 20/1, while Our Duke, ridden by Noel Fehily also looks like a fine bet at 8/1.

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