Cheltenham Festivals have announced the dates of their 2021 events.
The year kicks off with the Cheltenham Jazz Festival at the end of April and finishes with the incredible Cheltenham Literature Festival in October.
28 April – 3 May 2021
Cheltenham Jazz Festival (In association with BBC Radio 2)
Cheltenham Jazz Festival is one of Europe’s leading jazz festivals, featuring international headline acts, cutting-edge jazz and unique collaborations.
For more info and updates visit www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/jazz
10 – 13 June 2021
Cheltenham Science Festival
Cheltenham Science Festival explores the theme ‘Be The Change’ combining in-person and online events to show how science is shaping our future. The Schools and Family programme will be available digitally for free, while hands-on activities will be presented in a safe, socially-distanced environment for people of all ages.
For more info and updates visit www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/science
2-9 July 2021
Cheltenham Music Festival
Cheltenham Music Festival will celebrate the best of British music, with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, New English Ballet Theatre and the UK’s finest soloists. There will be talks from industry leaders and an Opening Weekend of free music outdoors, with a wealth of artists covering Western classical music and beyond.
For more info and updates visit www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/music
8-17 October 2021
The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival
Still leading the way in celebrating the written and spoken word, the world’s first literature festival will Read the World, presenting the best new voices in fiction and poetry alongside literary greats and high-profile speakers. The Festival’s pioneering mix of in-person and online events won it a coveted FutureBook 2020: Best Lockdown Event award and its Literature for Schools programme inspires a love of books in thousands of school children.
For more info and updates visit www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature
The International starts on Friday, 11 December, with the rearranged G2 Fitzdares Club Loves The Peterborough Chase (1.50pm) headlining an excellent eight-race card.
The famous colours of Sea Pigeon will be on display in the Catesby Handicap Hurdle as the Jonjo O'Neill trained Tegerek runs for the first time for the brand new Jonjo O'Neill Racing Club.
Top Notch (Nicky Henderson/Daryl Jacob) is aiming for a third success in the Peterborough Chase, having lifted the spoils in 2017 at Taunton and in 2019 at its usual home, Huntingdon.
The latest horse to win three runnings of Peterborough Chase was Edredon Bleu, who captured the two-and-a-half-mile contest four times between 1998 and 2001.
Top Notch, having his first start since wind surgery, is joined by stable companion Mister Fisher (Nico de Boinville), who was pulled up when fancied for the Paddy Power Gold Cup last month.
Local trainer Tom George is also double handed with G1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase third Bun Doran (James Bowen) and progressive Newbury handicap chase scorer Clondaw Castle (Tom Scudamore).
Kalashnikov (Jack Quinlan, pictured below) underwent wind surgery during the summer and was not disgraced on his comeback in the three-mile G3 Betfair Exchange Stayers' Handicap Hurdle at Haydock Park on 21 November, finishing seventh.
The seven-year-old was just touched off in the G1 Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival™ in 2018 before going on to G1 success over fences at Aintree’s Grand National Festival the following season.
Trainer Amy Murphy said: “Kalashnikov is in good shape.
“I was really pleased with his comeback effort at Haydock, where he got tired late on and probably didn’t stay the trip on that ground.
“The Peterborough Chase wasn’t Plan A, but now it is being run on a left-handed track it made sense to go as he is much better going this way round."
A competitive line up also features Dolos (Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden), Fanion d’Estruval (Venetia Williams/Charlie Deutsch), and Glen Forsa (Mick Channon/David Bass).
Michael Scudamore is hoping Kingswell Theatre (Tom Scudamore, pictured below) can extend his winning record around Cheltenham’s unique Cross Country Course in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase (3.00pm, 11 runners).
Kingswell Theatre caused something of a shock when landing the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase at The November Meeting for a second time last month, making all to beat Beau Du Brizais (Philip Hobbs/Micheal Nolan) by five lengths despite being 18lb out of the handicap. This was the 11-year-old’s second cross country success at Cheltenham, following his victory in the Glenfarclas-sponsored contest at The November Meeting in 2017.
Scudamore said: “Kingswell Theatre seems to have come out of his latest race in fine fettle. He has been a stable star for the yard and we could not be happier with him.
“It is clearly a different race this time around. With Easysland and Potters Corner coming out of the race, he will have to carry an awful lot more weight, so we will see how he handles that.
“Carrying a lot of weight round there is going to be tough, but I suppose the big two horses being out makes it a slightly easier race, although with the likes of Step Back and Neverushacon in there, it remains a really open race.”
Enda Bolger has a formidable record in cross country races and the Co Limerick handler is represented My Hometown (Darragh O’Keeffe), one of four Irish-trained runners in the race.
There is also Irish representation in the G3 Unibet Handicap Chase (2.25pm, seven runners) courtesy of fast improving mare Court Maid (Tom Mullins/David Mullins).
Court Maid has proved a revelation over fences this season and relished a stamina test on her latest start when winning the competitive Porterstown Handicap Chase by 13 lengths at Fairyhouse on 29 November.
Novice action is provided by the British EBF "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle (11.30am, 2m 1f, six runners) and the International Decorative Surfaces Novices' Chase (12.05pm, 3m 1f 56y, five runners).
The remaining handicaps on the card are the Catesby Handicap Hurdle (12.40pm, 2m 1f, 17 runners), the CF Roberts Electrical & Mechanical Services Mares' Handicap Chase (1.15pm, 2m4f127y, 12 runners) and Citipost Handicap Hurdle (3.35pm, 3m, 14 runners), in which Unowhatimeanharry (Harry Fry/Kevin Brogan (7)) bids to follow up a recent win at Aintree. The JP McManus-owned 12-year-old has been a real star during his career and is a four-time winner at the Home of Jump Racing, headlined by his success in the G1 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at The Festival™ back in 2016.
The International continues on Saturday, 12 December, when the highlights are the £112,000 G2 Unibet International Hurdle (2m 1f, 10 entries) and the £105,000 G3 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup (2m 4f 127, 24 entries).
The Trustees of Blenheim Palace today announced that The Jockey Club has been awarded a five-year contract as organisers of the prestigious Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials from 2021, following a competitive tender process.
The Jockey Club, founded in 1750 and with Her Majesty The Queen as its Patron, is one of the largest organisations in British sport and stages more than 340 horseracing fixtures each year, along with thousands of other events at its 15 venues nationwide.
The Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials is a pinnacle of the eventing calendar and normally takes place over four days in September each year. The Covid-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 event.
The fixture includes FEI-accredited and internationally-recognised competitions; a CCI4*-L (four-star Long) and CCI4*-S for eight and nine-year-old horses (four-star Short).
The 2019 CCI4*-L competition was won by one of Britain’s leading event riders, Piggy March, with her then ten-year-old gelding, Brookfield Inocent. The 2019 CCI4*-S was won by Australian Chris Burton and his nine-year-old, Clever Louis.
Roy Cox, Estates Director, Blenheim Palace, said:
“The International Horse Trials is one of our most prestigious events, attracting world class riders to compete in this iconic competition.
“We are delighted its future has been secured and have every confidence The Jockey Club, with its rich history and wealth of experience, working alongside British Eventing, is the perfect combination to ensure this great event which contributes so much to the local area continues to thrive.”
Ian Renton, The Jockey Club’s Regional Managing Director, whose role includes the running of nearby Cheltenham Racecourse, said:
“It truly is a great honour to be appointed to organise the Blenheim Palace Horse Trials for the next five years. We look forward to working closely with Blenheim Palace and British Eventing to ensure the event has a fantastic future.
“As a company we welcome nearly four million people a year to events at our venues and our team are excited to put on a fantastic show at Blenheim in keeping with the international prestige of both the Horse Trials and the Palace itself.
“With the Home of Jump Racing just 40 miles away I’m also confident there are economies of scale and cross-promotional opportunities from this partnership.
“Overall we’re thrilled to be involved and thank the Blenheim Palace and British Eventing team for placing their faith in us.”
Jude Matthews, Chief Executive of British Eventing, said:
“Blenheim Place International Horse Trials is a key fixture in the British Eventing calendar, showcasing some of the most talented horse and rider combinations in the world. The event has been established over many successful years and we look forward to working with The Jockey Club to continue this development and to potentially bring our sport to a wider audience.”
The Blenheim Palace Horse Trials will take place from the 16th -19th September, 2021.