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If you can visit the Cheltenham racecourse just once a year, then March is the obvious choice. It is the time when the Cheltenham Festival takes place and draws thousands of spectators thirsty for action. Apart from spectators, the Cheltenham Festival also attracts some of the best horses, jockeys, and trainers. They are all willing to do anything to be worthy of the famed horse racing event.
Sadly, the crowd around Cheltenham starts to dissipate after the Festival. However, horse racing at the world’s most famous racetrack is not over yet. In April 2021, you will be able to witness The April Meeting, on the 14th & 15th of the month. It’s the best time to enjoy some spring sunshine after the jockeys, horses, and trainers return from the Grand National Meeting.
The April Meeting is not special in any way. It’s not the Cheltenham Festival nor the Grand National, and it’s not trying to be. It’s not even the last meeting of the jump season — it’s the second-last. The last meeting is reserved for May, during the Bank Week Holiday.
However, the best people in the industry (and their horses) never miss the chance to race at the Cheltenham Racecourse. Every event that takes place at Prestbury Park is special.
If you still haven’t made any plans for April 14th and 15th, you’re in the right place! This article will tell you all you need to know about The April Meeting and familiarize you with the schedule.
The April Meeting is not as extravagant as other events taking place around the same time. However, we still recommend giving it a chance. There’s nothing to lose and a lot to gain for anyone who loves horses, racing, and an exciting wager.
April Meeting Race Cards & Day Guides
As is the case with all other horse racing events, schedules are not written in stone. The weather in the UK is quite unpredictable. That makes it hard to talk about the exact dates and times of horse races. For example, during the 2018 April Meeting, a race was cancelled due to poor weather.
However, most of the time, everything ends up running smoothly, but you should still have a dose of precaution.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at all the races that will happen during the April 14 and 15, 2021.
Day One of the April Meeting — April 14th, 2021
The first day of the April Meeting will leave you in awe when it comes to the races. Real, hardcore horse racing fans will find most races average at best.
However, you can expect at least one Grade 2 race that will keep you entertained. Other than that, there are also plenty of Class 2 races. The first day of the April Meeting is the perfect opportunity to see how the horses are doing at the beginning of the new season.
The best and the most important race of the day (the Grade 2) is the Silver Trophy Chase. It is a limited handicap race that admits horses aged five and above. The course is long 2 miles, 4 furlongs, and 127 yards.
The second in line is the Handicap Hurdle with 12 hurdles that will put any jockey and their horses to the test. This one is 2 miles, 7 furlongs, and 213 yards long.
Day Two of the April Meeting — April 15th, 2021
After the slow start on the first day of the April Meeting, you’re in for a real treat on the second day. This is when things become more exciting and remarkable.
Since 2018, day two of the April Meeting is reserved only for mares and fillies, which makes it a unique Ladies Day on the Cheltenham Racecourse. The organizers gave this system a try once to test it. After it proved to be a huge success, they decided to stick with it.
After the success of 2018, the same schedule was kept in 2020. It will be copy/pasted in 2021 as well. Unfortunately, day two has no graded races. However, we recommend keeping your eye on the European Breeders Fund Mares’ Novices’ race. That is the race of the day with the most potential.
What to Expect at the April Meeting
The April Meeting takes place during the week, on Wednesday and Thursday. Therefore, you should not expect to see a massive crowd. The majority of spectators are hardcore fans and professional punters who can take two days off to enjoy some races. There are also plenty of families who want to have some fun time together, without the usual fuss at Cheltenham. Since the April Meeting is not as renowned as the Festival, you should not expect to see any celebrities or members of the royal family.
Another thing that you can expect from the April Meeting is to see much fewer horse racing novices. Most of them get their dose of horse racing during the Festival and the Grand National, so they hibernate for the rest of the year.
Instead, the majority of the crowd will consist of knowledgeable people who are there to size up the horses and see whether or not they should expect any surprises at the National Hunt Scene later in the year. If you feel that’s your kind of crowd, then don’t miss the April Meeting!