Cheltenham Festival: Plans to extend to five-day meeting under consideration but Jockey Club rule out immediate change

Cheltenham Festival currently spans four days in March but talk of move to include extra day has been mooted since last year; idea has largely divided racing fans and pundits; Jockey Club say there are no immediate intentions to extend the meeting

Jockey Jack Kennedy celebrates winning the WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase on Minella Indo ahead of A Plus Tard and Rachael Blackmore (right) during day four of the Cheltenham Festival
Image: Cheltenham Festival could be extended to five days

Plans to extend the Cheltenham Festival are back under consideration, although the Jockey Club has ruled out any immediate change to the current format.

The fixture currently spans four days in March and is one of the most anticipated features of the National Hunt calendar, culminating with the revered Cheltenham Gold Cup on the final day of racing.

The suggestion that a fifth day of action was due to be scheduled was first raised in January 2020, when racecourse chairman Martin St Quinton said that he "wouldn't rule anything out" with regards to extending the meeting.

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The idea is now being discussed once again after The Daily Telegraph reported the Jockey Club is intending to host a five-day Festival in 2023, with each day trimmed to a six-race card and therefore only two further contests required to fill the extra day.

A spokesperson for the Jockey Club explained there have been no developments on the matter and while a five-day meeting has not been expressly rejected, there are no immediate intentions to extend the fixture.

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"It is always interesting to listen to the debate around a fifth day and the last time this was discussed in earnest in public some key stakeholders in our sport expressed their desire for a fifth day," a statement read.

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"We will always explore every option to improve the Festival and support British racing, but we have made no decision to extend the length of the Festival."

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