Cheltenham Festival weather

The Cheltenham Festival is often called the crown jewel of jump racing, taking place this year from Tuesday, March 12th to Friday, March 15th, 2024. The event is known for its thrilling races, intense competition, and festive atmosphere. However, Mother Nature can play a significant role. Heavy rain can turn the course muddy, making it a slog for horses and potentially favouring powerful stayers. Conversely, bone-dry ground can become unforgiving, demanding extra from the horses. The ideal conditions lie somewhere in between.
Horse racing in wet weather
Mixed weather for Cheltenham?
9th March 2024

February was exceptionally mild, particularly across the southern half of the UK. March has been more mixed, with temperatures running a little below the 30 year average through the first week of the month. There has also been less rain, but ground water levels remain high after the wet winter. 

Milder but mixed weather for Cheltenham?

Computer models are generally showing a gradual transition through the coming days to an Atlantic based weather pattern. The chillier conditions in recent days have been caused by an east or southeasterly wind, with high pressure centred to the northeast of the UK.

In the coming days a milder southwesterly flow is expected to develop. It leads to an increasing risk of rain, but forecast details are still uncertain. Most computer model forecasts at the time of publication are showing rain to be patchy, with high pressure still having some influence. Nevertheless, there is still a chance that heavier outbreaks of rain will push in at times, more likely to occur towards the end of the Cheltenham Festival.

The chart below is for midday on Tuesday 12th March. It shows dry and relatively calm conditions across the UK, with areas of low pressure centred to the west of the UK. 

UKM Global, Tuesday 12th March
Rain forecast chart, Midday 12th March

By midday on Friday 15th March a southwesterly flow covers the UK and there are some showers dotted around. 

Rain forecast chart, midday 15th March
Rain forecast chart, Midday 15th March

Temperatures may struggle early on, perhaps reaching a maximum of between 9C to 11C on Tuesday. However, with a southwesterly flow developing milder air will be returning. By Thursday and Friday highs of 13C to 16C are possible, and it could feel pleasantly warm in any sunny spells that develop.

Temperature forecast chart
Temperature forecast chart, 3:00pm 14th March

Mixed but dry periods and milder

In summary, there is uncertainty about the details, but the general picture is for a milder southwesterly flow to return during the Cheltenham Festival. Therefore, umbrellas may be needed at times, but after a chilly start it should be feeling a good deal milder towards the end. 

You can keep up to date with the latest weather forecast using these links:

Cheltenham race course weather hour by hour

Cheltenham race course 16 day weather 

Also, if you'd like to take a deep dive then check out our massive selection of computer model charts and data. The Model inventory is the place to start. 

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