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Cheltenham Racecourse Undercover Ahead Of Festival (PICTURES)

11/03/2013 14:59 GMT

Cheltenham Racecourse was undercover ahead of the start of the 2013 Festival, as attendants are braced for a cold reception.

Bookmakers have said snow could also play havoc with the Festival this week, and it is now a 2/1 (from 4/1) shot that any day's racing is subject to a sprinkling of snow.

A total of 27 races over four days will make for the "Greatest Show On Turf".

It is expected punters will shell out over £600million in bets. Frankel dominated the column inches throughout the summer, as he became the world's greatest race horse, but Cheltenham could well see a National Hunt star propel on to the front pages as Sprinter Sacre is set to be one of the stars of the week, as he aims for victory in the Queen Mother Champion Chase on day two.

cheltenham festival

A rider covers up in the cold on the gallops at Cheltenham Racecourse

Yet to be beaten over fences, the Nicky Henderson trained superstar has trounced his rivals with some magnificent displays and he is set to be sent off a short odds-on favourite for the Wednesday highlight and his brilliance will be there for all to see if he can produce a performance that has seen him become one of Jump Racing's hottest prospects for many years.

One of the highlights of the Cheltenham Festival each year is the travelling Irish contingent who bring a glitz and glamour to the occasion from the Emerald Isle and those making the trip from across the Irish Sea will be hoping that Hurricane Fly can be the shining beacon on the opening day, as he looks to regain the Champion Hurdle crown which he won in 2011, along with fellow Willie Mullins runner, Quevega, who is bidding to become the first horse to win the same race five times at the Cheltenham Festival when she lines up in the Mares Hurdle in the penultimate race on Tuesday.

Four-times winner of the World Hurdle Big Buck's will miss his chance of a similar record bid due to injury, so the three mile Grade One Championship race will see a wide open field congregate for Thursday's feature event and punters will have their work cut out to unearth the winner, whilst the spectacle on the final day and entire meeting, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, looks equally as difficult to deduce.

Bobs Worth and Sir Des Champs have won races at the last two Cheltenham Festivals and they head the latest betting for the blue riband event, but 2011 winner, Long Run, will be aiming to regain his crown, whilst connections of Silviniaco Conti and Captain Chris will be confident of glory.

Cheltenham 2013