The 2019 Cheltenham Festival is fast approaching and here I explain how to get the most from your horse racing bets
There is nothing like the Cheltenham Festival, with racing fans describing this as the Greatest Show on Turf and it’s a week where punters clash with the bookmakers in the hope of landing a few winners and showing a clear profit for the four-day meeting.
In this article, I recommend the best ways to enjoy the 2019 Cheltenham Festival from a betting point-of-view, with the bookies falling over themselves to drum up business from new and existing customers.
Best Cheltenham Bookies
Key Cheltenham Info
The Festival runs for 4 days and this year begins on Tuesday 12th March 2019. Each day has its own official name, ending on Friday with The Gold Cup which is arguably to biggest day of the jumps racing season.
Day 1 – Champions Day
Day 2 – Ladies Day
Day 3 – St. Patricks Day
Day 4 – Gold Cup Day
Cheltenham Festival Best Bets 2019
Ante-Post (Betting before the race has been fully confirmed. Each race is confirmed 24 hours before the race time)
*Note: Whilst there is a chance the horse may not run, you normally get better odds for betting early. Some bookies also offer no runner no bet, so even if your horse doesn’t run you get your money back.
Day 1 – Tues 12th March
Day 2 – Wed 13th March
Day 3 – Thurs 14th March
Day 4 – Fri 15th March
7 Top Cheltenham Festival Tips
1. Make Sure You Have Several Betting Accounts
While you might have a favourite bookmaker for your betting requirements, it’s worth having more than one account for the Cheltenham Festival.
Firstly, you get the best welcome bonuses when you open a betting account during Cheltenham, with many operators boosting their free bet offer in the hope of driving more business during this busy week.
In addition, existing customers will get a silver service thanks to price boosts, enhanced place terms for selected races and ultra-competitive odds which sees the bookies take on several favourites during the meeting.
It also pays to have multiple betting accounts so that you can get the best possible price about the horses that you fancy. And you’ll probably be backing plenty of horses during Festival week.
2. Have a Cheltenham Festival Staking Plan
We’re not telling you to only bet on selected races as we understand that the Cheltenham Festival offers a feast of races and that punters like to have an interest every time they tune in to watch.
However, there are clearly going to be horses that you fancy more strongly than others and that’s why it’s worth having a Cheltenham staking plan, especially when you consider there are seven races on each of the four days.
You might allocate a certain amount of money that you are happy to gamble for each day of the Cheltenham Festival, or alternatively you might break this amount down into a stake per race so that you have a limit for how much you can potentially lose if it isn’t your day.
3. Consider Win Only or Each-Way Betting
It’s never easy to find a winner at the Cheltenham Festival, although a bit of research and smart betting means you don’t always have to back the first horse past the post in order to make a profit each time.
There are races at Cheltenham where a bookmaker might offer five or even six places when it comes to an each-way bet and it’s worth taking advantage for races such as the Coral Cup and the National Hunt Handicap Chase.
The place terms can differ according to the number of runners in the field and also the bookmaker website you visit. Naturally, there are times when a horse is trading too short to make an each-way bet worthwhile and you do dilute your potential profit by betting this way.
4. Have a Bang on a Cheltenham Placepot
A Placepot is a favourite of many racegoers at the course and it’s easy to see why. Rather than try and back winners during each day of the Cheltenham Festival, you can go for a Placepot which involves selecting horses simply to place in that particular race.
A Placepot also allows you to select more than one horse for a particular race which means you can cover more angles for races with a bigger field. Should you place a bet where you have at least one horse placing for each race, then you will win a share of the overall pool.
There are other Tote bets that you can place such as the Exacta or Jackpot and these style of pool bets are available with most fixed-odds bookmakers so that you can go ahead and stake online.
5. Look at the Form Before Betting
It’s all very well listening to the opinions of the experts ahead of the Cheltenham Festival, although they’re often in disagreement over which horses are going to win big races such as the Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Chase and Gold Cup.
Ultimately, punters should trust their own judgement when it comes to betting as it’s far more rewarding when you look at the form and manage to work out which horses are likely to run best.
There are certain trends which means a horse of a certain age is or isn’t likely to win a particular race. For example, five-year-olds traditionally have a poor record in Champion Hurdles.
6. Look at Previous Cheltenham Winners
As you might already know, Cheltenham is an undulating track and it’s vital for any winner to get the trip. While a horse might have been impressive at a course like Haydock or Kempton, it’s a different kettle of fish when it comes to the Cheltenham Festival where horses have to travel up and downhill more often.
We regularly see horses win at the Cheltenham Festival who have previously triumphed either at the same meeting or alternatively another Cheltenham meeting and it often pays to stick with these runners.
There’s a saying that you get “horses for course” and this is especially true for runners at Cheltenham who have been known to act at the course, especially if the conditions are soft and require a horse to show bags of stamina in order to creep up that Prestbury Park hill in first place.
7. Consider the Trainer and Jockey Before Betting
You can often get some Cheltenham clues by spotting which horse a particular jockey has opted to ride for a certain race. Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty have been successful at the Festival in the past and these top jockeys naturally get the pick of the bunch whether it’s a Championship race or a lesser one.
The same applies to picking out a trainer such as Nicky Henderson, Willie Mullins or Gordon Elliott. These trainers tend to enjoy plenty of success at the big meetings and it’s worth following them through the card which can often land punters a profit.
Understanding Horse Racing Betting
I thought I should cover some common terminology that will hear during Cheltenham Festival week. This way you understand what’s going on and can even use the knowledge to good in front of your friends haha.
Bet ‘On The Nose’
This is just betting on a horse to win.
This means you are betting the horse to win and/or place. So, if you bet £5 each way (E/W), £5 goes on the horse to win and £5 goes on the horse to place (finish in the top 2, 3 or 4)
Some races are handicap races and they do this to make the race competitive. They make each horse the same weight by calculating the weight of the jockey and adding extra weight in the saddle.
In theory it should mean every horse in the race has a good shot at winning. It rarely works out this way as some horses cope better than others. Thats why you hear terms like ‘that horse is well handicapped’. What they are saying here is that even with the handicap they think the horse is capable of running well.
Market Movers / Steamers
If a horses odds go from 66/1 to 4/1, that’s a steamer!! It means there has been a lot of money placed on the horse so the chances are it’s expected to run well.
Look for big movement in prices during each day and it might lead to some vital information.
This is when a horses odd get bigger as no one is betting on it. It doesn’t always mean it has no chance but it’s more noticeable if other horses in the race have been backed then I would advises leaving horses that have drifted in their odds.