The countdown is well and truly on for one of the greatest sporting spectacles in the world, the Cheltenham Festival. The four day racing and betting frenzy takes place during its traditional mid-week slot during the second week of March. In 2019 that means March 12th to March 15th.
Each and every day has a headline race but, in recent times, Cheltenham have also taken to giving each day a specific name. Read our Cheltenham Betting guide for all the important info, odds and betting tips…
As usual Cheltenham betting on the 2019 festival began the moment the horses crossed the winning line in 2018. The year-long ante-post books are one of the unique features of features of the Cheltenham Festival. Unlike Royal Ascot and other festivals, Cheltenham betting markets are open for business long before the action gets underway.
Naturally the four Championship races that headline the action every day of the Festival generate the most betting interest – they are the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase, Stayers Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup – and in 2019 the defending champions are all towards the head of the ante-post betting in their quest to retain their titles.
The good news is Aussie punters can bet on all the action thanks to the likes of bet365 and Ladbrokes. The races will run each morning from early Wednesday morning through to early Saturday morning, starting from around 12:30 a.m. Australian eastern time. Not surprisingly for England in March, rain is being forecast at the picturesque Cotswolds racecourse the entire week, which should present plenty of opportunity for some betting upsets.
There’s been plenty of news in the leadup to the Cheltenham Festival, with a number of horses being moved around between the major races as trainers scramble to find the best fits. Following are our betting tips and the latest news updates on the biggest races on day three and four: the Stayers’ Hurdle, Ryanair Chase, the biggest race of them all – the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
This 3-mile (4,828m) hurdle is the biggest race on day three, and it suddenly became a lot more open when last year’s winner Penhill pulled out with injury a couple of weeks ago. Penhill’s withdrawal has left JLT Hurdle winner Paisley Park as the clear favourite, paying 2.50 at Ladbrokes. However, a number of other horses are in with a chance here, including second-favourite Faugheen, at 5.00, and Supasundae, who has been backed in from long odds to the third line of betting at 9.00. Some late changes are still on the cards given a number of the horses have been booked in for multiple races. Therefore, it’s worth checking in with Ladbrokes multiple times in the days leading up to Friday morning’s Stayers’ Hurdle to see how the field and odds narrow down.
The Ryanair Chase is the second biggest race on day three of the Cheltenham Festival, with 18 horses competing over a 2-mile, 5-furlong course with 17 hurdles. Bet365is quoting single-figure odds on seven of the 18 horses, including Frodon at 6.50. Frodon is “almost certain” to run in the Ryanair chase instead of the Gold Cup, trainer Paul Nicholls was reported as saying in British newspapers this week. The seven-year-old has won four time at the Cheltenham racecourse. Nicholls has expressed confidence in his chances, telling Sky Sports Racing: “He’s almost certain to run in the Ryanair, it looks like some of the big names have dropped out, it will be interesting to see what does run.” In order to win, Frodon will have to get past equal-favourites Footpad and Min, 4.50, Monalee 5.00, Road to Respect, 6.00, 2017 winner Un De Sceaux, 7.00, and Notch, 9.00.
At the turn of the year the online bookmakers that have been betting on the key Cheltenham Festival races tend to change their terms with ‘non-runner no bet’ (NRNB) replacing traditional ‘all in run or not’ ante-post betting rules. This coincides with entries of a number of key races being made.
The race action always takes place two months later in mid-March over four midweek days: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. In 2019 that’s March 12th to the 15th.
While there is a Championship race every day – beginning with the Unibet sponsored Champion Hurdle on the Tuesday and culminating with the Cheltenham Gold Cup on the Friday – every one of the seven races which make up a Cheltenham Festival race day are top-drawer contests attracting some remarkable bets and huge betting turnover.
In total 260,000+ people will go through the entry gates at Prestbury Park, the home of the Cheltenham Festival and in total over a billion dollars will be gambled on the 28 Cheltenham races during the week.
Racing gets underway at 1.30pm local time every day with 40 minutes between races. Every race day has a name…
Champion Day Betting
Tuesday March 12th is now known as ‘Champion Day’ and it’s the day where Cheltenham Betting Offers are thrown at the general public by betting firms desperate to attract new customers business and loyalty for the remainder of the week.
On the racetrack the Champion Hurdle tops the bill, it’s a race Irish-trained runners have won for the past three years and they are a massive odds-on shot to prevail again.
Ladies Day Betting
Day two of the Cheltenham Festival is Ladies Day. Ladies Day betting revolves around the Queen Mother Champion Chase, another race where the Irish look set to dominate in 2017 as the Willie Mullins trained Douvan, unbeaten in 13 starts, heads the betting as a long odds-on shot.
St Patrick’s Day Betting
Now, despite Ireland’s St Patricks Day being on March 17th, Day Three of the Cheltenham Festival (on March 14th) is officially described as ‘St Patrick’s Thursday’.
Suffice to say there will be plenty of Guinness on sale in the grandstands, Irish music to lift the spirits and great action on the course headlined by the Ryanair-sponsored (an Irish company of course) World Hurdle and the Ryanair Chase.
Gold Cup Betting
And finally there is Gold Cup Day when 70,000 racegoers will pack their way into the Cheltenham racecourse and betting turnover will be colossal.
All major online bookmakers with a foothold in Europe will be offering Cheltenham betting odds on every Festival race. And with the Festival being such a betting frenzy online bookmakers tend to devise elaborate Cheltenham free bets, offers, money back promotions and odds boost.
Furthermore a lot of popular bets have additional bells and whistles. Shop around for bet365 Cheltenham offers and you are sure to find additional each-way paying places in the big field races while others, such as MadBookie, will return enhanced prices for big margin winners.
Every traditional bet market, from wins, to forecasts, tricasts, each-way and ‘without the favourite’ will be on offer on all of the 2019 Cheltenham Festival races. Multiple and system bets (featuring doubles, trebles, four-folds etc) will be available to all and Cheltenham free bets galore will be handed out for hard luck stories such as short-head seconds, first fence fallers and more.
The process of logging in, locating your race, your Cheltenham Festival fancy or tips, bet type and chosen stake on your Cheltenham bets online bookie such as Ladbrokesor Topbettais as straight forwards as ever.
A plethora of Cheltenham betting offers will be available for this four-day horse racing extravaganza and the special offers and concessions have already begun.
Some betting firms, like Betfairand bet365, introduced ‘non-runner no-bet’ terms their ante-post markets on the major Championship races in January.
This is a massive Cheltenham offer as some betting markets, such as the World Hurdle and Champion Hurdle, feature multiple entries from the yard of Irish champion trainer Willie Mullins. He’s given no indication as to where Annie Power will run for example.
The wonder mare, who won last year’s Champion Hurdle, could easily skip that two-mile championship race and run in the three-mile World Hurdle as could her stablemates Nichols Canyon, Vroum Vroum Mag and Yorkhill.
By the first week of March all firms, with no exception, will be offering their own unique concessions and enhancements. Many, such as Stan James, can be expected to return stakes on all losers should the favourite win the opening race of the Festival.
Bet365have a standing horse racing offer of backing a winner of an ITV televised race priced 4/1 or more and they will give you a free bet. During last year’s Cheltenham Festival Betfairjoined that party albeit only a 3/1 winner was required with them and the reward was three free bets on Day 1 of the Festival.
Consequently win bets are the most popular wagers during Cheltenham week. And, with so many Cheltenham betting offers doing the rounds, in some instances astute punters can guarantee themselves profits if exploiting them correctly.
Recommended bookies for Cheltenham Festival betting
Unibetare a major player in the sport of National Hunt racing in the UK and Ireland. They now sponsor numerous high-profile Cheltenham Festival prep races and have associations with some of the sport’s biggest names. Amongst those are Champion trainer Nicky Henderson and the popular Irish trainer Jessica Harrington.
Their video blogs and news updates make Unibet an invaluable source of information and Cheltenham betting tips. For their part Unibet do their bit with an exceptional Cheltenham free bets welcome offer for new customers and offer some outstanding betting odds on the Champion Hurdle, the race they sponsor.
But the UK-based bet365have over 30 million worldwide customers for good reason and it is not just their integrity, licencing and choice of betting sports. They roll the boat out for the Cheltenham Festival with an array of outstanding Cheltenham free bets, offers and promotions which few can match.
Another British company, Ladbrokes, boast over 100 years in the betting industry and they too come highly recommended given their countless odds-boosts and promotional offers.
Finally, if you prefer to shop at home, Topbettacover international racing as well as anyone and they pride themselves on covering all the major races. Who knows you might just find yourself a few runners that are overpriced when compared to the odds on offer at the European facing sportsbooks.
Cheltenham Free Bets
Every year sees punters bombarded with special offers and Cheltenham free bets from sportsbooks keen to get your business.
There is only one winner in this frenzied promotion war: clued-up punters who can benefit from enhanced odds, money back on losers and, most importantly, Cheltenham Festival free bets which are commonplace.
Do consider how to use your Cheltenham free bets which are the preferred method of refunding customers for concessions such as ‘money back if finishing second’.
During the course of these fever-pitched Cheltenham betting days it will be very easy to accumulate several which could be ‘cluster bombed’ on just one race giving you a far better chance of a return. In a small field it could probably be guaranteed. Chicken Dinner!
For the past three years more Irish-trained runners have prevailed at the Cheltenham Festival than UK trained horses. The rivalry is such the ‘competition’ for the most successful country is now called the ‘Prestbury Cup’ – and guess what? You can bet on it!
Irish horses have fared particularly well in the handicap races at the Cheltenham Festival in recent years so keep an eye out for them again this year.
The Cheltenham winners 2018 who are looking to repeat the feat in the level-weight Championship races are quite fancied in the betting markets once again so look out for Buveur D’Air, who will attempt to win the Unibet Champion Hurdle for a third successive year, Altior (unbeaten in 17 races) in the Champion Chase, Penhill in the Stayers Hurdle and Native River in the big one, the Cheltenham Gold Cup.