The Cheltenham Festival is the highlight on the calendar in national hunt horse racing. The annual meeting takes place in the middle of March where fans of the sport flock to the Gloucestershire track from the UK and Ireland to see the best horses race against each other in their respective divisions.
Here is everything you need to know about betting at the meeting.
It is possible to combine a number of the Cheltenham Festival races in a multiple bet to try and increase your winnings. For example, if you want to select the winner of the four Championship races (Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, Stayers’ Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup) you can do this in an accumulator.
The odds will depend on the four prices and you can do so by backing all four horses to win or as an each-way bet where they only need to finish in the frame for you to collect. 888sport has an extensive guide about accumulators and other multiple bets if you want to learn more about your options.
For instance, the guide explains that an accumulator is the simplest form of a multiple bet that exists as the unit stake you choose is exactly how much you pay for the bet.
Some punters prefer to stick to the same trainer or jockey in these bets. In 2015 Irish Trainer Willie Mullins set the Cheltenham Festival record with eight winners at the meeting and will prove very popular again at the 2017 meeting.
You can place a bet on any one of the 28 races at the Cheltenham Festival from as early as the opening month of the new national hunt season which takes place in October. This is known as an ante-post bet and often you will get much bigger odds than you would on the day of the race.
The reason why the bookmakers give you greater odds is because if the horse does not run in your selected race, you will lose your money. It is therefore important to do your research on your runner to make sure its target for the season is the race you are betting on.
Cheltenham Gold Cup
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the feature race of the meeting and is arguably the biggest race of the season in national hunt racing. The favourite for the 2017 running of the 3m2f chase is Thistlecrack who is odds-on at 4-6.
The market leader for the Gold Cup is usually determined by how the results of the Betfair Chase, King George VI Chase and Lexus Chase go earlier in the season. Thistlecrack was the very impressive winner of the 2016 King George therefore has earned his place at the top of the betting for the Blue Riband event at the Festival.
Finally, the Champion Hurdle is the most prestigious hurdle contest during the meeting. If placing a bet on this race, always look for the form of the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton and Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown as the winners of these races have an excellent record in this 2m contest at the Festival.