Understanding Cheltenham Festival Betting (2020)
Quite rightly billed as The Greatest Show on Turf, the Cheltenham Festival is the highlight of the British National Hunt Horse Racing season and one of the biggest betting events of the year.
Over the winter months, the jump season in the UK builds towards a climax in the middle of March, just a few short weeks away from the Grand National. Worth over £4 million plus of prize money, the festival, the biggest of its kind in Horse Racing, attracts 250,000 people to the stunning Cotswold Hills for four days of exciting equine action.
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Betting Tips for Cheltenham 2020
Here you will find our betting tips for the ante-posts of the main events. You may also want to visit our Non Runner No Bet page for the latest bookmakers offering this promotion.
Champion Hurdle Ante-post Betting
The ante-post favourite for the Cheltenham Festival Champion Hurdle betting is Epatante who 7/2 with William Hill, despite being much shorter almost everywhere else.That said, there is a strong reason to look further down the runners where Klassical Dream can be picked up for 10/1, here with bet365. If Klassical Dreamdoes take part as expected, he could prove to be too good for his rivals in the opening day’s stand out race, his form so far this season shows that he has won each of his first four starts over jumps. With BuveurD’Air injured, it would be unwise to rule out the challenge of Sharjah, a 10/1 hopeful at Ladbrokes and is a horse that is certainly capable of turning Klassical Dream’s day into a nightmare.Willie Mullins’ Saldier, who won a Grade 1 race at Punchestown, will no doubt pick up plenty of backers and is available in the ante-post betting as a far and away best price of 8/1 with William Hill. Another runner that could mount a serious challenge is Pentland Hills, who is circling the 8/1 mark as a best price offered by Unibet. Again, this isn’t a price that is expected to last too long so act fast is the advice for anyone who fancies Pentland Hills ashis price shorten considerably by the time they line up at 15.10 on March 10.
Queen Mother Champion Chase Ante-post Betting
Two times winner in this event, Altiorshould be back to challenge for a third and, given that he has been dominant over two miles for the past few years, will feature on many punters’ betting slips. This is a return to a happy hunting ground for Alitorfollowing his withdrawal from the King George and Coral’s 7/2 feels more than generous. Trainer Nicky Henderson has since admitted that the Champion Chase is Altior’s sole objective for this year’s Festival but he will likely face a strong challenge from Defi du Seuil. Tingle Creek winner Defi Du Seuil, trained by Philip Hobbs, is a three-time Grade 1 winner over obstacles demonstrating that he will be a big threat at Cheltenham, so much so that you wont do better right now than William Hill’s 4/1. He did however come unstuck against Willie Mullins-trained Chacun Pour Soi, 5/1 with bet365, who came out on top in the Grade 1 Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown back in May and who in turn was beaten by A Plus Tard at Leopardstown over the Christmas period. A Plus Tard took the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival 2019, winning by an impressive 16-lengths proving he is one to watch for the Queen Mothers, especially given his 10/1 price at Coral. Ante-post bettors be ware though, entry has not been confirmed and he could yet appear in Thursday’s Ryanair instead. Ladbrokes’ 16/1 shot Douvan is back to winning ways following a lengthy layoff and is another to keep an eye on.
Stayers Hurdle Ante-post Betting
Despite currently being quoted in a number of Cheltenham Festival betting races, Paisley Park is the short pricedStayers Hurdle ante post favourite and with good reason. If performs anywhere close to best of his ability then he is capable of winning this in style. Losing only once in 10 coming into the season, and winning this race 12 months ago, he looks a strong shout to make it a double, should he run of course.6/4 at Paddy Power is the best you can expect to get on such an outcome. The biggest threat, if any, looks likely to be posed by Benie Des Dieux, who will be hoping Paisley Park will pursue one of his other nominations. The French bred eight-year-old mare came into the season with six wins in seven but fell at Cheltenham last year when all clear to win so her owners will feel there is a wrong to be corrected, a chance that has been ranked at 10/1 with William Hill. If The Cap Fits and Champ are the others we recommend considering. If The Cap Fits is the current second favourite but his price of 8/1 across the board suggests he has to run the race of his life to keep up with Paisley Park. The JP McManus owned Champ is trained by Nicky Henderson so we know the pedigree is sound and he wouldn’t be entering a contest of this quality unless they thought he was in with a chance. 16/1 is quite a price for a horse that has never finished outside of the top two in 10 starts, winning seven and placing three times.
Cheltenham Gold Cup Ante-post Betting
Last year's winner, Willie Mullins’ Al Boum Photo, currently occupies the favourite spot in the market which is no surprise, given the value of having course and distance form and experience at Cheltenham. William Hill are offering a best price of 5/1 on Al Boum Photo. Second favourite Kemboy will definitely pick up some major wins this season and we can see why he is attracting money but, after a disappointing fourth in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown, Cheltenham feels like it has come to early. For those if greater faith, Bet365’s 7/1 can be considered a good price. In the same race at Leopardstown, another Gold Cup charge, and last year’s favourite, Presenting Percy, 12/1 with bet365, came in sixth and will want to improve on last year’s disappointing run. Elsewhere, Betfair’s 9/1 shot Clan Des Obeauxwon boxing day’s King George for the second year in succession and will be strongly fancied, as will the iconic Native River, 16/1 with William Hill. The 2018 winner will always be popular, even if a win here will surely be his last. Other names to watch out for include Lostintranslation, Topofthegame, Santini and Delta Work.
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2020 Cheltenham Festival and Betting Schedule
As ever, Tuesday is opening day although it is more commonly referred to as Champions Day. The opening event is the Supreme Novices' Hurdle which features the best young hurdlers around. The Arkle also goes on day one as does the Unibet Champion Hurdle, won by some true Horse Racing legends over the years such as Brave Inca, Persian Warand Istabraq.
Day two is known as Ladies Day and sees the staging of the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase which features the fastest two-milers and is swiftly followed by the RSA Insurance Novices' Chase which provides a test for the stayers of tomorrow. Look out too for the Cross Country Chase with which two times Grand National winner Tiger Roll announced his arrival as a thoroughbred of note.
Thursday is another huge day of thrilling national hunt racing at its finest, boasting not one but two Grade Ones, the Stayers' Hurdle and the Ryanair Chase, while the three mile Pertemps Network Final is yet another quality charge. On Friday, Gold Cup Day, one of racing’s most sought after titles is put on the line in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Also on the festival’s final day is the JCB Triumph Hurdle and the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, while the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle rounds off the Festival.
Tuesday, March 10: Cheltenham Day 1
|Time (GMT)||Event||Distance||Prize Money|
|13.30||Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1)||2m 87y||£125,000|
|14.10||Racing Post Arkle Novices' Chase (Grade 1)||1m 7f 199y||£175,000|
|14.50||Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3)||3m 1f||£110,000|
|15.30||Unibet Champion Hurdle (Grade 1)||2m 87y||£450,000|
|16.10||David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle (Grade 1)||2m 3f 200y||£120,000|
|16.50||Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase (Listed)||2m 4f 44y||£70,000|
|17.30||National Hunt Chase (Amateur Riders' Novices' Chase) (Grade 2)||3m 7f 147y||£125,000|
Wednesday, March 11: Cheltenham Day 2
|Time (GMT)||Event||Distance||Prize Money|
|13.30||Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1)||2m 5f||£125,000|
|14.10||RSA Insurance Novices' Chase (Grade 1)||3m 80y||£175,000|
|14.50||Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)||2m 5f||£100,000|
|15.30||Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1)||1m 7f 99y||£400,000|
|16.10||Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase||3m 6f 37y||£65,000|
|16.50||Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)||2m 87y||£80,000|
|17.30||Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade 1)||2m 87y||£75,000|
Thursday, March 12: Cheltenham Day 3
|Time (GMT)||Event||Distance||Prize Money|
|13.30||MARSH Novices' Chase (Grade 1)||2m 3f 166y||£150,000|
|14.10||Pertemps Network Final (Handicap Hurdle) (Grade 3)||2m 7f 213y||£100,000|
|14.50||Ryanair Chase (Grade 1)||2m 4f 127y||£350,000|
|15.30||Stayers' Hurdle (Grade 1)||2m 7f 213y||£325,000|
|16.10||Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate (Handicap Chase) (Grade 3)||2m 4f 166y||£110,000|
|16.50||Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2)||2m 179y||£90,000|
|17.30||Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase (Grade 2)||3m 2f||£70,000|
Friday, March 13: Cheltenham Day 4
|Time (GMT)||Event||Distance||Prize Money|
|13.30||JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1)||2m 179y||£125,000|
|14.10||Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)||2m 179y||£100,000|
|14.50||Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1)||2m 7f 213y||£125,000|
|15.30||Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup (Grade 1)||3m 2f 70y||£625,000|
|16.10||St James's Place Foxhunter Chase (Grade 2)||3m 2f 70y||£45,000|
|16.50||Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase (Grade 3)||2m 62y||£110,000|
|17.30||Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle (0-145)||2m 4f 56y||£70,000|
Popular Cheltenham Festival Bets
Ante post betting
Ante-post betting is, quite simply, a bet on the outcome of an event that bettors place a long time ahead of the event even taking place. While it can generate greater value, betting this far ahead of time does bring risks. If your selection doesn’t run, your stake will be deemed a loser, rather than voided. People often take the risk though due to the enhanced odds given as a result of the extra risk attached.
Singles and Each Way betting
An each way bet is basically two separate bets in one made up of equal stakes. One half of the bet is reserved to back the outright winner, the other half is a kind of insurance bet that rewards a place finish for a fraction of the odds.For example, a £5 each way (e/w) bet will cost £10 in total. The first bet is a bet on the horse to win and will be settled at the full odds given, while the second bet is a bet on the horse to be placed which, depending on the race’s length and number of runners, can be anywhere between 2nd and 5th places, and usually ¼ or 1/5 of the odds unless the bookmaker is running a promotion.
Forecasts & Reverse Forecasts
A forecast is a bet on the top two finishers of a race, say for example the Cheltenham Gold Cup, in which you have predicted first and second places accurately. Working in a similar way to each way bets, reverse forecasts are two stake bets in which you have successfully predicted the top two finishers but have split your stake on them finishing in either order, meaning so long as your two selections finish in the top two, you will get paid which ever order they finish in.
When betting at the Cheltenham Festival, many punters choose to bet on a one line bet called a placepot. A placepot is live for every race meeting in the UK, in this case Cheltenham, and is operated by the Tote, a onetime UK national bookmaker and pools service that was recently saved from administration. A place pot works by punters picking a horse to place in the first – or last – six races of a meeting. So long as your pick places in each race, your bet will pay out according to a figure generated by the Tote and divided by how many winners have also won the pot, similar to a lottery.
An accumulator, or acca as it is often referred to, is another popular bet that works very well in horse racing. Essentially, it means to bet on the winner of a race in at least four different occasions. Because the rewards can be so large, there is a growing number of horse racing punters using their horse racing knowledge to predict multiple race winners and scoop potentially huge payouts. Beware though, unless you have selected an each way acca, a horse racing accumulator will only pay out if all of your selections win.
Other Permutation bets
Betting permutation bets, also known as combination bets are, like accumulators, multiple selection bets but broken down into minor bets such as doubles, trebles, four-folds and so on, plus, if you want, you can include singles too. With this type of wager, while all of your picks need to win for a maximum payout, it only requires a number of selections, or even one, to get a return on your investment. These bets are listed as a Trixie which is three selections and four bets (3 doubles and 1 treble) and becomes a 7 bet wager named a Patent when the 3 selections are included as singles too. There are names for the corresponding bets with extra selections too, from a Yankee (4 runners), Canadian (5 runners) and a Heinz (6 runners) that, with singles, become a Lucky 15, Lucky 31 and Lucky 63 respectively.
Cheltenham Festival Biggest Races
The Champion Hurdle is the feature race of Tuesday’s Day one making it the first Grade 1 of the festival and also the first of four key championship races at the event too. The race is run over 2 miles and ½ a furlong and takes place on the old course at Cheltenham. Open to horses aged four or older, this race has in the past been dominated by Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson, two of the most successful trainers at the festival and incidentally worth following when making your picks. Past winners in this championship race include BuveurD'Air, Brave Inca and Faugheen.
Queen Mother Chase
The feature race of the day two is the Queen Mother Champion Chase, a Grade 1 championship event run over two miles on the old course. It is the second of four Championship races and has a rich history making it the highlight of Ladies’ Day. The race is open to horses five years old and up. Winners in previous years include Master Minded, Altior, Sprinter Sacre and Sizing Europe, pictured above.
The Stayers' Hurdle
The Stayers’ Hurdle is the headline race of Day three and, as the name suggests, tests of the staying powers of racing’s elite hurdlers. The race is run over 3 miles on the new course and is open to all horses aged four and older. Over the years, this race has been won by some of the best horses in the history of jump racing such asThistlecrack, Big Buck’s, Inglis Drever and Baracouda.
Cheltenham Gold Cup
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is arguably the premium jump race in the UK’s National Hunt season. It is an extremely prestigious Grade 1 race that takes place each year, usually on the second or third Friday in March. This Steeple Chase is run over a distance of 3 miles 2½ furlongs and features 22 fences. Only horses five years or older that have a British Horseracing Authority (BHA) rating of 130 or more are eligible to enter. Famous winners from yesteryear include Arkle, Desert Orchid, Best Mate, Native River and Kauto Star.
Cheltenham Festival History
Operated by The Jockey Club, Cheltenham race course is located on the edge of town, by the famous Cleeve Hill. The modern day Cheltenham Racecourse, complete with recently built grandstand, becomes the centre of the horse racing world for four days each March when it hosts its world famous horse racing festival.
Cheltenham didn’t see its first horse race until 1815, when flat racing was staged on Nottingham Hill. By 1818, this had extended to five races on Cleeve Hill which inspired the original grandstand to be opened for the following year. Back then, the meeting was based in August and before long had been extended to three days with a course officially laid out to match. Before long, a trophy was added to proceedings and the first ever Gold Cup was run as a three-mile flat race for three-year-olds.
As the meeting grew in popularity, it attracted the best and the worst of society, the latter of which set the grandstand a blaze in 1829 completely destroying it. In 1831, racing first began at Prestbury Park on the site of the current course before returning briefly to Cleeve Hill. As the turf deteriorated and the popularity of steeplechasing grew, Cleeve Hill gradually fell out of use. Around the same time, racing enthusiast William Baring Bingham purchased the Prestbury Park site, initially with the intention of using the site as a stud farm.
However, by 1902, Baring Bingham had established the modern course and with it Cheltenham’s first National Hunt Festival after which it was decided that Cheltenham should be the headquarters for steeplechasing in the UK.
Famous Cheltenham Horses
Istabraq was extremely popular at the Cheltenham Festival because he was a warrior, with a stunning turn of speed that he could employ when the vital moment arrived. Winning the Champions Hurdle three times, he might even have won it a fourth in 2001 but that year’s event was called off due to a national outbreak of foot and mouth disease, probably the only thing that could have stopped this remarkable champion.
A horse so popular it received fan mail. Arkle was another horse to have won three Gold Cups, he also collected three Leopardstown Chase wins, as well as the King George VI and two Hennessy Gold Cups over his stunning career. It was a career in which he won 27 out of his 34 major outings, peaking in 1965 when he was seemingly unbeatable. Even more impressive was the fact that he would often be carrying two or three stone more than his rivals in handicaps, not that it could stop him. The second race of Cheltenham’s first day is named in his honour.
Once labelled ‘the most complete chaser of the modern era’ by AP McCoy, Kauto Starwas a legendary National Hunt horse and the first horse to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup, lose it the following year when he came in second, then win it back again the following year. In 2009, he won the King George VI Chase at Kempton Park by a record-breaking 36 lengths such was his overwhelming quality. In truth, Kauto Star had mixed success at Cheltenham failing to finish in his first run in the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2006 before scooping the Gold Cup for the first time a year later. His last run in the Cheltenham Festival ended up being his final race, pulling up early in the 2012 Gold Cup to rule out another prestigious win.
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The winner of Gold Cup in 1989 and possibly the most famous thoroughbred racehorse in British history. Desert Orchid, known affectionately as Dessie, was a gutsy superstar in his field, preferring to attack the field. With his grey colouring he was eye-catching too, standing out from the rest of the field, helping him always look like a winner he was. Away from Cheltenham, he famously won another staple of the National Hunt season, the King George VI Chase at Kempton, four times. He was later buried at the Surrey course where he is immortalised in marble too.
The incredible Best Mate won a stunning Cheltenham Gold Cup three times in a row in 2002, 2003, and 2004 ridden by jockey Jim Culloty. Best Mate never fell at a fence and always finished in the top two but sadly died in tragic circumstances of a heart attack at Exeter in 2005. He was such a well-loved horse that his death was front-page news and his ashes are buried by the winner’s post at Cheltenham accompanied by a statue, pictured below.
When is the Cheltenham Festival?
The 2020 Cheltenham Festival will take place between Tuesday, March 10 and Friday, March 13.
Where is the Cheltenham Festival held?
The festival takes place at Cheltenham Racecourse in Prestbury Park which is located on the outskirts of Cheltenham a spa town in the English county of Gloucestershire.
What are the big races?
There are four main championship races that headline each of the four days of the festival. These are the Champions Hurdle, which runs on Tuesday, known as Champion Day, the Queen Mother Champion Chase, which goes on the Wednesday, otherwise referred to as Ladies' Day and the Stayers' Hurdle which takes place on the Thursday, which because of the strong Irish connection to the meeting, is known as St Patrick's Thursday whether it lands on March 17 or not. Finally, on the Friday, called Gold Cup day, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the most prestigious prize in jump racing, provides the highlight of the meeting and the climax of the week.
Who has the most winners at Cheltenham?
The top two trainers in Cheltenham Festival history are Willie Mullins, who boasts 65 winners followed closely by Nicky Henderson. In terms of jockeys, Willie Mullins’ favourite Ruby Walsh leads the way with 58 winners to date at the Festival.
Climaxing in the Gold Cup on the fourth and final day of the meeting, the Cheltenham Festival is an epic week of elite horse racing, boasting the finest display of jump racing in the world. This is a true feast of national hunt racing that can be enjoyed by horse racing obsessives, horse lovers, those that maintain a minor interest in racing and those that simply love to do some betting. Make no mistake, the Gold Cup, while absolutely glorious, is just one small part of it. It is the fourth of four flagship events that take place over the week of the meet. Among the 28 races taking place, there is also the Champions Hurdle, the Queen Mothers Chase and the Stayers Hurdle to keep an eye on and, if you do your homework, maybe win a little bit too.