Cheltenham is the best place in the world for landing winners.
Landing winners at this week's Cheltenham Festival is even better!
It seems like the hard work and diligent study of the National Hunt season has reaped its rewards and it’s time to celebrate because you got it right.
Whether it’s solving the best stayers’ championship in The Gold Cup or getting slightly fortunate with a big odds winner in The Coral Cup, it’s a great feeling all over. It could also be a massive relief as picking the right horses to win at The Festival is notoriously difficult!
Big fields, fiercely competitive handicap hurdles and the punishing hill which makes a mockery of the formbook, all combine to make The Cheltenham Festival a serious test of punting endurance.
So what is the key to getting winners at Cheltenham?
Having a well thought out strategy is a good place to start. The first strategy to consider is the most important: budgeting! 28 races over four days is a lot of punting and consequently could be an enormous burden on the wallet.
BUDGETING AND BANKERS: IT’S A LONG FOUR DAYS!
Some days will involve more outlay than others and this is mainly attributed to the concept of bankers. These are horses which are heavily punted on as they are expected to win.
On the whole, these so called bankers have had a fairly decent record in The Festival. We selected three last year of which all three obliged in the winners enclosure. More about bankers here. The crucial aspect of budgeting is simple. Stick to it no matter how bad the losses are. There’s nothing worse than chasing losses with bets which are likely to be wagered on higher priced horses in order to recoup losses.
DON’T GO MAD ON THE HANDICAPS!
Cheltenham handicaps are notoriously difficult to unravel!
Treat them as fun events with the equivalent approach to how much should be staked. Shop around for the best place offers: the maximum four places are consistently bettered by the firms with up to 5, 6 and even 7 places offered.
A shrewd approach would be to zone in on horses that have proven ability on the Cheltenham course, especially with regard to the punishing uphill finish. Have a good look at the Irish runners from the Gordon Elliot and Willie Mullins yards: their horses are often run in Ireland strategically to gain the best riding weight for the big Cheltenham handicaps.
THE BEST RACES TO BET ON
Two races have a great record for providing winners in line with the formbook, namely, The Arkle Chase and Queen Mother Champion Chase.
These 2 mile chase championship races are often won by the first or second favourite and worth considering as Cheltenham bankers material.
However, be wary on the Arkle for jumping errors as the races involves novices still learning their game. Check the formbook for jumping consistency rather than speed and assess their chances carefully of staying up the hill.
Generally, the non-handicap listed events are best for serious punting but with a few exceptions! Read on..
RACES TO AVOID
As mentioned, the big handicaps should be treated with the upmost caution and staked with funds that can be afforded to lose.
However, some of the novelty races such as The Foxhunters or the Cross Country Chase should be treated with the upmost contempt in terms of stakes.
These races are not true championships of the National Hunt game therefore the form guide and intention of the owners/trainers are not always obvious. Some of the horses are being run just to give the owners a chance to stand in the paddock enclosure!
CHELTENHAM SPECIAL BETS
OFFERS FOR NEW CUSTOMERS
If you’re relatively new to the horse racing betting game, you’re exactly the kind of punter the firms are keen to embrace! There are fantastic offers exclusively available for new customers opening new accounts at Cheltenham Festival. A great way to help you get those winners at Cheltenham!
If you like a betting offer then you'll love the Cheltenham Festival. The four day spectacular is a great time for making the most of your betting. Our comprehensive article on the latest and best Cheltenham Festival 2019 Betting Offers has everything you need to know! Check it out!
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL FIRST TIME VISITORS
CHELTENHAM RACES MINIMUM BETS
First time visiting The Cheltenham Festival? Then read on for this invaluable guide for those placing a bet for the first time at Cheltenham!
BETTING ON THE TOTE
As much as we appreciate The Tote for putting so much back into racing, it is probably not preferable to place bets with them as their returns are not usually as generous as the Cheltenham on course bookmakers.
Having said that, they are definitely the people to go to if you’re on a budget and only want to have some harmless fancy flutters. They are also the best for forecast and tricast betting and other multi bets such as the Tote Placepot.
Their minimum bet incidentally is £2 the win or £2 each way (£4) at the time of writing. Their traditional style offices are scattered across the course and are always extra helpful for those people betting for the first time with well trained and patient staff.
ON COURSE BOOKMAKERS
These are the guys (and plenty of gals!!) who have their boards advertised in front of the main stands. For those who like to punt £5 or more, this is the destination for you!
The minimum bet can sometimes be £2 at some courses across the UK but at Cheltenham it is generally £5 (or £2.50 each way: £5). Betting with these folk is a lot of fun and requires good eyesight and on occasion a fast pair of legs!
The great thing is the 50+ firms present are generally all offering varying odds for any given race. It pays to be patient and keep looking at the boards to obtain the best price available.
The rule of thumb is to check for a price coming in with several firms and then grab the previous at higher odds whilst the price is still there, from another firm. It doesn’t always work out that way however. The problem also with these on course firms is that they don’t offer any of the enticing offers available online or the generous extra places, although this is starting to improve as the on course firms try to compete with online options.
Bring your mobile if preferred although Wi-Fi can be a bit hit and miss and the network coverage can also be seriously affected by the sheer numbers trying to use it at the same time.
Useful Information - How to Bet!
Watching The Cheltenham Festival at home?
Stick to your original budget!
Be careful with the handicaps!
Avoid the novelty races!
Bet heavy on The Arkle and Champion Chase!
Find three bankers!
Use as many free offers as possible if you’re a new customer!
Stock up with Guinness!
Going to the Cheltenham Festival?
Bet with The Tote if on a budget!
Check carefully for the best prices with the on course bookmakers!
Don’t spend too long in the Guinness Village! You’ll never get out!
Have a great time!