The Cheltenham Festival is Britain’s biggest racing showpiece and the pinnacle of the National Hunt season.
A four-day event featuring 28 top class races, the Festival boasts prize money second only in value to the Grand National race-by-race and features 14 Grade One events including the Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle and the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Up to 70,000 people attend each day of the Festival and it marks the coming together of the best that both British and Irish racing has to offer. The meeting is famed also for the huge amounts of money gambled during the week and for the celebrated ‘Cheltenham Roar’ which greets the start of each race.
Cheltenham Festival General Information
Cheltenham Racecourse is essentially British jumps racing’s headquarters, located in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, in what is a beautifully situated natural bowl only a mile or two from the town.
The Festival was born in 1860 and has been known as this, at least colloquially, since 1907. Previously a three-day meeting in modern times, the four-day festival we now know and love has been in existence since 2005.
When is the Cheltenham Festival?
The Festival is run across four days from Tuesday 12th to Friday 15th March 2019 at what is thought to be the peak of the National Hunt season, almost all of the sport’s biggest names being primed for this week.
The meeting has become known for a clash between the best of Ireland and the best of Britain, though occasionally a top class French challenger is also seen on these shores.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is run on the last day of the meeting, Friday 15th March, by which time almost a quarter of a million people will have attended and contributed to an overall betting turnover in Britain of some £500million during the week.
|Day 1 –
Tuesday, March 12th
|Day 2 -Wednesday, March 13th||Day 3 –
Thursday, March 14th
|Day 4 – Friday, March 15th|
|1:30 Supreme Novices Hurdle||1:30 Ballymore Novices Hurdle||1:30 JLT Novices Chase||1:30 Triumph Hurdle|
|2:10 Arkle Chase||2:10 RSA Chase||2:10 Pertemps Final Hurdle||2:10 County H’cap Hurdle|
|2:50 Ultima Handicap Chase||2:50 Coral Cup||2:50 Ryanair Chase||2:50 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle|
|3:30 Champion Hurdle||3:30 Queen Mothers Champion Chase||3:30 Stayers Hurdle||3:30 Cheltenham Gold Cup|
|4:10 Mares Hurdle||4:10 Cross Country Chase||4:10 Brown Advisory Plate||4:10 Foxhunter Chase|
|4:50 National Hunt Chase Cup||4:50 Fred Winter H’Cap Hurdle||4:50 Mares Novices Hurdle||4:50 Conditional Jockeys Hurdle|
|5:30 Close Brothers Novices Chase||5:30 Champion Bumper||5:30 Kim Muir Chase Cup||5:30 Grand Annual Chase|
Get the best analysis and tips alongside top offers from leading brands for day one of Cheltenham which include the Champion Hurdle among other races.
Highlighted by the Queen Mother Champion Chase, day two of Cheltenham is always intresting and tight in terms of resutls – Get all the betting info you need.
The complete guide for day three of the festival, featuring the always intresing Stayers Hurdle which – Get the cimplete info before placing your bet.
Read about the leading favorites, odds and projections for day 4 – the biggest day of the festival which also includes the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
What Makes the Cheltenham Festival so Popular?
From two miles to three-and-a-quarter miles, hurdlers to chasers, novices to cup winners, this meeting crowns multiple seasonal champions all in one week with trainers expecting their horses to peak for this precise point of the season.
Trainers, jockeys, owners, breeders, stable staff, punters, media and bookmakers all strive to claim success during this week as a winner at the Cheltenham Festival 2019 will be more valuable, more prestigious and more joyous than the rest of the seasons winners put together.
Races at the Cheltenham Festival are so hotly contested that training, riding or even backing a winner is made harder here than at any other time and so a special sort of pride is felt when you’re on the right side of a result.
The Festival is steeped in history too so while some good new initiatives have come along in racing, the Gold Cup and it’s supporting cast remain what all racing connections endeavour to claim at least once in their career.
Cheltenham Festival Betting Offers Limited to the March 2019 Event
Away from the obvious racing personnel, what the Cheltenham Festival is all about for the public is the betting. Online betting, high street shops and those at the track during the week contribute to a half-billion pound betting turnover and bookmakers will be trying to maximise business with a host of offers.
You should always make sure you are armed with as many tools as possible before placing a bet at what is among the most competitive bunch of races you’ll find anywhere in the world. Check the form, get reliable tips and make sure your bets are good value for money.
Betfred are starting their Cheltenham promos by offering punters the chance to be a guest of theirs on Gold Cup day. The firm are advertising the chance to be a VIP for the day and all you have to do to be in contention is to place a bet on UK, Irish, international, virtual and Totepool racing by February 24th.
Every £10 you stake cumulatively across all of these races earns you an entry into a prize draw, this takes place on February 25th, with a total of six pairs of hospitality tickets up for grabs along with 100 runner-up prizes.
Winners can experience the Platinum Suite at Cheltenham on the big day, a champagne reception, four course lunch and complimentary bar with cash to cover expenses plus a £100 bet on the Gold Cup. The chances of winning are minimal, but it’s quite an offer just for placing your regular bets!
Betfred will also be running the popular ‘non runner no bet’ at the Festival, meaning you should back your fancied horses now knowing you’ll get a better price than on the day but get your cash back should your horse not run.
The Magic Sign are a little coy with their early offers, but they are giving out 5 x free £10 bets but this at the moment is only for new customers. New punters should register with the firm (taking note if their current promo code) and place a £10 bet to qualify.
We’ll expect to see much more from one of the biggest firms on the planet as the weeks go on but if you’re on the lookout for a new account, this may be one to check out.
The first two deals coming out from the Irish bookmaker are two old familiars; non runner no bet and extra places. Non runner no bet is currently available on most Festival races and while this deal doesn’t exactly set Paddy Power apart, it is an offer we like.
Extra places will be advertised on a number of top races, especially the handicaps, meaning you can take a slightly lower price but give yourself up to five or even 6 places and when racing is as competitive as it is at Cheltenham this is worth snapping up quick.
Much will change in the days before the Festival, but three weeks out we’re pleasantly surprised to see William Hill taking the lead on offers with two strong deals available right now.
Hill’s aren’t usually the most generous when it comes to welcome offers or existing customer incentives, but in advance of Cheltenham 2019 they are already putting out there best odds guaranteed on all Festival races as well as 5 places on all handicaps.
BOG currently applies to the ante-post market only so get on now, the deal meaning if you take 14/1 and your horse is shorter on the day your original price stands. If however your horse was to go off at 20/1 on the day then Hill’s will pay you out at the bigger price.
As for 5 places, we like this deal too. The standard within British handicap races of course is that a maximum of four places are offered, even when there are 16 runners or more while there is a chance some of the Festival handicaps could have less than this, meaning just three places.
Given its affiliation with BetFred, it’s not unusual for Totesport’s offers to mirror that of their sister company. Non runner no bet is definitely an offer that is on the cards with Totesport but remember; this counts only on their fixed odds section and not actually in the Totepool.
The Totepool, featuring the Placepot, Quadpot and Jackpot, has to stick within the usual betting rules and guidelines so no extra places can be offered nor can you get the NRNB option but if you already have a Totesport account think about backing your Festival fancies now safe in the knowledge that if they don’t make it you’re due a full refund.
Choosing Your Cheltenham Festival Bookmaker
Bookmaker offers and big race odds are not the same across the board, so be sure to look around before putting down your cash. Make sure that you:
- Read bookmaker reviews – make sure they are up to date, well written and impartial
- Check all available odds – horse prices can fluctuate, one bookmaker may be offer 2/1 while another is 5/2
- Check promos – Cheltenham Festival betting offers will be listed on all the major sites in advance, so choose the right one for you
- Check for live streaming – if you can’t get near a TV, make sure you’re on with a bookmaker who is streaming the race live for you as long as you’ve placed a bet
- Contact the bookie – although promos are advertised and T&C’s are available, always click the ‘live chat’ and simply ask any questions you have as it’s the quickest way to understand any hidden terms.
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History of bets at the Cheltenham Festival
Ten of the top 20 races for yearly betting turnover in Britain at the last count were Cheltenham Festival races, so you can see how important this week is for punters and for the industry.
How Many Races Are There and How Much Money Are They Worth?
There are a total of 28 races at the Festival, seven on each day, worth over £4.5million in prize money and for the first time in 2019, each individual day of the meeting is worth at least £1million. As we mentioned above, over £500million will be bet throughout the week by punters in Britain alone.
Past Cheltenham Festival greats
The best of the best have made their names not only at Cheltenham, but specifically at the Festival in races such as the Stayers’ Hurdle, the Gold Cup and the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Names such as Arkle, Baracouda, Best Mate, Big Buck’s, Crisp, Denman, Desert Orchid, Dunkirk, Golden Miller, Istabraq, Kauto Star, Moscow Flyer, Night Nurse, One Man, Sea Pigeon and Sprinter Sacre all roll off the tongue and in winning during this great week, these animals managed to write their name into racing’s history books.
Cheltenham Festival 2018
The 2018 Festival got off to the usual lightning start when Summerville Boy (9/1) just got the better of the well-backed Kalashnikov (5/1) in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle following the massive Cheltenham Roar.
Favourite backers were rewarded in the Arkle when Footpad justified his 5/6 odds in winning very easily and there was further misery to come for the bookmakers on day one later on.
Firstly 5/1 jolly Coo Star Sivola landed the Ultima Handicap Chase by a neck before 4/6 favourite and returning champion Buveur D’Air won yet another tight finish in the Champion Hurdle. There were 9/2, 9/2 and 13/2 winners to finish of the first day on what was a miserable few hours for the layers.
Surely the punters couldn’t do it again on day two? Well after Samcro (8/11) and Presenting Percy (5/2) had taken the opening races the bookies needed a major result to balance the books and it came when Bleu Berry won the Coral Cup at 20/1.
The feature race was the Queen Mother Champion Chase and after a beautiful round of jumping, Nicky Henderson’s Altior landed the odds as an even-money favourite to the huge roar of the considerable crowd.
The bookmakers finished the day well however with 7/1 Tiger Roll landing the Cross Country Chase before 33/1 and 25/1 shots also won meaning things were pretty level midway through the week.
Only 2 favourites out of seven managed to score on day three with Laurina a very good winner of the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at 4/7 while the big race of the day, the Stayers’ Hurdle, was won by Penhill for Willie Mullins at a juicy 12/1 price.
Gold Cup day arrived with everyone full of expectation – and they were not disappointed. Betting wise the bookmakers eventually managed to pull things around, 6 of the 7 winners coming at prices ranging from 15/2 to 33/1 but the big race was a great result in more ways than one.
Two well fancied horses, Native River (5/1) and Might Bite (4/1 favourite) fought out the finish in the Gold Cup after an almighty 3-mile battle with the former, trained by Colin Tizzard, coming out on top by 4½ lengths to cap what was another majorly successful Festival.
Cheltenham Festival 2017
Day one got off to a mixed start as 25/1 shot Labaik won the opening race before the heavily punted Altior landed the Arkle Trophy in great style as a 1/4 favourite.
Nicky Henderson’s Buveur D’Air landed his first Champion Hurdle in the feature race at 5/1 under a typically good ride from Noel Fehily much to the delight of connections, though from a betting point of view it was advantage bookies at the end of Tuesday.
Willoughby Court’s success in the opening race on day two wasn’t entirely unexpected, but at 14/1 it was still seen as a result for the layers, though there was better to come. Might Bite (7/2 favourite) had been well touted before the RSA Chase and he duly won it, albeit by a nose, to set up a Gold Cup tilt the following year.
No other favourites scored during Wednesday meaning 2017 was looking like a great year for the layers, though there was much anticipation for day three with punters pals Yorkhill, Unowhatimeanharry, Un De Sceaux and Let’s Dance all due to run.
Thursday did indeed get off to the best possible start with Yorkhill going off at 6/4 and winning the JLT Novices’ by a length. After Un De Sceaux (7/4) took the Ryanair Chase there were hundreds of thousands going onto Unowhatimeanharry (5/6) in the Stayers’ Hurdle but he was beaten into third by Nichols Canyon and Lil Rockerfeller.
Let’s Dance added another win for the betting public at 11/8 but all in all things were left pretty equal between backers and layers with a day still to go.
Gold Cup day arrived and after Defi Du Seuil’s victory in the opener at 5/2 favourite, there was plenty of money floating around the ring come 3.30 with a lot of it going onto Djakadam (3/1) and Native River (7/2) in the big one. Both were beaten though as Jessica Harrington’s Sizing John put in a jumping masterclass to win the Gold Cup at 7/1 under Robbie Power to spark jubilant scenes in the winner’s enclosure.
Biggest Must See Races
Naturally all Festival races are important, but some are more important than others. Here are the main events and when they are run:
Champion Hurdle – 2m ½f hurdle race for 4yo and older worth £400,000 (Tuesday)
RSA Chase – 3m ½f novices’ chase, 5yo+, £175,000 (Wednesday)
Queen Mother Champion Chase – 2m chase, 5yo+, £400,000 (Wednesday)
Stayers’ Hurdle – 3m hurdle, 4yo+, £275,000 (Thursday)
Triumph Hurdle – 2m1f novices’ hurdle, 4yo+, £120,000 (Friday)
Gold Cup – 3m2½f chase, 5yo+, £600,000 (Friday)
Use the history of the Cheltenham Festival to your advantage and be sure to be well informed leading up to the big week. Check the form, the betting, reliable tips and be sure to always get the best promotions and highest odds possible by shopping around.
You may want to be prepared to have more than one bookmaker account, especially new ones, in order to grab free bets and welcome bonuses in order to compliment your Cheltenham Festival betting to maximise your potential profits.
Whatever happens though, don’t take things too seriously as this is the most enjoyable week of National Hunt racing on the whole calendar so clear your days, sit back, relax and enjoy one of the greatest shows on earth!
Sources of information
To make sure you are well informed heading into the Cheltenham Festival, visit the official site thefestival.co.uk. Also keep track of our news and promos section.