The Cheltenham Festival is undoubtedly one of the biggest highlights, not only of the horse racing calendar but of the entire sporting year. Taking place in mid-March, some also see it as a gateway into the sporting summer and the long days that lie ahead.
It goes without saying that Cheltenham betting is important for the bookmakers too and this is a time of year when millions of pounds will change hands. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at Cheltenham festival betting and bets, and what you need to do if you want to get involved.
The Cheltenham Festival dates back to 1860 when a series of National Hunt races were held over a few days. Venues changed in those early days and it would be some time before Cheltenham was decided upon as a permanent venue.
In the modern day, Cheltenham Races are held over four days, from Tuesday to Friday, and in total, there are 28 races to bet on. Each of those will attract a busy set of Cheltenham betting odds but the interest will always intensify ahead of the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Seen as an equivalent to the Grand National by many punters, this race is reserved for the last day of the festival and it’s very much the pinnacle of the Cheltenham Festival.
There are many more Group One renewals across those days of competition including the Festival Trophy, the Stayers Hurdle, The Queen Mother Champion Chase, the Champion Hurdle, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and more.
With so much at stake, we can guarantee that the best jockeys, horses and trainers will be targeting Cheltenham throughout the year. Every bettor and Cheltenham tipster will be waiting eagerly too, but at times, the best value in the Cheltenham festival betting odds will come in the smaller, Group Two and Group Three races.
Whatever you may be targeting, this is a great time to get on board with Cheltenham tips and the betting markets. Check out our racing tips!
Day by Day
This is the big race as far as many racegoers are concerned. In March, the peaceful Gloucestershire town of Cheltenham becomes the focal point of the horse racing fraternity as the best jockeys and trainers battle for supremacy.
We’re talking about the Cheltenham Festival which provides a high density of Group One National Hunt races across four packed days of action. For many, it’s all about the big races such as the Supreme Novices Hurdle, the Champion Bumper and, of course, the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
We’ve given you a good overview of the festival but let’s now take a closer look at each of the days.
Your Guide to the Week: Tuesday
It all gets underway on Tuesday and the very first race of the four-day meeting is also probably the biggest. The Supreme Novices Hurdle is a prestigious group one and it’s a great way in which to start the festival.
Cheltenham Festival Betting opportunities continue with a total of seven races on the Tuesday card. Following the excitement of the Supreme Novice’s Hurdle, we have three more group one renewals and these are the Arkle Challenge Trophy, the Champion Hurdle and the Mares Hurdle.
We’ve warmed up nicely with an excellent card but now we start to build with a packed set on Wednesday. This time, we go straight in with a series of three consecutive group one races, starting with the RSA Chase which is a test of endurance over three miles of the Cheltenham racecourse.
Following the day’s opener, we have the Baring Bingham Novices Hurdle and the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Three minor renewals follow before the day ends on a high with the Champion Bumper – another Group One where the Cheltenham Festival Betting markets will continue to be busy.
The Thursday card at the Cheltenham Festival gives us seven more races and once again, we start things off with a top quality group one. The race in question is the Golden Miller Novices Chase and this is run around two miles and four furlongs of the Cheltenham Racecourse.
Once again, there are seven races on the racing card and, as the week progresses, you will find more Cheltenham tips as the markets get much busier. Next up on that Thursday card is a listed race and then we move straight into two more Group Ones.
RyanAir are big backers of the Cheltenham Festival and they are the sponsors behind the next group one on the list which is the Festival Trophy. Hot on the heels of this prestigious renewal is the Stayers Hurdle and that’s yet another big group one race to add to our growing list.
It would be unfair to say that Thursday drifts a little from this point but those are definitely the highlights. Following on are a group two, a group 3 and an ungraded race but as the shrewd punters will know, this is where the betting value could lie.
We’ve had a great few days on the track but now we’re ready for the true highlight. When anyone asks what is the main race at Cheltenham, the answer simply has to be the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
In terms of National Hunt racing in England, this race is considered to be second only to the Grand National and it’s always going to attract a world class field. First run in 1924, the Cheltenham Gold Cup is the biggest event at the festival and this is the main draw as far as punters are concerned.
Run over three miles and two and a half furlongs of the Cheltenham racecourse, this is a true test of endurance and supporters of the Cheltenham Gold Cup put this ahead of the National in terms of prestige.
It’s certainly given us some thrilling times and some notable winners over the years. In terms of horses, the great Golden Miller set the early pace with an incredible five consecutive Cheltenham Gold Cup victories from 1933 onwards.
In the modern era, Desert Orchid won punters’ hearts with victory in 1989 and the mantle was later taken up by Best Mate who won in three straight years from 2002. There can be shock race winners too as Al Boum Photo proved in 2019 so, when you’re looking for Cheltenham tips, don’t be afraid to look down the pack.
Golden Miller is the most successful horse to ever take part in the Cheltenham and it’s also interesting to note that none of the record holders for jockeys’ trainers and owners are active in the modern era. That can make it harder to pick a race winner as it’s tricky to identify trends but it also means that you can find some great betting value at times.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup may be the highlight of the meeting but it forms just part of another packed card. Friday has another Group One to deliver in the shape of the Spa Novices Hurdle while the day concludes with three more races including the Foxhunter Chase.
That’s your full betting guide to the four days of the Cheltenham Festival and while there is such a high density of those Group Ones, there is so much to enjoy across four packed cards and there are a number of ways to find additional betting value.
Offers and Promotions
Bookmakers run a number of generic promotions for horse racing which can be used at any time of the year but it’s rare to see offers come through for specific meetings. All of that changes when Cheltenham comes around and there should be plenty of deals for all punters to take advantage of.
We should expect a number of price boosts and enhanced odds deals to arrive for the big Group One races throughout the week and a number of bookmakers will be on board. When the Cheltenham Gold Cup comes along, that’s the time for the bookies to extend their each way terms. We should expect a number of operators to be paying down to six places and possibly even longer.
Remember too that all of the regular horse racing offers will be available so the best odds guarantee system for all UK and Irish meetings will be in place.
It’s such a busy time for the bookies and when Cheltenham Festival Betting starts to intensify, we can be sure that the offers and promotions relating to the four days of racing will begin to drop in.
Cheltenham Betting Favourite Horses
Like the Grand National, the Cheltenham Gold Cup has a rich history all of its own and many of the sport’s greatest horses have graced this event. Among the early equine heroes, the incredible Golden Miller won the Gold Cup for five years in a row from 1932.
That mark may never be beaten but we have since seen some top horses come home including three time winner Arkle and L’Escargot who is better known for breaking Red Rum’s winning run at the Aintree Grand National. In more modern times, Best Mate was another three time winner while the unmistakable figure of Desert Orchid came home in 1989.
It’s not all about the Cheltenham Gold Cup of course but that is the race where the winning horses can really write their names in history.
Cheltenham Betting Favourite Jockeys
Jockeys can make their mark too and there is a regular battle to see who will ride the most winners across the four days of the Cheltenham Festival. In 2016, the great Ruby Walsh set a new mark when he rode an incredible set of seven winners across the week. Other notable riders to have finished the race festival as leading jockey include Mick Fitzgerald, AP McCoy, Peter Scudamore, Richard Dunwoody and John Francome.
As you can see from that illustrious list of names, Cheltenham racing will always attract the best jockeys, horses and trainers and their presence also expands the list of market options in our betting guide.
Cheltenham Betting Markets
Needless to say there are active betting markets for each of the 28 races taking place across the four days of the Cheltenham Festival. The Group One renewals will tend to be the busiest but as we previously mentioned, you may find that there is some value to be found in the smaller races among the Cheltenham betting odds.
Of course, you can also take each way bets, forecasts, accumulators, formulas and more. All of the regular horse racing bets are here but the markets will be busier and the odds involved may well be more competitive as a result.
Because Cheltenham’s a race festival and because there is so much interest in the meeting from all corners of the world, there may well be some long term bets available for the whole of the four days. We have already mentioned that there is a battle to be crowned the leading jockey and there is also an award for the leading trainer at the Cheltenham Festival. Because of this, a smaller number of bookmakers may well list markets where you can bet on the jockey or trainer who you think will win their individual battle.
Some niche markets may also appear such as a bet on whether a jockey or trainer will land a day one winner.
For the biggest events, most notably the Cheltenham Gold Cup, we should also see an increase in the amount of betting offers and promotions that certain sportsbooks are providing. A typical deal may see the number of Each Way places extended but we could also expect some price boosts to be applied to certain horses.
Cheltenham Betting Sites and Bookmakers
In short, there will always be plenty of choice for your Cheltenham festival betting so why not check out your favourite bookie and see what they have to offer.
If you don’t already have a regular sportsbook or you’re looking around for a new provider, we can give you a few recommendations. There are some newer brands around that have been building up a good reputation for value and excellent promotions and we can include EnergyBet, LVBet, SportNation and Royal Panda in this section.
Next up we have some established online operators who have become firm favourites in the digital age. We’re talking about the likes of 888Sport, Unibet, 10Bet and Betway.
Finally, because Cheltenham is a long running race festival, you shouldn’t rule out the old familiar names such as William Hill, Coral and Ladbrokes. Whoever you select from that list, you should be able to find competitive Cheltenham betting odds, excellent live streaming options and some bookmaker offers and promotions that will add to the value.
Cheltenham Live Streaming
The best thing about the Cheltenham Festival is the fact that every race is televised live. If you are in the UK, you should also be able to access this service on free to air TV and that’s always a big bonus.
If, however, you cannot get to a television, it is possible to watch all of the action unfold via a bookmakers’ live streaming service. The majority of sportsbooks now offer this as an extra to customers with funded accounts and many punters are more than happy to take advantage.
From the most active live streaming sportsbooks, you can expect to see all of the 28 races being covered while others may restrict this service to the biggest events of the day. There are terms attached to access and, as you would expect, you must be a registered customer in the first instance. Beyond that basic stipulation, every bookmaker will expect you to have a funded account. Some may insist that you actually place a bet on the race in question so be sure to check up on that point.
In general, the high definition operation behind live streaming makes this a great alternative to watching it on TV and, if you’re away from home, you can also access the Cheltenham Festival on your mobile device. The subject of mobile betting also brings us onto…
Cheltenham Mobile Apps
In a fast paced race festival such as Cheltenham, there is a ton of action taking place all through the four days. Even if you’re not active in the live betting markets, we suggest that you take a look at downloading an app or two as these will help you keep pace with the changing prices and the general Cheltenham betting updates.
A good place to start is with the official Cheltenham Festival app. This is produced by the organisers and will give you all the latest news along with a full Cheltenham betting guide, Cheltenham tips. Use that as a starting point and from there, you can start to build out your list of online bookmakers.
Choose your own favourite and then make the download in the usual way. Alternatively, you can refer to our list of recommendations further up this list. If you’re new to bookmaker mobile apps then you may need to be aware that the download process can differ depending upon which mobile device you are using.
Cheltenham iPhone Betting
If you have an iPhone, things are very easy as you simply go to the app store and type in your bookmaker’s name into the search engine. Click on the word ‘get’ and it should appear on your mobile phone in a matter of seconds.
Cheltenham Android Betting
For Android mobile devices, it’s a little more complex but it shouldn’t take very long at all. Because Google are not comfortable with offering gambling apps, you will need to head to the sportsbook’s mobile section and from there, you can download the app directly onto your phone.
In all cases, the app should be free to use and in the modern digital age, only the newest and smallest of bookmakers won’t have this service. The benefits are wide and if you’re lucky enough to be able to be in attendance at the race festival, you can carry out your Cheltenham betting on your phone as an alternative to using one of the on course bookmakers.
Above all, it gives the punter great flexibility and, if you are going to take this betting guide seriously, we would suggest that you don’t approach things without having an app on hand.