The Cheltenham Festival has been running annually since 1911 at the famous Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, England, and next year's event will aim to be the best yet, with four epic days of National Hunt racing between March 15 and 18 2022. Thanks to the combination of reputation, prize money, media coverage and big fields, the Cheltenham Festival remains the highlight of the National Hunt season for horses, jockeys, trainers and horse racing gamblers.
In addition to a six or seven cracking races to bet on each day, there's also the Cheltenham ante-post market to consider throughout the jumps season, plus a lot of special Cheltenham Festival offers from bookmakers. With a frantic four days of action, understanding Cheltenham odds, finding the best Cheltenham betting odds and wagering on the top Cheltenham betting markets is crucial for punting success.
Understanding Cheltenham Odds
The Cheltenham Festival is the biggest week of the NH horse racing season for bookmakers as well as bettors, so the Cheltenham odds on offer are extensive with UK bookies on the internet. The main markets for Cheltenham are the Cheltenham ante-post odds, along with regular race day Cheltenham odds. The Cheltenham ante-post markets refer to Cheltenham betting on the race throughout the season, when some enticing Cheltenham odds are available due to all the variables that can happen during the build-up to the Festival.
Cheltenham has a very strong and popular Cheltenham ante-post odds market, because all the big stables are aiming their horses for The Festival. Once the final declarations have been made, Cheltenham ante-post betting closes and the bookies start pricing-up the races in standard fashion. However, the range of bets and special Cheltenham Festival markets available, are extensive.
Finding the Best Cheltenham Betting Odds
Cheltenham ante-post odds are freely available virtually all year round since the markets are created shortly after a Festival finishes and updated as the contenders' form develops. Closer to the starter's orders, the markets for the week's races and Cheltenham odds are all available well in advance at all the leading online bookmakers.
However, the frantic action of Cheltenham Festival week means that the Cheltenham odds can move fast, making a site like bookmakers.co.uk a very useful punting tool to compare Cheltenham odds and find the best Cheltenham betting value. Cheltenham bookies run a huge range of special bonuses and free bet Cheltenham offers, which are often well worth taking advantage of.
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Top Cheltenham Betting Markets to Consider
There are 28 races spread across four days at the Festival, with a full selection of tricky handicaps, intriguing novice races and the four feature events - The Champion Hurdle, The Stayers Hurdle, The Champion Chase, and the Gold Cup. Focussing on some of the top Cheltenham betting markets is worth particular consideration:
Cheltenham ante-post odds
Using your own eagle eye, in addition to reading expert opinion and trainer updates, can give you a potential edge when it comes to taking Cheltenham odds months in advance of the Festival. For example, the 2021 Arkle favourite Shiskin was backable at 6/1 before the start of the new NH season, he won all his races prior to the festival and won the Arkle with ease as the 4/9 favourite. The risk of Cheltenham ante-post bets is the chance of injuries, a loss of form, or being a non-runner. However, with big Cheltenham odds available, a few Cheltenham ante-post bets can be worth a flutter.
Cheltenham 'banker bets'
While the Cheltenham Festival is ultra-competitive, it also contains more than a few races where the favourites have excellent chances. While it's wise to carefully analyse the hype, there's plenty of expert information available which can guide you towards the favourites that look like legitimate 'bankers'. It's popular - and wise - to back these favourites in multiple bets, like doubles and trebles.
Dutching races & EW Cheltenham odds
Big fields frequently mean that even the favourites in many Cheltenham Festival races are 5/1 or bigger Cheltenham odds. While it might not be an easy task to pick all the winners, the value Cheltenham odds make for some nice each-way bets, in addition to the strategy of backing 2/4 horses in a race at big Cheltenham odds, with a split stake.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup odds
The Cheltenham Gold Cup has been a mixed bag for punters in the last decade, with just four winning favourites and some big-priced winners such as Lord Windermere in 2014 at 20/1 and more recently Al Boum Photo in 2020 at 12/1. So don't be afraid of something at a bigger price for the blue riband event.