Cheltenham Festival Betting Offers, Tips and Information
There are many big racing meetings and festivals scattered throughout the year, both on British and foreign shores. However if you hear a racing fan speak of the festival, it will be the Cheltenham Festival to which they refer.
The Cheltenham Festival really is THE festival for all racing fans and there’s simply nothing else quite like it. From the famous “Cheltenham roar” which accompanies the opening race, through to the conclusion of the last of the 27 contests, the excitement, the tension and the drama is relentless.
Check out the latest Cheltenham Festival betting offers, free bets, money back offers and enhanced odds deals from the best bookies in the business! Non-Runner No Bet promos are listed on our dedicated 2018 Cheltenham NRNB feature if that’s what you’re after.
2018 Cheltenham Festival Betting Offers and Free Bets
The 2018 Cheltenham Festival betting offers will appear here as and when they are released, so check back regularly!
Top Cheltenham Festival Offers – At A Glance
Here we give brief info about the top Cheltenham offers. You can see more details further down the page or indeed on the betting site in question.
- Betfair – 70/1 Might Bite to win the Gold Cup – New Customers can get Might Bite at an enhanced 70/1 to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Max Stake £1. Winnings paid in free bets, valid for 7 days, only deposits with cards/Paypal count. Exchange and multiple bets excluded. T&C’s Apply. 18+|Gamble Aware.
- Coral – 25/1 Might Bite to win Gold Cup (new customers) – UK+IRE New Customers Only. Winning bets paid in cash based on the normal price on our website. Enhanced odds paid in free bets. Free bets valid for 4 days. Free bet stake not returned. T&Cs apply.
- 33/1 Might Bite or 33/1 Native River to win Gold Cup – New customers only. £10 minimum deposit using promo code BOOST. Qualifying bet must be placed at the normal odds Min bet £5, max bet £5 Extra winnings paid in FREE BETS and added within 72 hrs of qualifying bet settlement. Free bet stakes not included in bet returns. Free bets expire 7 days after credit.
- Betfair – up to £100 in Free Bets – New customer offer. Place 5x £10 or more bets to receive £20 in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum £100 bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange bets excluded. T&Cs apply. (see article for full details)
- Ladbrokes – £50 Free Bet – Grab a 100% matched free bet of up to £50 when you join and bet at odds of just 1/2 or above! 18+. New customers only. Promo code ‘F50’ required. Certain deposit methods excluded. Min £/€5 on win or each-way bet excluding Tote or pools = match max £/€50 free bet. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Bet must be made within 14 days. Free bet valid for 4 days. Free bet stake not returned. Single bets only. Free bet cannot be used on certain markets. T&Cs apply.
Cheltenham Festival Information
The four days of action covers the full spectrum of jumps racing with bumpers, hurdles, chases and cross country events all featuring prominently. Check out all out Cheltenham Festival race previews for detailed tips and information for the biggest races.
Each of the four days features a championship event with a supporting cast of high class novice and handicapping action. The fans flock in their droves, the best trainers, jockeys and horses all turn up.
They will all come here to the Cheltenham Festival from Tuesday 13th to Friday 16th March 2018. This is where stars are born and history is made.
Cheltenham Festival 2018 Pointers and Horses to Watch
(Odds are correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.)
Not many days left to tick off that calendar now until the mid-March betting mayhem of the Cheltenham Festival takes over our lives once again.
As ever we have four fabulous days of the very best jumping action anywhere in the world to look forward to, as the superstars of the sport descend on Prestbury Park.
Here we run through a few of the highlights of this four-course feast as we take a look at exactly what’s on the menu in 2018.
Day 1: Champion Day
Favourites Off To A Flyer With Getabird?
Irish Champion Trainer, Willie Mullins, has three wins and two runners up finishes in the opening Supreme Novices Hurdle in the past five years, with the brilliant duo of Vautour and Douvan amongst his winners.
Going in the same Rich Ricci colours as that duo, and unbeaten in two starts to date, Mullins’ Getabird is a rock solid 6/4 market leader for the race with Bet365. Only one outright favourite has taken this in the past decade though, can Amy Murphy’s Kalashnikov shoot him down?
Should Getabird fail to swoop to victory in the opener, Mullins may not have to wait long to launch his Cheltenham Festival, as Footpad heads the betting in race 2, the Arkle Chase. Brilliant in three starts over fences to date, he’s Evs with Coral and undoubtedly the one they all have to beat..
The Day One feature of the Champion Hurdle looks one of the weakest renewals in years. Unless Faugheen can turn back the clock and rediscover his former brilliance, the race looks at the mercy of Nicky Henderson’s defending champion Buveur D’air. He’s a 4/7 shot with Betfair.
Day 2: Ladies’ Day
All About Altior In Champion Chase
The “beast from the east” will hopefully be but a snow-covered memory by the time the Festival rolls around. Cheltenham may however play host to a beast of its own on Day Two.
Many Irish fans simply wont hear of defeat for Gordon Elliott’s, Samcro, in the opening Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle. There may well be a few tears in the Guinness Tent should the latest Gigginstown Stud star fail to oblige at odds of 1/2 with Bet365. Unbeaten in six, can he maintain his imperious form on the biggest stage of all?
The second championship contest of the week has a similar look to the first, as it is once again Nicky Henderson who sends out the odds-on favourite. It is the magnificent Altior who bids to claim Queen Mother Champion Chase honours for the Lambourn handler, and if anywhere near as good as he looked last time, he will take some stopping unless Douvan can rediscover his brilliant best. Second to Altior in the 2016 Supreme, Min returns for another crack at Betfair’s 8/11 favourite.
Elsewhere on the card, Gordon Elliott’s Grand National runner up, Cause Of Causes goes for a remarkable fourth consecutive win at the Cheltenham Festival in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase.
Day 3: St Patrick’s Thursday
Previous Winners Set to Clash in Ryanair Thriller
Officially designated as St. Patrick’s Day, there looks to be every chance that Irish eyes will be smiling on Day Three. Looking at Thursday’s betting, all seven of the current market leaders hail form the Emerald Isle.
The Ryanair Chase looks set to be the race of the day. Un De Sceaux attempts to defend the crown he won in such impressive style last year, whilst 2013 winner Cue Card heads here in his bid for one last hurrah. Then there is the emerging star Waiting Patiently. The Ruth Jefferson runner will only go if the word soft enters the going description, but that looks to be a very real possibility at present. This should be a cracker.
The Stayers Hurdle doesn’t look to bad either though. Sam Spinner brings youthful exuberance to the table, Unowhatimeanharry has experience on his side, then we have previous Festival scorer’s Supasundae and Penhill as well as the enigmatic Yanworth also set to go to post. This certainly looks more competitive on paper than the championship events on the opening two days. It is Jessica Harrington’s Supasundae who currently heads the betting at 4/1 with Betfair.
Day 4: Gold Cup Day
Might To Bite in Open Gold Cup?
The 2018 edition of the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle looks well up to scratch, and we certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see a real star emerge from this field. Cracking Smart and Next Destination have been tough to split in their Irish clashes to date and may bring the best form to the table. In Santini and Duc Des Genievres though, they are meeting a pair of rivals jam-packed with potential.
In the big one, Might Bite is still the name on everyone’s lips following his polarising King George win, and remains the 3/1 favourite for the race with Coral. Can he give Henderson a first Gold Cup success since 2012?
With last year’s champ Sizing John reportedly now thriving at home following his setback last time out; Native River returning in magnificent form at Newbury; and Our Duke, Road To Respect and Definitly Red all throwing their hats into the ring, Might Bite certainly wont have it all his own way. In what looks a wide-open year, we wouldn’t be shocked should a wildcard such as Killultagh Vic or Edwulf play a major role.
Latest Cheltenham Betting Previews
Cheltenham Festival Day One Overview
The Cheltenham Festival opens with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. The race has existed in one form or another since way back in 1946 but was given its current title in 1978. The most promising of the newcomers to the hurdling game tackle eight flights of hurdles over a trip of two miles and half a furlong. The crowd generating the famous roar which accompanies the start of this race invariably has a large Irish contingent. A lot of the Irish will still be cheering come the finish line, horses from the Emerald Isle often take home the first prize of the festival. The great Vincent O’Brien won this 10 times and the history of the race is peppered with Irish successes. It is worth keeping a close eye on this race with respect to Festivals of the future. The likes of Brave Inca, Binocular and Kicking King all made their first festival appearances in this race, as did Henrietta Knight’s superstar, Best Mate.
The top chasing prospects enter the fray for the second race on the opening day as they compete for the Arkle Trophy. The race is named after one of the greatest jumps horses to ever set foot on the track. The mighty Arkle won the Cheltenham Gold Cup three times during his spectacular career. There is no hanging around here in a race which is run over of a trip of two miles and features 13 fences. An ability to jump accurately at speed is key to success. Keep an eye on any French-bred horses as they have done very well over the years. Front runners on the other hand have fared poorly – it’s difficult to judge a race correctly from the front whilst still saving enough for the punishing run up the Cheltenham hill to the finish line. Few have managed to pull this off. Several graduates of this race have gone on to take the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Festival in subsequent years including the likes of Moscow Flyer and Sprinter Scare.
The first handicap event of the festival precedes what is the main event of Day One: the Champion Hurdle. The best of the best in the hurdling ranks invariably arrive at the top of their game, in pursuit of the highest accolade awarded to competitors over the smaller obstacles. The top trainers will all have carefully plotted the campaign of their hurdling stars, with the aim of taking home this big prize.
In common with the opening race of the day, the trip is two miles and half a furlong with eight hurdles to be negotiated. One notable aspect of this race is the number of multiple winners over the years. Pay close attention to the chances of the winner of the previous year’s race, whilst any previous winning or placed Festival form on a horse’s CV is also worthy of note. In addition it pays to concentrate on the more experienced runners, those aged six years and upwards have a far better record than the younger horses. Amongst the superstars of yesteryear to have triumphed here on more than one occasion are Istabraq, See You Then, Bula and Sea Pigeon. The brilliant mare Dawn Run also won this race prior to becoming the first mare to land the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
A mare’s hurdle, national hunt chase and a novice handicap chase wrap up the action on the opening day. Racing fans have time to collect their thoughts before moving on to the next enthralling day of entertainment.
For more details about the individual races on the open day, see our Cheltenham Festival Day One Betting Guide.
Cheltenham Festival Day Two Overview
We again open proceedings with a novice hurdle event. The Neptune Novices’ Hurdle provides a contest for those novice hurdlers seeking a greater test of stamina. The race is run over a trip of two miles and five furlongs and features 10 flights of hurdles.
When looking at this race, focus on horses towards the head of the market as shocks are rare. The field is generally made up of younger horses, winners over the age of six are few and far between. Other races at the festival seem to favour horses who have been lightly raced, that isn’t the case here. Race fitness should be taken as a positive, take particular note of those horses who finished first or second last time out and come into the race battle-hardened as a result of running regularly.
Another point worthy of note is that those horses who started out in bumper races fare significantly better than those making the switch from flat racing. Istabraq won his first race at the Festival in this one, whilst future dual Champion Hurdle winner Hardy Eustace also took home the prize.
Another race for novices is up next and this one’s a real test, the RSA Chase. Three miles and half a furlong is the trip with nineteen fences to be jumped. Staying and jumping ability are thoroughly examined and some really talented individuals have won this over the years. Arkle, Denman and Bobs Worth are amongst the high class performers to have emerged victorious in this race before later rubber stamping their class by winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
When looking to narrow the field the first step should be to focus solely on those horses aged seven or eight as they have dominated the race over the years. The stern challenge this race imposes also makes it necessary to have had a recent race. Any horse not to have run in the previous three months is up against it when viewing the stats. When looking further back through the form, those horses who were contesting novice hurdles in the previous season, but have quickly progressed to the chasing ranks have an excellent record.
The next race on the card is the Coral Cup which is often one of the most anticipated handicap races of the Festival. This is swiftly followed by the Queen Mother Champion Chase which is the highlight of the second day. This is the race connections of the best middle distance chasers covet above all others. Run over a trip of two miles and featuring 12 stiff fences, course form is worth its weight in gold. A two mile chase at Cheltenham is a unique test and runners must truly stay the trip. Any course and distance winner in the field must immediately go on the shortlist, along with horses to have won or run well in the previous season’s Arkle.
Chasers to have performed in the Tingle Creek at Sandown en route to Cheltenham also often do well. This is another of the championship events to have seen a spate of multiple winners over the years. Overall this usually goes to one of the more fancied runners who have been relatively lightly campaigned. Famous previous winners include Crisp, Viking Flagship, Moscow Flyer and Master Minded.
The action on Day Two continues with a cross country chase, followed by a handicap hurdle for four-year-olds. The only flat race of the week, the Champion Bumper, ends the day.
For more information about the individual races, see our Cheltenham Festival Day Two Betting Guide.
Cheltenham Festival Day Three Overview
Day Three of the Cheltenham Festival opens with one of the newer races at the meeting. The JLT Novices’ Chase was only introduced to the schedule in 2011 and it has proved to be a popular addition. Run over two and a half miles, the race offers a route into the Festival for those novices whose best trip falls somewhere between the two miles of the Arkle and the three miles plus of the RSA Chase. A high class hurdler from the previous season seems to be a good place to start when seeking out the winner, providing they have already shown signs of translating this ability to the larger obstacles.
General trends for the Festival’s chase races should also be considered when looking through the runners, namely sticking to those in the seven to eight-year-old age bracket, with course form again given utmost respect. The Dipper Chase, run over a slightly longer trip over the course on New Year’s Day, offers a good trial for this race.
The second race on the card is the Pertemps Final which gives the handicap hurdlers a chance to shine. Hot on the heels of this race is another relative newcomer to the Cheltenham scene.
The Ryanair Chase joined the Festival party in 2005 and quickly became one of the highlights of the third day. Any chaser of five years or older is free to tackle the two miles and five furlongs trip, age proving no barrier to success for the likes of Fondmort, Our Vic and Albertas Run who all took this race at the age of 10.
A horse with a touch of class and the requisite toughness to see out the punishing home straight is what is required here. Look for horses who like to race up with pace and have copper-bottomed stamina. The King George VI run at Kempton on Boxing Day offers a good preparation for this contest.
The Grade One action continues with the fourth race of the day, the Stayers’ Hurdle (previously the World Hurdle). This is the championship event for the season’s staying hurdlers and is the feature of Day Three at Cheltenham.
The contest has provided some truly memorable moments from some outstanding horses over the years. Brilliant winners include Barracouda (twice), Inglis Drever (three times) and the legendary Big Buck’s (on four occasions).
It’s best to swerve front runners in this race. Trying to make the running over this distance at such a challenging track has proved a bridge too far for many a talented horse over the years.
The most important form indicators come from previous runs at the Cheltenham Festival or good efforts in either the Long Walk Hurdle or the Cleeve Hurdle. Form tends to hold up to a large degree, resulting in those towards the head of the betting market fighting out the finish more often than not.
Two intriguing handicap chases round off the card on Day Three. The first of which is a Grade Three contest, whilst the final race of the day is restricted to amateur riders.
For more details and info about the individual races on the penultimate day of the Festival, see our Cheltenham Festival Day Three Betting Guide.
Cheltenham Festival Day Four Overview
The first of seven races contested on the final day of action at the Cheltenham Festival is the Triumph Hurdle. The race is restricted to four-year-old novice hurdlers and is run over a trip of two miles and one furlong. Since its introduction to the festival in 1968 the race has become a primary target for the best first season hurdlers. Winners of the race don’t always go on to maintain their superiority in their subsequent career, Katchit and Persian War are two of a rare breed to have followed up with a win in the Champion Hurdle itself.
Due to the age of the horses there isn’t as much previous form on which to base a selection. It is nevertheless best to stick with horses that have demonstrated a high level of ability in their careers to date. A flat rating of 80 or above or a hurdle rating of at least 135 gives a horse a fair chance of success.
The second race of the day is the County Hurdle, a handicap event that is run over two miles one furlong. This is swiftly followed by the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle. This three mile event is another to have entered the fray in 2005 and attracts the younger stayers who are perhaps not yet deemed ready for the challenge of a World Hurdle. High on the list of success factors for this race are having run well over this trip and experience of the course. Those with a preference for racing up with the pace should also be given extra credit as hold up performers often struggle to land a blow. Victory in this race can be a good pointer to future festival success. Weapons Amnesty won the RSA the year after taking this, whilst Bobs Worth went on to win the biggest one of them all, the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The next race up is the big one, not just of Day Four but of the Festival as a whole. For many, the Cheltenham Gold Cup is in fact the highlight of the whole racing year. The Grand National may provide a unique spectacle but in terms of quality jumps racing, it is this race which sits atop the pile.
A race steeped in history having been first run back in 1924, the list of previous winners is littered with jumping legends. Golden Miller, Arkle, Dawn Run, Desert Orchid, Best Mate and Kauto Star are all horses who achieved popularity on a national scale. A large part of this acclaim can be attributed to their remarkable feats in this race. This truly is the race in which history and lasting memories are made.
It takes a rare mix of class, heart, stamina and jumping ability for a horse to prove themselves the best staying chaser in training and be awarded the famous Gold Cup. Three miles and two and a half furlongs with 22 fences provide the most thorough of examinations. Experience is important when looking at this race, the vast majority of winners having had at least six chase starts. In terms of age those in the seven to nine years of age bracket tend to fair best and winners have generally demonstrated their class by previously winning at least one Grade One contest. The King George VI is particularly useful when looking for pointers ahead of this race. If you only watch one race at the Festival, make it this one as it offers one of the most exciting and dramatic sporting spectacles of the year.
The Gold Cup may be over and done but the action continues with three more races on the final day. The Foxhunter Chase is next and gives the amateur riders a chance to tackle the Gold Cup course. The penultimate race is an event for conditional jockeys before the Grand Annual closes the meeting. Then it’s all over… until next year.
For more details about the individual races on the final day, see our Cheltenham Festival Day Four Betting Guide.