Cheltenham Festival: Betting and Odds Preview
For many, this is the greatest horse racing festival on earth while for others, it’s also a gateway to an exciting sporting summer. The Cheltenham Festival is upon us with four days of classic National Hunt racing ahead.
The event carries an extremely high density of Group One renewals and naturally that’s all part of its attraction but we can often find some value in the smaller grades. In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the popular picks across each of the four days to see if we can identify any potential winners.
Event Date: March 10 – 13, 2020
Tuesday: Day One
The Cheltenham Festival gets under starters orders in style with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. It’s a prestigious group one that sets the tone for the whole four days and we will have a busy set of betting markets.
At the top of the win markets for this race is Asterion Forlonge who is quoted at best industry odds of 11/4 with most bookies including 10Bet and Coral. Just behind is Shiskin at a top price of 10/3 with Unibet while the same operator has the best numbers on Abracadabras at 13/2.
It’s a tight market and one where we feel there could well be some value from the chasing pack. Abracadabras has been set up for this race by trainer Gordon Elliott for some time and the six year old started the year with three wins from four outings over fences.
Abracadabras is the tip for this one but if you want to look away from the first race of the entire festival, there are plenty of alternatives. The Tuesday card at Cheltenham features no fewer than four group one races and along with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, we have the Arkle Challenge Trophy, the Unibet Champion Hurdle and the David Nicholson Mares Hurdle.
Wednesday: Day Two
Wednesday at Cheltenham is Ladies Day and that means we have a great social occasion to sit alongside the top class horse racing. Across the day there are four group ones including the RSA Chase and the Champion Bumper but we’re going to focus on the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Once again we have a tight market for this renewal and it’s headed by Defi du Seuil who can currently be claimed at best odds of 7/4 with Unibet and 888Sport. The same two bookmakers have Chacun Pour Soi following on at 9/4 while the familiar name of Altior is next at 3/1 with BetFred.
In any other field, Altior would be favourite so this shows that the horse is in good company. At those odds of 3/1 there is some value but there is an injury doubt. Clearly we need to wait until the final declaration but if Altior makes the cut, this is our tip for Wednesday.
With 21 wins from 24 outings, this is one of the best jumpers on the circuit but we do need to clear up those fitness issues first.
Thursday: Day Three
Another seven races follow on the Thursday card and this time there are three Group Ones in store. Our focus this time is the Stayers Hurdle and we now have our first clear favourite with Paisley Park listed at best industry odds of 4/6 with Betway and BetFred.
Behind the market leader we have a gap to Summerville Boy at a top price of 9/1 with William Hill and then we come to Emitom at a best of 10/1 with BetFred.
The market here isn’t too encouraging and the feeling is that Paisley Park only has to stay on its feet to deliver on that 4/6 price. What that does mean, however, is that the value for this race will lie in the each way betting and the horse to come under our spotlight is Penhill.
The Willie Mullins trained horse has seven wins and 12 overall placings over the jumps in 15 outings and with two wins from two already this season, those are encouraging signs to say the least.
Penhill each way is our Thursday tip in another packed day of racing.
Friday: Day Four
We’ve featured some high quality races so far but Friday is all about the Cheltenham Gold Cup. For horse racing purists, this carries greater prestige than the Grand National and it’s sure to attract the serious bettor as well as the casual punter.
This is the obvious race for us to look at and the betting markets show that a number of bookies are listing two joint favourites. Santini is a 7/2 shot with most outlets including Coral and Bethard and while Al Boum Photo is available at the same 7/2 price in places, William Hill are slightly better at an industry best of 4/1.
At least one of those names should sound familiar as Al Boum Photo was the winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup 12 months ago. Trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Paul Townend, the horse recorded a fast time as it came home ahead of Annibale Fly.
The last runner to successfully defend a Gold Cup crown was Best Mate back in 2004 so history isn’t necessarily on the side of Al Boum Photo but form and quality certainly is. You can be sure that Willie Mullins is serious about making it two in two and we’re backing him all the way.
Long Term Bets
Naturally there are going to be busy betting markets for each individual race but punters can also get involved in bets that will last for the length of the festival. We’re talking mainly about top jockey and top trainer – two prestigious accolades that everyone will be fighting for.
It’s tough to look beyond Willie Mullins as far as the trainer’s award is concerned and he is listed at 4/6 with many outlets including Unibet and 888Sport. The best challenge here will come from Gordon Eilliot who is listed at best odds of 10/3 with William Hill.
Switching to top jockey markets shows that Al Boum Photo’s rider Paul Townend is the favourite at a top price of 9/4 with Betway. Rachael Blackmore is next at 5/1 with Ladbrokes while there could be some interest in last year’s leading jockey – Nico de Boinville – who is quoted at a best of 10/1 with Betway.
Those are your options but we’ll stay with the conventional race tips and aim for some tidy profits on each of the four days.
- Abracadabras to win the Supreme Novices Hurdle at 13/2 with Unibet
- Altior to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase at 3/1 with BetFred
- Penhill Each Way for the Stayers Hurdle at 12/1 with Betway
- Al Boum Photo to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup at 4/1 with William Hill