The significance of the Cheltenham Festival to bookmakers


By Joe Plunkett

It’s a special time of year for sports fans with the Premier League and Champions League competitions coming to a close, the tennis Grand Slam series warming up and the better weather bringing in the biggest and best golf events from around the globe.

None are quite as excited as followers of the horse racing schedule, however, with the Cheltenham Festival fast-approaching. Four glorious days of action takes place at Prestbury Park between Tuesday 12th and Friday 15th March with a number of important Grade 1 contests settled in the process, including the most famous single race – the Gold Cup.

The best-bred race horses will be in attendance, as well as the most fearless jockeys, decorated trainers and cash-rich owners, creating a unique atmosphere as the famous Cheltenham roar goes up to welcome in the much-anticipated renewal.

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It’s also a fantastic time to be a punter as major bookmakers, including bet365 and Betway, roll out the red carpet to pamper players, encouraging them to get involved in the day and back their opinions with cash.

It’s a saturated market, with bookies fighting fiercely over your attention, so it can be a bit of a daunting place with inexperienced backers not too sure who to trust with their stakes. Thankfully, it’s very much a buyer’s market and the top names run with a host of promotions, special offers and enhancements to sweeten the deal.

It’s little wonder bookmakers are so keen to win favour with backers with 65,000 the average attendance on each of the four days, visitors contributing a staggering £100,000,000 to the Gloucestershire community and millions of pounds wagered on the outcome of the races, both by those in attendance and viewers following the live TV coverage around the UK and Ireland.

The most successful bookies know grabbing a slice of that pie will have a huge impact on their annual profits and they are determined not to give an inch to their competitors. What can you do to take advantage and ensure you are getting everything due to you when betting on this year’s Cheltenham Festival?

A flick through some of the festival’s most eye-catching promotions is designed to keep you on the right path and one step ahead of the traders…

Special Promos

Paddy Power Cheltenham specials section is filled with interesting offers – money back as free bet if your horse finishes in the 2nd, 3rd or 4th position, available only for singles placed pre-race.

No runner not bet is also being used by many big brands and paddy will open that option on February 8th – five days before the festival starts.

Handicap lovers can also enjoy getting paid for 5 place finishes instead of 4.

That makes joining paddy a shrewd move and once into the site you’ll be impressed by their extended Cheltenham coverage and competitive prices on the most popular runners.

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Price Promise

Bet365’s Price Promise promo is another designed to win them friends and this one is open to both new and existing customers betting on horse racing through the site.

Traders constantly monitor the competition’s prices and then alter theirs to match or better what you’d get elsewhere, meaning there’s no reason to move to a new bookie.

Place a win or each-way bet from 10am on any race shown live on ITV and you’ll get the best or joint best price guaranteed. Traders at bet365 monitor the odds offered by their main rivals who want to gain on the festival, including Ladbrokes, William Hill and Bet365.

Money Back

Over at Betway they are making an equally impressive effort to reward customers just for placing horse racing bets with them during Cheltenham. Betway are refunding stakes up to £10 if your horse loses in either the first or last race at Cheltenham each day.

That’s incredible. If your horse wins, you get the profits paid into your account, but if your selection loses, they’ll give you your money back. This applies to both races and the promotion can be used twice on each day. We did say it was a great time to be a punter.

With a number of promos on the table it’s worth checking what’s available before placing your Cheltenham Festival bets. It’s also a perfect time to open a new account with a bookmaker to secure the welcome offer.

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