Tuesday 12 March sees the 2019 Cheltenham Festival get underway as some of the biggest names in the sport arrive at the Prestbury Park track and lay claim to Grade 1 prizes. Highlight of the four-day spectacle is the Cheltenham Gold Cup which goes on Friday afternoon and boasts a history dating back to 1924. With over £325,000 of the £575,000 prize money paid to the winner it’s no surprise to see a competitive field line-up.
The Gold Cup is just one of three Grade 1 races scheduled for Friday with no less than 14 run over the course of the four days. Bookmakers have gone up early with their prices, allowing punters to beat the queues and secure better odds about their selections.
With so much talent on show, how do you decide the best horse to back and which bookmakers are giving most value? Backing a winner is only half the battle, you also have to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible before parting with your hard-earned cash.
All major bookmakers are involved in a battle to catch your attention in the run up to the festival, offering big prices, enhanced each-way terms and even money back to ensure you choose them over the competition. There’s certainly no lack of value around, but it’s safe to say William Hill’s Cheltenham offers this year will take some beating.
The high street and online betting giant are famous for their promotions on the biggest sporting events and they have rolled out the red carpet for customers once again, their offers leaving much of the competition in the shade. Let’s take a look back at what was offered last year and could make a return this March.
No Runner No Bet
As any experienced horse racing punter will tell you, one of the most valuable offers and a real landmark in their preparations for Cheltenham is the arrival of no runner no bet. If you don’t know what that is, put simply, it’s an agreement that says if you back a horse from the ante-post list and it doesn’t run, William Hill will refund your stakes.
That seems only fair but it’s incredible how many major firms don’t have this attached to their ante-post lists. Back a horse early with a rival and you could lose without getting a run for your money. Just one of the reasons William Hill are respected in the industry.
Double Your Winnings
This was a real winner with punters across the board and resulted in an increased pay-out for those who took advantage. A bold way to start the festival and announce their intentions for the week ahead, William Hill traders were paying double winnings to any customers who correctly predicted a winner or each-way bet.
This isn’t a completely unique offer but what made it stand out from the crowd was, while many of their competitors were paying winnings in the form of free bets, Hills gave returns and enhancements in cash. That made all the difference, allowing punters the chance to collect their profits or reinvest what they had won.
Another sure-fire way to maximise your winnings at the Cheltenham Festival or, indeed, any horse racing event of the year, is to ensure you are getting market best price. There’s always a difference of opinion amongst traders of the biggest betting shops over what price runners should be. The danger with that is you could back an entrant at 12/1 when you could’ve had 16/1, for example, if you had spared a few seconds to shop around before getting your cash down.
The quickest way to do this is by using any respectable price comparison website. There you must choose the race of interest to you and you’ll see a list of runners, bookmakers and the different prices available. Market best price will usually be in bold, making it easily identifiable, regardless of your experience with fractional betting odds.
You’ll also see the latest prices available on the betting exchange websites, although these change quicker than sportsbook quotes. If you’re betting on the Cheltenham Festival, you should check which offers apply to the race and which bookmaker are giving top price.