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Cheltenham Festival Betting

Cheltenham Festival betting: understand ante-post betting to apply to the Cheltenham betting odds.

Cheltenham RacecourseCheltenham Racecourse

The Cheltenham Festival is a real highlight of the UK’s horse racing calendar each year and brings sports fans four days of adrenaline-fuelled action. Held at the world-famous Cheltenham Racecourse, the festival features 28 races including handicaps  and 14 Grade 1 clashes. 

It is estimated that over 250,000 people will make it to Prestbury Park for the festival, and around 70,000 will turn up for the Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup on the Friday. With the action also broadcast for free on ITV Racing and streamed online by all major bookmakers, it is easy to stay in touch wherever you are.

As you might expect, the Cheltenham Festival is very popular with punters and sees people flocking to place bets on each race. One thing to understand when it comes to betting on races like the Queen Mother Champion Chase is ante-post betting and how it applies to Cheltenham betting odds.

What is ante-post betting?

In simple terms, ante-post betting is placing a bet on something far in advance. This is different to a more standard approach to betting, in which the wager is placed a lot closer to the event. 

The main benefit with ante-post betting at events such as the Cheltenham Festival is that you would normally get a much better price than would be available on the day.

Altior’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle win was one of the highlights of the 2016 Cheltenham Festival and would have seen you get odds of 4-1 on the day. Punters would have got a lot higher odds, though, if they had backed him earlier in the season when others did not know about him. If you had made that wager before his hurdles debut in 2015, for example, you might have been offered 20 times those odds! 

Although this is the main benefit of ante-post betting at events like Cheltenham, there is a chance the horse you back might not actually run in the race and your bet might lose without it even competing.

This could be due to an injury picked up over the season, which rules it out, or a change in plans from its trainer. Factors like these show the extra risk ante-post wagering includes and explains why you get higher odds for this sort of wager. 

Non-runner, no bet offers for Cheltenham

There are few more famous UK racecourses than Cheltenham and few more famous meets than the Cheltenham Festival. If you plan to get involved with ante-post betting at this event, one of the best ways to get some insurance against a horse you back not running is tracking down ‘non-runner, no bet’ deals at UK sportsbooks.

This essentially means that you would get your stake back if the horse you back ante-post in a race at the festival does not end up running. 

Cheltenham Festival Chase CourseCheltenham Festival Chase Course

These offers do tend to be seen more in the weeks leading up to the event rather than at the start of the season, but do give protection against non-runners in ante-post betting. All providers will have different rules around this kind of deal, so make sure to check the terms and conditions before placing any bets.

As well as this special offer for Cheltenham Festival betting, it is also worthwhile choosing a bookie that has other promos, such as Best Odds Guaranteed. Paddy Power and bet365 are two well-known sportsbooks that have BOG offers on each day of Cheltenham, and are safe, fun places to bet. William Hill is another trusted sportsbook to bear in mind for the best Cheltenham offers, with its Bet Boost promo being of particular note. 

Ante-post betting for Cheltenham Festival 2024: can it offer better odds?

As we have already noted above, Cheltenham Festival betting in the ante-post markets can lead to getting better odds when compared to placing the same wager on the day. This could mean you get a horse at 50/1 rather than 5/1 on a race like the Stayers’ Hurdle. 

Let’s take a look at a couple of possible examples 

Nemean Lion is due to contest Haydock's Rendlesham Hurdle 3m 1/2f on Saturday 17 Feb 2024. Nemean Lion has been performing well in shorter trips and might benefit from the longer distance and slower conditions at Haydock.

He has placed in heavy-ground races and thrives on soft ground, which is expected at Haydock. This race seems like a better fit for him than his other entry in the Kingwell at Wincanton.

Overall, Nemean Lion is a promising contender for the Haydock's Rendlesham Hurdle due to his recent form, preference for softer ground, and potential to excel in longer distances.

He also has an entry on Thursday, 14 March 2024 at Cheltenham in the Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (3m) 66/1

If he happens to win the previous assignment at Haydock those 66/1 odds at Cheltenham are likely to plummet.

Colonel Mustard is due to contest the 1m7f (1m7f50y) Jennings Bet Kingwell Hurdle (Grade 2) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+) at  Wincanton, Saturday 17th Feb 2024

Rubaud, the favourite for the Wincanton Kingwell Hurdle, is vulnerable due to his preference for firmer ground and lack of outstanding form. They suggest several potential non-runners and highlight the lack of top form in most contenders.

Colonel Mustard, with better form at this distance and on soft ground, emerges as an attractive alternative despite a recent disappointing chase run. His past hurdling achievements, including a near win against Rubaud, and the potential field reduction make him a pick worth considering at 5-1 odds.

He also has an entry on Tuesday, 12 March 2024 at Cheltenham in the Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (2m½f) 100/1

If he happens to win the previous assignment at Wincanton then you can wave goodbye to his ante post price of 100/1 for the Champion Hurdle. 

Cheltenham Festival Winner Kauto StarCheltenham Festival Winner Kauto Star

It is key to remember that betting ante-post at Cheltenham means you are making a different type of wager than what you would on the day.

Ante-post betting sees you staking money on the horse not only winning but also actually taking part. This is why the ante-post betting odds at Cheltenham tend to be higher than those you would get on the day of the race. 

It should also be noted that there is no guarantee of higher odds with ante-post betting at the Cheltenham Festival. If your horse underperforms over the season, this could affect its odds and see them drift in the market leading up to the event. 

If Kauto Star had impressed after winning the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, for example, you may fancy placing a £10 ante-post wager on him for the Gold Cup at 16/1.

After doing this, though, you may find the horse tastes defeat in multiple races leading up the festival and is actually listed on race day at 25/1 to win. This means your 16/1 ante-post wager represents worse value than someone who backs him at 25/1 on the day. 

Cheltenham Festival betting odds and ante-post betting

Once you understand how ante-post wagering works, it is easy to see how this approach applies to Cheltenham betting odds. Although there is no guarantee, placing a bet far in advance on a horse that is due to run at one of the festival’s 28 races can result in much higher odds and better returns.

Return to Cheltenham Horse Racing from Cheltenham Festival Betting

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