Cheltenham Betting

At the beginning of each National Hunt season all roads lead to one massive week in the middle of March; The Cheltenham Festival. 27 races spread across the course of four days represent the pinnacle of the Horse Racing National Hunt calendar, an event which all of the top horses in training are primed for and their efforts of the previous 12 months are aimed towards.

It is also a big week for the punter; Cheltenham Betting is the culmination of a year of ante-post betting, hours upon hours of form studying and the final word on who is the best horse in its field. Hard luck stories are not welcome and the winners at this momentous festival deserve all the accolades that they receive.

Although the Annual Grand National Race remains an institution and a national treasure, it is the Cheltenham Festival which is the big week for those within the racing community. The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the race that every racehorse owner, trainer, jockey and breeder wants to win and subsequently the occasion which most excites punters.

Our Top recommended Bookmakers for Cheltenham Festival Betting

History of the Cheltenham Festival

Cheltenham began in 1902 with a skeleton structure of races over the course of three days, over the years a number of showpiece races have been intermittently added to the festival and in 2005 National Hunt's premier horse racing betting event became a four-day spectacle.

What we now know as the Cheltenham Gold Cup was first introduced in 1904 but took on its now known name in 1924, the Champion Hurdle was introduced in 1927, the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 1959 and the World Hurdle in 1972. Attendances at the festival exceed 200,000 over the course of the week and terrestrial television stations now cover the whole event to help make it one of the biggest occasions in the sports calendar.

Cheltenham Free Bets Offers

The Cheltenham Festival is an extremely exciting time for the punter not only because of the glut of high quality races which are ran over the course of the four days but also because of the plethora of Cheltenham Free Bets opportunities that are offered up by the bookmakers.

Experienced Horse Racing Punters as well as the casual punter can all benefit from these enhanced offers by opening online betting accounts with many of the online bookmakers. Many bookmakers will improve their Free Bet sign-up bonus offers in the lead up to the Cheltenham Festival, some will also offer bonuses to their existing customers and several will have money back promotions which can include your stake being returned if your horse falls, if it is beaten in a photo finish or if a named horse wins. The moral of the story is that the Cheltenham Festival offers fantastic opportunities to the punter no matter if you are a high-roller or a small change bettor.

Cheltenham Showpiece Races

Over the course of the four-day festival there are a number of big races and in fact it can be argued that they are all big races. However, there are some which are bigger than others; firstly because of the historical prestige attached to them and secondly (and unashamedly) because of the prize money handed out to the winners and placed horses. Here’s a little run down and brief history of some of the bigger and more celebrated races on the card.

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is now the established curtain raiser of the festival and is traditionally greeted with the sound of the “Cheltenham Roar”. It is a Grade 1 race ran over 2 miles with eight hurdles to be jumped and is a race open to novice hurdlers aged four years and older. The race has produced winners such as Flying Bolt (1964), Golden Cygnet (1978) and Brave Inca (2004) throughout its history.

Champion Hurdle

The Champion Hurdle is the main race of the opening day of the festival. Ran over the same course and distance as the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, this is a Grade 1 race open to all hurdlers and is the most prestigious hurdling event in the horse racing calendar. The first running of this race was in 1927 and was won by Blaris since then there have been a number of multiple winners that are widely regarded as some of the greatest horses of their era. National Spirit (1947, 1948), Hatton’s Grace (1949, 1950, 1951), Persian War (1968, 1969, 1970), Istabraq (1998, 1999, 2000) and Hardy Eustace (2004, 2005) all have their name on the Champion Hurdle roll of honour.

Queen Mother Champion Chase

Named in honour of one of horse racing’s greatest enthusiasts the Queen Mother Champion Chase is the feature race of the second day of the festival. Betting on Cheltenham tends to approach fever pitch for this Grade 1 race ran over the minimum distance of 2 miles with 12 fences required to be jumped. It is in this race which Master Minded cemented his legendary status as one of the greatest chasers of all time and following his win in 2007 became the highest rated chaser in training.

World Hurdle

The World Hurdle is open to horses aged four years and older and is ran over 3 miles of Cheltenham’s New Course. With twelve hurdles to be jumped from start to finish the World Hurdle is the leading long-distance event in the horse racing calendar. It is the youngest of Cheltenham’s showpiece races having only been introduced in its current format in 1972. Despite its comparatively short history the race has managed to produce one of Cheltenham Betting fans’ greatest companions; Inglis Drever recorded three World Hurdle victories in his illustrious career and in doing so won a place in the hearts (and pockets) of many horse racing fans.

Gold Cup

The Gold Cup needs little introduction to horse racing enthusiasts. It is run on the New Course over a distance of about 3 miles 2 furlongs and is the pinnacle of National Hunt racing. The race has produced winners which are considered to be the sport’s all time greats including three-time winners Arkle (1964, 1965, 1966) and Best Mate (2002, 2003, 2004) and five-time winner Golden Miller (1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936). It has also created one of horse racing’s greatest rivalries between and which has produced great interest and publicity in not only the Cheltenham Festival but also the sport of horse racing as a whole. Although the Gold Cup is not the final race of the festival it is the seen as the closing spectacle at Cheltenham.