8 key betting tips for the Cheltenham Festival

Altior winning the 2019 Champion Chase at Cheltenham

The Cheltenham Festival is the pinnacle of jumps racing, with four days of top-class action that culminates in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Owen Goulding goes through 8 key betting tips to help you be profitable at this year’s Festival.

1. Utilise Placepots

With seven highly competitive races each day, the placepot always pays handsomely at Cheltenham. It’s very rare for any horses to be odds-on at the Festival and big priced winners are common, even in the Championship races.

It’s imperative to bet within your means and the placepots is a great chance at a big return from a small stake.

2. Plan a proper staking strategy

With 28 races spread out over four days, it cannot be understated just how crucial proper staking strategy is. The Festival really is a marathon, not a sprint, and you don’t want to put yourself out of the game on the first day.

Planning your budget and sticking to it is a necessity if you want to make a profit. You should aim to bet the same amount each day, splitting that budget between multiples and single bets.

Chasing your bets after going beyond your budget on Day 1 is not the answer, so remember to gamble safely and don’t bet beyond your means.

3. Take advantage of bookmaker offers

This is the biggest four days of action in horse racing, not just for the punters. Bookmakers are all competing in the weeks leading up to Cheltenham and that doesn’t stop when we reach the event.

Make sure you’re taking a detailed look around each day for offers, which can include:

  • Extra Place Races – The handicaps all have big fields and are fiercely competitive, so getting 7 places instead of 5 can make all the difference
  • Price Boosts – If there’s a shorter-price favourite you fancy, make sure to shop around, as you may find certain bookmakers offering a price boost to enhance the odds
  • Best Odds Guaranteed – This may seem like an obvious one, but missing out will mean you won’t capitalize on any of your selections drifting

If you’re looking to open a new account for Cheltenham, then make sure to check our free bets page. You’ll find all the best sign-up offers there, so make sure to take full advantage.

4. Shop around for the best prices

Shopping around to find the best price is absolutely critical in the fight to make profit. For many of the handicaps, a horse may be a general 20/1 chance, but there may be one bookmaker offering 25/1 or even 33/1. Every point matters, whether a horse is 5/1 or 7/1 can make the difference between a winning day or a losing one.

5. Look for course form

When a horse returns to a venue they’ve previously won at, it always goes down a positive. For Cheltenham specifically, it’s even more significant, especially at the Festival.

Cheltenham requires a horse with a huge amount of guts, determination and heart. Prestbury Park is a tough venue, the fences are unforgiving and even at the minimum distance, it’s a stamina test, especially in the handicaps. If a horse has previously run well at Cheltenham, especially at a previous Festival, it’s gold-dust and needs to be treated as such.

6. Early prices are essential

The early bird really does catch the worm, especially at the Cheltenham Festival. A volatile week in terms of the markets, shopping around in the days prior can reap big rewards.

If you’re looking early enough after final the declarations are published, there may only be a few bookmakers priced up. Look at the guide prices and most of all, trust your knowledge. If you think a horse is overpriced, then take the early price, you may find yourself sitting on a 25/1 shot that goes off at half that.

7. Strong jumpers crucial on chase course

Simply put, the Cheltenham fences are unforgiving. With the vast majority of races run at an honest gallop, one mistake can make all the difference. You need a horse with strong and consistent jumping as a result, so going through replays and checking in-running comments is crucial to see how they’ve fared previously. Don’t underestimate the value of experience, especially in the novice events.

8. Replays key for handicaps

The Festival handicaps are notoriously competitive and difficult to qualify for. Many trainers will have to plan their horses entire season with a view of getting the right mark to sneak into a race such as the Coral Cup or the Pertemps.

As a result, race replays are your best friend. Especially crucial for the aforementioned pair of races, take a look at replays and in-running comments to find horses who ran well without winning. If a horse is staying on powerfully late on, it would suggest they have more to offer off their rating, and can lead you to a potentially well-handicapped sort.

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