The Cheltenham Racecourse, known to many as Prestbury Park, located just outside Cheltenham, is a historic spa town that comes to life during the middle of the month of March.
This is because the focus of many horseracing fans and even horse betting bookmakers in the UK and Ireland shift to course to experience the Cheltenham Festival, an annual meeting of some of the finest horserace professionals (and horses) in the said locations. And this year’s festival did not disappoint as it was filled with thrills, frills, and everything in between. Plus, the laidback atmosphere of the event is another reason why it is flocked by many, year in and year out. Putting this factor into consideration, for sure, many horseracing aficionados, especially bettors have their own personal stories regarding the said event. That’s why it’s only fitting to take a look at it at from a betting perspective.
It can be said that the festival can be likened to a game of two halves. This is because punters simply got the better of early exchanges and in line with this, bookies got the better of the latter ones. Also, three winning favourites took place on each of Tuesday as well as Wednesday, then two on Thursday, and afterwards none of Friday. Just one more overall than par, even though there were a significant number of races. The odds-on four-timer of Apple’s Jade, Buveur d’Air, and Altior (priced at 6/1 during the opening of the said event) went west because of the modest effort of Apple’s Jade to the tune of three wins out of four—which due to what transpired—became available at 6/4 on Tuesday morning.
To add, the biggest winning starting price was pegged at 33/1 (three times), which became 15/8 chance just behind 4/6 “over 33/1.” Aggregate winning distances quietly moved to the mid-range of 90 lengths to 120 lengths, which then turned into the narrow favourite at 6/4. While none of the abovementioned horses were in Ireland’s 2017 top five list, it didn’t hamper the event’s excitement.
Before all the excitement started, there was some sort of turn up as the prevailing official description of the first race was successfully backed from 10.5 on some betting sites on Friday’s event. This, despite an ATR pundit emphatically saying that the chances of it happening was basically close to impossible. Because of the mentioned development, Cheltenham’s official clerk of the course made the abrupt decision to change the ground to soft halfway through the opening day due to the supposed dismay of supporters of the mentioned opinion.
With regard to the Prestbury Cup (the match between British-trained horses and their Irish-trained counterparts), the contest took longer to be decided. The general 8/11 on Ireland pre-event was eventually decided in favour of the raiders to the tune of 17 to 11. Also, per reports, the biggest on-course bets were all winners: there was one who had £20,000 to win £12,300 by betting on Buveur d’Air, but very little for individuals who had £14,000 to win £8,000 by betting on Laurina, and then £11,000 to win £10,000 by betting on Footpad.
It is safe to say that Tuesday’s event was not so good for a couple of people—those who lost their bets—to be exact. There were six odds-on in-play users, which included Kalashnikov at 1.13 at opening day and there were seven on Friday, which included Might Bite at 1.52, this during the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Furthermore, the shortest-priced in-play loser at the event was Carefully Selected. The Bay Gelding horse only managed to touch 1.04 (25/1) during the Champion Bumper event; this, before Relegate overtook him at 300. It should be noted though that, Relegate was not the biggest winner since Mohaayed surprised many by suddenly touching 590 before he was successful in the County Hurdle event.
Cheltenham Gold Cup reclaims elite status
This year, the Cheltenham Gold Cup once again found itself on top of the in-play table. Which was significant after three years where the RSA Chase in 2017, the Ryanair Chase in 2016, and the Mares’ Hurdle in 2015 took over. Experts say that a number of factors that contributed to the said development are high quality runners, extended distance played a key role in the race being high on the rankings. In addition to these, it is safe to say that the two-sidedness of the 2018 event meant it was nowhere near the £2.3m in-play of the iconic 2014 contest, which was won by Lord Windermere.
2019 festival course
This early, Cheltenham Festival aficionados can acquaint themselves of next year’s course. It is going to be split in two: the first and second days are going to be held at the old course, while the third and fourth days is going to be held at the new course. The two courses are left-handed are naturally stiff, but there are refined differences that can essentially play crucial roles.
For instance, the old course, which was usually utilized for Queen Mother Champion Chase as well as Champion Hurdle focuses on speed since it comes with has a shorter run-in. The new course on the other hand, which is going to host the longer Cheltenham Gold Cup as well as Stayers’ Hurdle, focuses on challenging a horse’s stamina. This can change the outcome of particular event and even make or break winners since the field climbs are difficult to say the least. This early, it is safe to say that next year’s Cheltenham Festival is going to take the level of excitement to a whole new level.
The 2018 Cheltenham Festival did not disappoint because it delivered thrills, excitement, and everything in between. You should not be surprised since it has been delivering the mentioned attributes for ages, but if it’s your first time to hear about it, too bad since you’re just missing a lot and you should make it a point to visit it, especially if you’re a horseracing enthusiast or a horse betting bookmaker. It’s a remarkable event that may exceed expectations when it comes to sheer thrill and entertainment.
How was the Cheltenham Festival for you? Can you say that it lived up to the hype or the other way around? Share us your thoughts, we’d love to hear from you.