The Cheltenham Festival is the biggest horse racing event of the year. With 4 days of racing at one of the best courses in the country, it’s no surprise that racing fans look forward to March every single year. Unfortunately we’ll be without the famous Cheltenham Roar this year, but there’s still plenty of world class racing to look forward to. Here at Bet UK, we’ve got a complete guide to the Cheltenham Festival, as well as betting tips for every race. Make sure to check back to our online blog closer to the Festival for a full list of tips each day.
Cheltenham Festival Day 2 Betting Tips
We're looking ahead to Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival now and putting together a treble of picks. We'll also be backing all of our picks each way, so even if they don't win the race outright, there's a chance we can still get some returns.
1:55 - Brown Advisory Novices' Chase
We started yesterday's action with a couple of short-priced winners, and we expect a similar story on Day 2 of the Festival. Monkfish is the clear favourite in the 1:55 and we can't see any reason to dispute the short price. Monkfish has won his last 6 outings, including a win in last year's Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle. As we always say when betting on the Cheltenham Festival, previous Festival experience is vital. Any horse that has won and performed under the shining lights of Cheltenham is always worth looking at again. A somewhat weaker field only adds to the chances of Monkfish winning, and we should be getting off to a winning start here.
15:05 - Queen Mother Champion Chase
We normally like to look for some value in the bigger races, but there isn't much to be found in this year's Queen Mother Champion Chase. There are marks against most of the field, including Nube Negra, Put The Kettle On and Politologue. The only horse that is widely believed to stand out is Chacun Pour Soi. Since being trained by Willie Mullins, Chacun Pour Soi has lost just once and is finally ready for a go at Cheltenham. His last 3 races have been won by an average of 11.5 lengths and it looks like Chacun Pour Soi is hitting world-class form at just the right time. As we say, these headline races are often times we can hope for value, but we expect this year's Champion Chase to be a rout for Chacun Pour Soi and Willie Mullins.
4:15 - Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase
Like with Monkfish, one of the main things we look for when backing a horse is previous Cheltenham Festival experience. So what better horse to back in the 4:15 than the horse that won this race last year - Chosen Mate. He was a 7/2 favourite last year but had lengthened to 7/1 in the ante-post. It's been a poor run for Chosen Mate since that Cheltenham win, leading to his longer price in 2021. But, if Jordan Gainford can get the most out of him like Davy Russell did last year, then there's no reason we can't see a repeat. At the very least, Chosen Mate will be a solid each-way shout coming into the race.
Cheltenham Festival Betting at Bet UK
At Bet UK, we offer the latest horse racing betting odds on all Cheltenham Festival races. Right now, we offer Ante Post markets on a selection of the races during the Festival, but as the races draws closer, we will have odds available on every race. While you wait for the Cheltenham Festival to get underway, our online betting has odds for races up and down the country every day.
Cheltenham Festival Betting Schedule
Tuesday 16th March
|1:20||Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle||1||2m 1/2f|
|1:55||Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase||1||2m|
|2:30||Ultima Handicap Chase||3||3m 1f|
|3:05||Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy||1||2m 1/2f|
|3:40||Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle||1||2m 4f|
|4:15||Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle||3||2m 1/2f|
|4:50||National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys' Novices' Chase||2||3m 6f|
Wednesday 17th March
|1:20||Ballymore Novices' Hurdle||1||2m 5f|
|1:55||Brown Advisory Novices' Chase||1||3m 1/2f|
|2:30||Coral Cup Handicap||3||2m 5f|
|3:05||Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase||1||2m|
|3:40||Glenfarclas Chase||-||3m 6f|
|4:15||Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup||3||2m|
|4:50||Weatherbys Champion Bumper||1||2m 1/2f|
Thursday 18th March
|1:20||Marsh Novices' Chase||1||2m 4f|
|1:55||Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle||3||3m|
|2:30||Ryanair Chase||1||2m 4 1/2f|
|3:05||Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle||1||3m|
|3:40||Paddy Power Plate Handicap Chase||3||2m 4 1/2f|
|4:15||Parnell Properties Mare's Novices' Hurdle||2||2m 1f|
|4:50||Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys' Handicap Chase||-||3m 2f|
Friday 19th March
|1:20||JCB Triumph Hurdle||1||2m 1f|
|1:55||McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle||3||2m 1f|
|2:30||Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle||1||3m|
|3:05||Wellchild Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase||1||3m 2 1/2f|
|3:40||St James's Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Chase||-||3m 2 1/2f|
|4:15||Mrs Paddy Power Mares' Chase||2||2m 4 1/2f|
|4:50||Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle||-||2m 4 1/2f|
Jockeys at the Cheltenham Festival
The Cheltenham Festival is the first huge event of the calendar and jockeys will be coming to the Festival from around the world. On the biggest stage, jockeys can make a name for themselves or add to an already illustrious career. You can find out more about Cheltenham Festival jockeys on our dedicated blog, but here are 3 you should look out for.
Last year’s top jockey is unsurprisingly favourite to repeat that feat in 2021. Last year he won the Gold Cup for the second year in a row, once again riding Willie Mullins’ Al Boum Photo. He’ll likely be entering the Gold Cup again this year, barring any major hiccups. Townend has become one of Mullins’ most trusted jockeys so anytime you see Mullins’ excited about a horse, it’s likely we’ll see Townend riding him during Cheltenham. With 5 winners last year, both Mullins and Townend will be hoping for even more winners in 2021.
Similary to Paul Townend teaming up with Willie Mullins, Jack Kennedy will mostly be riding horses trained by Denise Foster this year. As we explain below, Denise Foster is the trainer now taking care of Gordon Elliott’s horses following Elliott’s well-publicised controversy. Kennedy will be riding in all the major races, starting with Abacadabras in Tuesday’s Champion Hurdle. When riding with such a successful trainer and stable, it’s not surprise that many are touting Kennedy to win top jockey this year.
Over the last few years, Rachael Blackmore has led the way for female jockeys and will be hoping to make more history this year by becoming the first female top jockey. Blackmore primarily races horses trained by Henry De Bromhead, who has a number of promising entries touted for this year’s Festival. Honeysuckle was a Mares’ Hurdle winner in 2020 and will be entering the Champion Hurdle on the Festival’s opening day. If Blackmore can get off to a winning start, then she might be able to take the top jockey crown.
Trainers at the Cheltenham Festival
While the jockeys might get a lot of the plaudits on the day at the Cheltenham Festival, the behind the scenes work by the trainers is the reason for most of the successes. You can take a look at our top Cheltenham Festival trainers on our blog, but here are 3 trainers to consider following in this year's Festival.
Willie Mullins is the most successful trainer to every head to the Cheltenham Festival, and in every race it’s always worth looking out for a Mullins trained horse. Along with Gordon Elliott, Mullins holds the record for the amount of winners at a single Cheltenham Festival - 8 in 2015. That was the same year that the first 3 horses in the Champion Hurdle were all trained by Mullins, the first time a single trainer had dominated the race.
If Willie Mullins has a poor Cheltenham Festival this year, then Nicky Henderson will surely overtake him in the total winner rankings. He currently sits at 64 wins, just 1 behind Mullins heading into the 2021 Festival. Henderson has been training Cheltenham winners since 1985 and has more experience at the Festival and the rest of the trainers that he’ll be facing in March. Henderson has combined with top jockey Nico de Boinville over the last couple of years, and will be putting his hopes in him again this time around.
Perhaps not an instantly familiar name to some racing fans, Denise Foster will be a trainer to keep an eye on over the next few days. That’s because she has taken charge of Gordon Elliott’s stable following the trainer’s controversy in February. Although Elliott would have handled much of the preparation over the last few months, the final run in has been completely handled by Denise Foster. So, if you’re reading a racecard and see Foster’s name, just remember she has been working alongside Gordon Elliott. That instantly makes her one to watch, with Elliott’s stable winning 25 times over the last 9 years.
Cheltenham Festival Betting Terms
Starting Price (SP) - Betting on the SP doesn’t guarantee you any specific odds. Instead, you will be given the odds that the horse has when the race starts. SP can be useful, particularly if you think a horse’s odds might drift out, handing you bigger odds.
No Runner No Bet (NRNB) - No Runner No Bet is a term that is specifically used when betting on the ante post. The main risk of betting on the ante post is worrying whether or not your horse will actually run in the race that you have chosen. But if No Runner No Bet is offered, then if your horse doesn't end up running, your bet will be fully refunded. Bet UK are offering No Runner No Bet on the feature race of each day leading up to the Festival.
Accumulator - An accumulator is a number of different selections placed into one bet. The odds of each of your selections will be added together. In order for your accumulator to win, all of your selections must be successful.
Each Way - Placing an each way bet on a horse increasing the chance of winning your bet. If you horse places (typically places are the top 4 in each race), then your bet will still result as a win, although it will be at a lower return than a normal win.
Forecast/Tricast - The Forecast and Tricast markets allow you to predict the top 2 or top 3 finishers, rather than just the winner. You can choose to predict a straight 1-2 or 1-2-3, or just pick the horses you think will place in any order. Although forecasts are very hard to predict, a correct choice can have some big returns.
Rule 4 - Rule 4 is a common occurrence in horse racing betting, coming into effect when a horse pulls out of a race after you have placed a bet on that race. Depending on the odds of the horse that pulls out, you will be deducted a certain amount from your returns. With the horse dropping out, this essentially limits the competition so your selection will automatically have more chance of winning, leading to a drop in potential returns.
If you are betting on horse racing, please gamble responsibly and remember that when the fun stops, stop. All players must be 18+, BeGambleAware.org.