There is no buzz like backing a winner at the Cheltenham Festival.
For punters, every race they have studied, watched, punted and won money on during the season will all have the Cheltenham Festival in the back of their mind. “Will that certain horse take to the track at Cheltenham?” “Which Festival race is he being targeted at?” Are all common thoughts that spin around a punters mind when a Festival candidate catches their eye over the season.
Analysing horse races and finding value is a skill, and with anything in life, some are better at it than others. Experience is crucial and learning from past mistakes is a key component when trying to find winners on a regular basis. There is no exact science to becoming a winner on the nags but there some certain angles that inexperienced punters can use in order to find value in a certain market.
Cheltenham is a unique track.
It is one of the most demanding challenges a horse can go through during its career racing. Its fences are stiff and there is no finish like it in the world of jump racing. “The Cheltenham hill” is a stamina sapping end to a race and not all horses have the staying power to get over the line in front.
That’s why when analysing a race at Cheltenham, checking a horse’s previous form at the track plays a huge part in assessing their chances in a certain race. Some horses can rack up wins previously in the season at flat tracks like Kempton and come to Cheltenham short in the betting.
However, if they haven’t proved themselves at the Festival before, there could be a chink in their armour.
Official figures are the centre point of all horse racing, therefore understanding and being aware of handicap marks is pretty crucial when going through a race. In Graded races at Cheltenham there are no weight allowances in terms of handicap marks.
This means, if we take official ratings as the only grail, then the top rated horse will win, the second highest rating will come second etc.
It obviously doesn’t work like otherwise we’ll all be filthy rich but there are opportunities to grab value in a market where the horse, who is highest rated on what’s he’s achieved, might be underestimated by the prices on perhaps a below par run last time out.
The person responsible for the wellbeing and form of the horse is a crucial aspect when pondering where to stake your hard earned money. As in all sport, there is a hierarchy in terms of ability. The best trainers usually have their horses to peak at the Festival and achieve the best results.
In truth that is usually factored into the price of their horses as the Paul Nicholls Nicky Henderson and Willie Mullins horses are all usually at the head of markets for races. But keeping an eye on the strike-rate of other trainers who might be in good form could open the door to an overpriced horse.
This may sound like an obvious one, but it always amazes me the amount of punters that gloss over the jockey factor. There’s only one person that’s in control of the horse in the race and you need that person to be suitably equipped to deal with the rigours of a Festival race.
There are fine margins in horse racing and jockeys that have that extra power in a finish or think quicker than the others are capable of making the difference.
Finding the Right Odds
Of course, once you have made your selection you’ll want to find the best possible price on the horse. With such a wide array of bookmakers throughout the UK and Ireland prices do fluctuate throughout, so one bookie may only offer 5/1, (returning £50) or another may offer 7/1 (returning £70).
Its up to you to do some digging to get the best price for your selection – its all part of the fun of the Cheltenham Festival!
Can I use a free bet?
Do to the popularity of the Cheltenham Festival its almost certain that bookmakers will be offering a ‘free bet’ for you to pick up to use on a race. Normally it will require you to make an initial deposit first, which is then usually matched up to 100% to provide you with your free bet.
Its important to check back to our site as we’ll have all the latest offers for you in the run up to the Festival, and rest assured they’ll be coming thick and fast!