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A guide to betting at Cheltenham
Cheltenham racecourse is regarded as the home of National Hunt racing and stages the prestigious Festival meeting. Cheltenham betting is available throughout the year on the top races, including the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle.
William Hill promotions often feature the best Cheltenham odds and ante-post prices. There are also special offers and price boosts on the Cheltenham Festival and the other top Cheltenham races during the winter.
Betting at Cheltenham – The Big Meetings
The Cheltenham Festival in March is the highlight of the National Hunt season, with over £4 million in prize money on offer over the four days. There are 28 championship races, with an estimated £300 million staked in Cheltenham bets during the week.
The October meeting is regarded by National Hunt fans as the start of the new winter jump racing season. The volume of Cheltenham betting increases for the three-day Open meeting in November with another top-class card in December.
Trials Day takes place in late January and always has an impact on Cheltenham odds for the Festival meeting.
Cheltenham Betting – The Big Races
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the Blue Riband event of National Hunt racing. It provides the ultimate test for chasers over 3m2f off level weights. Only the Aintree Grand National rivals the Gold Cup in terms of prestige.
The Champion Hurdle is the top prize for 2m hurdlers and The Queen Mother Champion Chase is the premier 2m steeplechase. The oldest surviving championship race is The Stayers Hurdle over 3m, which was first run in 1912.
The Triumph Hurdle for four-year-olds traditionally opens the card on Gold Cup day. A top Cheltenham tip is to be wary of Triumph Hurdle winners contesting the Champion Hurdle the following year. They have an extremely poor record in the race.
The Ryanair Chase is a Grade 1 chase over 2m5f. 2m novice chasers compete for the Arkle Challenge Trophy, with the top 3m novices clashing in the RSA Chase.
Other big Cheltenham betting races include The BetVictor Gold Cup and December Gold Cup. The Greatwood Hurdle in November is the first big handicap hurdle of the season and the International Hurdle can influence Cheltenham odds for the Champion Hurdle.
Cheltenham Betting Tips
The Cheltenham Festival is the main objective for the best National Hunt horses throughout the season. Cheltenham tips for the Gold Cup should focus on horses aged between seven and nine. This age group have won a large majority of Gold Cup races in modern times.
When assessing the Cheltenham odds for the Champion Hurdle, it pays to concentrate on horses that won last time out. Horses which finished in the first four the previous year also do well statistically.
Nicky Henderson, Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott have dominated the trainers’ championship at Cheltenham in recent years. In 2018, Elliott equalled the record of eight winners at the meeting, set by Mullins in 2015. Ruby Walsh has won the jockeys’ title at the Festival more times than any other jockey.
Previous course form is a good pointer for Cheltenham betting tips, particularly in races like the December Gold Cup. There are only three races each season over the Cross Country track which greatly favours course specialists.
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Cheltenham Course Characteristics
Cheltenham is an undulating left-handed track with stiff fences and a testing uphill finish.
There are two separate courses; the New Course and the Old Course. The New Course has a notoriously tricky downhill fence and a slightly longer run-in for steeplechases. Cheltenham tips should certainly avoid suspect jumpers as this course takes a lot of jumping.
Hurdle races on the New Course have only two flights of hurdles in the last seven furlongs. The steep uphill finish puts the emphasis firmly on stamina in all Cheltenham races over 3m or more.
You should always look for horses with winning form over the distance when working out your Cheltenham bets. Races like the Gold Cup test a horse’s stamina to the limit, particularly on soft ground.
Cheltenham Racecourse - How to get there
The racecourse is situated at Prestbury Park, near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. The track is in a natural amphitheatre beneath the Cotswold Hills, with stunning views across the course.
Cheltenham is only two hours from London by car and one hour from Bristol and Birmingham. The course is clearly signposted at Junction 10 on the M5.
There is a shuttle bus for rail travellers arriving is Cheltenham Spa during the Festival meeting.
Cheltenham Horse Racing History
Prestbury Park became the established home of Cheltenham racecourse in 1831.
The National Hunt Festival meeting was first held at Market Harborough in 1860. It was later moved between Cheltenham and Warwick before settling at Cheltenham in 1911. The future of Cheltenham was secured in 1964 when it was purchased by Jockey Club Racecourses.
The Cross Country course was introduced in 1995, comprising a wide variety of fences for experienced chasers.
A £45 million development and expansion plan was completed in 2015, increasing the course capacity to 67,500 spectators. There are extensive Cheltenham betting facilities across all enclosures.
Famous Cheltenham Races and Racehorses
Golden Miller won the Cheltenham Gold Cup for five consecutive years between 1932 and 1936. Arkle won the race three times between 1964 and 1966 and is still widely regarded as the best chaser of all time.
Michael Dickinson achieved a remarkable feat when training the first five horses to finish in the 1983 Gold Cup. Dawn Run’s famous win in 1986 and the heroic victory of Desert Orchid in 1989 are among the most memorable Cheltenham races in history. Desert Orchid had a huge public following and regularly featured among Cheltenham Festival tips.
In more recent times, Best Mate completed a hat-trick of Gold Cup wins from 2002 to 2004. Kauto Star created his own piece of Cheltenham history when regaining his title in 2009 after being defeated by Denman the previous year.
Five horses have won three Champion Hurdles, the most recent being Istabraq (1998 – 2000). Aidan O’Brien’s horse was the hot favourite in the Cheltenham odds for a record fourth win in 2001, but the meeting was abandoned due to the foot and mouth disease outbreak.
Badsworth Boy (1983 – 1985) is the only horse to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase three times.
Big Buck’s dominated the Stayers Hurdle between 2009 and 2012 with four straight wins for Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh. Quevega, trained by Willie Mullins, surpassed that achievement by winning the Mares’ Hurdle for six successive seasons (2009 – 2014).
Haydock stages top class racing on the flat and over jumps. The big race of the year on the flat is the Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup in September.
The highlight of the National Hunt season at Haydock is the Grade 1 Betfair Chase in November.
There is a £1 million bonus for any horse winning The Betfair Chase, The King George VI Chase and The Cheltenham Gold Cup. This race has an immediate impact on the ante-post betting odds for both races.
The big meetings are always well attended with strong Haydock betting markets on all the feature races. William Hill promotions provides special offers and price boosts as well as the latest Haydock odds.
Haydock betting – The Big Meetings
The racecourse stages over 30 meetings per year with a mixture of Flat and National Hunt racing. The Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup is held in September and is the climax of a three-day meeting.
The Temple Stakes is the highlight of a good quality card towards the end of May. It also features The Sandy Lane Stakes and The Silver Bowl Handicap. Early Haydock odds are available on these races which often provide clues to races at Royal Ascot in June.
The Betfair Chase takes place in November and is the only Grade 1 National Hunt race at the course.
There are six Grade 2 Chases at Haydock in January and February as well as the Grade 3 Grand National Trial. The Swinton Handicap Hurdle takes place in May, outside of the main jumps season, so attracts horses suited by fast ground.
Haydock Betting – The Big Races
The Haydock Sprint Cup is one of the most prestigious six-furlong races on the calendar. It was devised by Robert Sangster and originally known as the Vernons Sprint Cup. The race was given Group 1 status in 1988.
The five-furlong Temple Stakes was transferred from Sandown in 2008. It is one of two Group 2 races at the May meeting along with the Sandy Lane Stakes, a six-furlong race restricted to three-year-olds.
The Old Newton Cup is one of the most competitive mile and a half handicaps of the year. Haydock also stages the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks for fillies and mares and the Group 3 John of Gaunt Stakes over seven furlongs.
The Betfair Chase is a key trial for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Betfair Million has certainly enhanced its status. Kauto Star successfully completed the treble for Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh in 2006-07.
Free online lotto. Cue Card came close in 2015-16, winning the first two legs but falling at the third last in the Gold Cup.
Grade 2 jump races at Haydock include the Peter Marsh Chase and the Tommy Whittle Chase. Other Cheltenham Festival trials include The Champion Hurdle Trial and the Rendlesham Hurdle.
The Haydock Grand National Trial was formerly known as the Greenall Whitley Gold Cup. The distance was increased to three and a half miles in 1991 and it is a target for Aintree hopefuls.
Haydock Betting Tips
Local trainer Tom Dascombe and jockey Richard Kingscote have a good record at Haydock. It is also worth looking out for runners from the William Haggas stable.
Jockey Frankie Dettori usually makes his trip pay when visiting the North West.
Haydock betting can be influenced by the draw. A low draw is best in races over seven furlongs or a mile.
The reverse is true in sprint races where horses drawn high are favoured, particularly when the going is soft.
The draw bias is not as pronounced as it used to be, but most jockeys will still head for the centre to stands’ side rail in testing conditions.
Over the jumps, Nigel Twiston-Davies has had plenty of success here over hurdles and fences. Runners from the Venetia Williams stable regularly feature in staying handicap chases.
When the going is heavy at Haydock, previous form in testing ground is essential when assessing your Haydock tips.
Haydock Racecourse - How to get there
Haydock is situated between Liverpool and Manchester at Newton-le-Willows.
Road users should follow signs to the racecourse which is just one mile from junction 23 of the M6. There are frequent trains from Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly direct to Newton-le-Willows railway station.
Haydock Course Characteristics
Haydock is a left-handed flat track with a circuit of just over a mile and a half. There is a long finishing straight in excess of half a mile so there are rarely excuses for beaten horses. A straight six furlong sprint course was completed in 1986.
Haydock is generally regarded as a fair galloping track but it depends on ground conditions. On fast ground, the course can favour horses ridden prominently.
It changes quite dramatically in soft and heavy ground and horses that go too fast early on will struggle to last home. The fences have a reputation for being quite stiff and it can be a difficult course for novices.
Haydock Horse Racing History
Racing was first recorded at Newton-le-Willows in 1752.
Haydock racecourse was officially opened in 1899. The Old Newton Cup was originally run at Newton-le-Willows in 1807 and remains the last surviving link between Haydock and the original venue.
A large redevelopment took place between 2007 and 2011 involving new drainage and the east bend being realigned.
Haydock is always open to new innovations and now uses portable fences. It has also been a big supporter of fixed brush hurdles.
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Famous Haydock Races and Racehorses
Be Friendly (1966 and 1967), owned by the BBC commentator Sir Peter O’Sullevan, is the only horse to win The Haydock Sprint Cup twice.
The race has been won by many champion sprinters over the years including Moorestyle (1980), Dayjur (1990) and Sheikh Albadou (1992).
Kingsgate Native was originally retired to stud in 2009 but returned to action to win the Temple Stakes here in 2010 and 2013. The popular sprinter eventually retired to the British Racing School in 2016.
Notable winners of the Lancashire Oaks include Irish Oaks winners Give Thanks (1983) and Great Heavens (2012).
Recent Sandy Lane Stakes winners include Quiet Reflection (2016) and Harry Angel (2017) who both won the Haydock Sprint Cup in the same season.
Kauto Star dominated the Betfair Chase with a record four victories between 2006 and 2011. Paul Nicholls also won the race twice with Silviniaco Conti (2012 and 2014).
Cue Card won the race three times for Colin Tizzard between 2013 and 2016 and finished runner-up to Bristol de Mai in 2018 when attempting a fourth victory.
The New One was a popular course specialist trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies.
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He won The Champion Hurdle Trial for four successive seasons from 2014 to 2018. Other notable winners include Cheltenham Champion Hurdle winners Granville Again (1992), Flakey Dove (1994) and Rooster Booster (2004).
Notable previous winners of The Grand National Trial include Cheltenham Gold Cup winners Cool Ground (1992) and Master Oats (1994). Party Politics won the Trial in 1993 before winning the Aintree Grand National.
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The race was also won by three-times Grand National winner Red Rum in 1975 when he defied a record weight of 12 stone.
Earth Summit won the Peter Marsh Chase in 1995 and went on to win the Grand National in 1998. He also won the Welsh National and the Scottish National during his career, the only horse to have won all three events.
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For more Haydock betting news and odds, visit news.williamhill.com and be sure to check out William Hill promotions where you can find the best Haydock odds throughout the year.