For many punters, both professional and casual, the Cheltenham Festival remains very much the jewel in the crown of the racing calendar.
From the extensive options that the bookies offer to the amount of liquidity available on the exchanges, bettors of all styles have an opportunity to make hay while the sun shines on the Cotswolds market town every March.
This is not like the Grand National, where closing your eyes and sticking a pin in the racecard seems to be a reasonable way to make your picks given the chaos that can unfold at Aintree. Instead, the Cheltenham Festival offers savvy punters a chance to find winners based upon a carefully curated set of parameters.
But is there a reliable betting system or strategy that can yield consistent results at the spring meeting? Well, if you can plug these conditions into your betting model, the history books suggest you won’t go far wrong.
Trained to Perfection
All of the leading trainers and their connections will head to Cheltenham for the festival, and yet year-on-year it’s the usual suspects who enjoy the biggest winners.
You have to go back to 2009 to find the last time that one of Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott, or Nicky Henderson didn’t win the top trainer trophy at the meeting, so clearly this is a good place to start with your betting system.
The training trio were up to their old tricks at the 2020 edition of the festival, with Mullins enjoying dominance in the Ryanair Chase and the Gold Cup, while Elliott picked up five wins across the meeting. Henderson, meanwhile, claimed the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Champion Hurdle with Shishkin and Epatante respectively.
There were a couple of wins for Henry de Bromhead, while Paul Nicholls had the 1-2 in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, but it was the same three trainers who really enjoyed the lion’s share of the profits once again. So make them a key part of your Cheltenham Festival strategy. You can typically see the trainer’s name listed in the horse racing betting cards published online or in the newspaper, as well as other information like form, weight, and so on.
When the Going Gets Tough
They say that the course at Cheltenham can be a very different animal depending on the weather.
As we know, the going is key in selecting horse racing winners at the best of times – some like a quick tempo on firm ground, others love a muddy slog, but, at the festival, that premise seems to be even more prevalent.
The longer races, such as the Gold Cup and the Stayers’ Hurdle, are largely dictated by the going, and so it is well worth watching the weather forecast prior to placing your Cheltenham bets; be it ante-post a week or two before or even on race day itself.
Courses for Horses
Cheltenham is a racecourse with its own unique machinations, and both the ‘Old’ and the ‘New’ tracks tend to reward horses with a style that suits.
Both jump left-handed for starters, which is fairly uncommon, while the ground is undulating and the fences nice and stiff. The long home straight tends to test stamina over jumping ability too, and that’s why some horses fare particularly well at Cheltenham year after year.
Indeed, using the 2020 edition as our guide, ten of the winners had triumphed at Cheltenham in the preceding six months prior to March, while a number of others became multiple-time Festival champions across the four days.
So, if you plug these three parameters into Cheltenham Festival betting system, you shouldn’t be too far away from a successful week!