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Cheltenham Festival Free Bets & Opening Account Offers 2022

These are the sign-up offers that are provided for day to day betting throughout the majority of the year, but are amended around once a year for a one-week period around the Cheltenham Festival.

The Festival is the biggest, brashest and most eagerly anticipated event in the horseracing calendar. Held over four days from Tuesday to Friday in mid-March the meeting is what all top trainers, horses and jockeys gear their seasonal campaigns towards. The biggest prizes, both in monetary and prestige terms, are on offer at The Festival making it the meeting where all racing connections want to have a winner. The 2022 Cheltenham Festival takes place between March 15 and 18.

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We provide you with a comprehensive guide on all things Cheltenham related including our betting stories and stats at the festival from yesteryear.


Tips for Betting at the Cheltenham Festival

Being the jewel in the crown of National Hunt racing, many people watch Cheltenham who don't normally watch or bet on horse racing, because the event is so big. The Festival pulls people together, with those that bet on horse racing every single do and those that bet on racing once or twice per year coming together to enjoy the action on the track. If you don't bet on horse racing too often then you probably look for tips to help you be a better gambler at Cheltenham, because we all want to make money whenever we place bets. The good news for those punters is that the formlines we have at Cheltenham are pretty simple and easy to follow. We have a number of key races that are worth looking at and you will often find that horses take each other on here, before meeting again at The Festival. The hard part is working out whether the form will be upheld by the winners, or whether those who lost can gain revenge on the biggest stage of all. 

Those looking at the Cheltenham Gold Cup should look back at races such as the Betfair Chase and King George in the UK as well as the Lexus Chase in Ireland as many Gold Cup contenders will run in these races before heading to the big one, so you can see who came out on top and who was unlucky on the day before placing your bets. Throughout the season we will have many other races which act as stepping stones to the big Festival races, and these should always be your first port of call when it comes to studying the form ahead of Cheltenham, and they make life easier for those who don't have time to study everything.


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Cheltenham Course Form

Cheltenham is a very unique course, and that is without also factoring in the atmosphere and big crowd that The Festival brings. Course form, and more importantly Festival form is huge and should not be underestimated at any costs. The Cheltenham course itself is a stiff test, with a long uphill finish for horses to tackle at the end of the race when they are beginning to tire. This means that the horse really needs to stay the distance, any question marks over that and the Cheltenham Hill will find them out. However, there is another ingredient that makes this course special and unique and that is the tightness of it. This is something that you don't always see on TV, but walking the course shows it to be a tight track which requires tactical speed to ensure you hold your position and don't lose out at what could be a vital time in the race. 

Horses that have ran and won at the course before show that they can handle the turns that this track offers. If you have a horse that has also won over the distance before then on top of that you know the horse will stay the trip, and you don't have to worry when the horses reach the uphill finish. This comes into play over the longer distance races, with the Gold Cup being a prime example. This race is ran over 3m2.5f, and being over a stiff track with an uphill finish then this is certainly a tough test. Many of the big races that come ahead of the Gold Cup are over 3m, and while the additional two and a half furlongs may not seem much, over a track like Cheltenham it certainly is. We have seen many horses run well over three miles before heading to the Cheltenham Gold Cup and then not getting home over the distance, so look out for those and try to avoid them when making your picks. 

Cheltenham Handicaps

The feature races at the Cheltenham Festival are the graded races, but there are also many handicaps which take place across the four days. These cover a variety of things, from short hurdle races to long distance chase races, so there is something for everyone. These are traditionally seen as some of the most competitive handicaps that we see all season, and are often a mine field for punters to solve. We usually see a combination of young up and coming horses that are making their mark and trying to show they are well handicapped taking on older horses who have been there and done it all before, and may even have a Cheltenham Festival win to their name. These bring a great puzzle for punters, and while the task is very difficult, it is for this reason that many people see these races as the best and most fun to bet on, because there is a great sense of pride when one is solved. 

The rules above are important to remember, so when looking at these try and pick out horses that have ran at Cheltenham before, and ones that look sure to get the distance. However, there is something else to look at when it comes to the handicaps because of how they are made up. These races have a huge number of entries, so are always run with the maximum field number taking part. The Festival atmosphere, 20+ runners and the tight turns of the Cheltenham racecourse is enough to trouble any horse, let alone one that is having their first experience of this, and this can often go against the younger horses in handicap fields, even if they do look to be well handicapped ahead of the race when you are studying the form. 

Each Way Betting at Cheltenham

Field sizes across The Festival are big, which plays perfectly into the hands of those punters who like to place an each way bet. Whether it is a handicap or a graded race, owners and trainers want to run at the Cheltenham Festival, so they aim there horses there. You will rarely see a field at the festival that is in single figures, and when it comes to handicaps, you will often see 20+ runners going to post, which means standard each way terms that make bookmakers pay out on the first four places in those races. 

With the festival being such a draw, betting offers are available and many of these are built around each way betting. This could be enhanced place terms, enhanced places paid out or both, but generally speaking there are many each way betting offers for the Cheltenham Festival that punters can take advantage of. The most common of these is to offer enhanced places on handicaps, so look out for bookmakers paying out on five, six and sometimes even seven places in the big handicaps. When it comes to graded races you will usually see an increase in the terms. Rules state that these races must be paid out at 1/5 odds as they are non-handicaps although many bookmakers will offer 1/4 odds on these races to make them more appealing from an each way point of view. 

The very best each way betting offers will combine these, so you will see an increase in both place terms and places paid for the big races of the week if there are enough runners for the bookmakers to do this. With these offers, it is best to shop around, but it is worth it because if you place a bet with the right bookmaker it could be classed as a winner, whereas others would call it a loser due to their lesser terms. 

Month by Month Countdown to the 2022 Cheltenham Festival

November 2021

The month of November sees things kick off properly as far as the National Hunt season goes. The highlight of this month was the Betfair Chase held at Haydock. This was won by A Plus Tard, trained by Henry De Bromhead and ridden by Rachael Blackmore. It was a convincing win for the favourite, winning by 22 lengths. That was the seasonal reappearance of A Plus Tard who finished second behind Minella Indo in the 2021 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Another important race in November took place at Cheltenham itself. The Paddy Power Gold Cup (Grade 3) was won by 9/1 shot Midnight Shadow. 

The Fighting Fifth Hurdle was held at Newcastle on November 27. Epatante, who won the 2020 Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham finished in a dead heat with Not So Sleepy. The pair had previously met in the 2021 Champion Hurdle (won by Honeysuckle) with Epatante finishing third and Not So Sleepy, fifth. Honeysuckle was also in action in November and made it 13 wins from 13 races. The Champion Hurdle winner was successful in the Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse, winning by a comfortable eight lengths. As was the case in 2020, Ivor Pump was second but a lot further behind Honeysuckle this time around.

December 2021

Two milers come to the fore at the start of the month, with the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown taking place. There was a surprise result with Greanateen winning at 12/1. The favourite was the Willie Mullins trained Chacun Pour Soi, who was third in the 2021 Queen Mother Chase at Cheltenham. The jockey reported that his ride ran flat and was eased down, so it'll be interesting to see how this runner gets on next time out.

A good pointer to the Cheltenham Gold Cup is the King George VI Chase ran at Kempton on Boxing Day. The 2021 race produced a big shock as Tornado Flyer (trained by Willie Mullins) won at odds of 28/1 beating Clan Des Obeaux by nine lengths. It was a big improvement for the winner who was finishing first in a race for the first time since 2019.

A Plus Tard failed to follow up that win in the Betfair Chase but only just. Galvin (winner of the 2021 National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham) got up to win by a short head in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown on December 28. The Ladbrokes Christmas Hurdle was held at Kempton the same day. Epatante was the winner at 4/5, no dead heat this time.


The end of January is another time when eyes turn to Cheltenham. They host trials day at the track, with specifically designed trials for those who want to put the finishing touches to their festival bid. We don't always see all of the top contenders turning up here, but this is often a place where you will find horses who haven't had much experience of running around Cheltenham, so they can get a look at the track before the big meeting. 


On the first weekend in February, the Dublin Racing Festival takes place, which brings together the very best Irish horses for some huge races. This, along with the Punchestown Festival, are the two main meetings in Ireland and their best runners all head to this meeting, even though Cheltenham is just on the horizon. This gives punters one last chance to see the Irish challengers race against each other, and ideal to watch if you have not seen much Irish racing throughout the season. In the UK, there are some key contenders racing with Altior and Cyrname in action.


Cheltenham 2021 Winners 


1.20 Supreme Novices' Hurdle  - Appreciate It 8/11F - Trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by P Townsend

1.55 Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeplechase - Shishkin 4/9F - Trained by Ncky Henderson and ridden by Nico de Boinville

2.30 Ultima Handicap Chase - Vintage Clouds - 28/1 - trained by Sue Smith, ridden by Ryan Mania

3.05 Unibet Champion Hurdle - Honeysuckle  - 11/10 F  Trained by Henry de Bromhead and ridden by Rachael Blackmore

3.40 Mares' Hurdle Race - Black Tears - 11/1 Trained by Mrs Denise Foster, ridden by J W Kennedy

4.15 Boodles Novices' Handicap Chase - Jeff Kidder - 80/1 trained by Noel Meade and ridden by Sean Flanagan

4.50 National Hunt Chase  Galvin - 7/2 - Trained by Ian Ferguson, ridden by J W Kennedy



1.20 Ballymore Properties Novices' Hurdle - Bob Olinger - 6/4F - Trained by Henry de Bromhead and ridden by Rachael Blackmore

1.55 Brown Advisory Novices' Chase - Monkfish - 1/4F - trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by P Townsend

2.30 The Coral Cup - Heaven Help Us - 33/1 - Trained by Paul Hennessy and ridden by Richard Condon

3.05 The Queen Mother Champion Chase - Put the Kettle On - 17/2 - Trained by Henry De Bromhead and ridden by Aidan Coleman

3.40 Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase - Tiger Roll - 9/2 Trained by Mrs Denise Foster and ridden by Keith Donoghue

4.15 The Grand Annual Challenge Cup Chase - Sky Pirate - 14/1 - Trained by Jonjo O'Neill and ridden by Nick Scholfield

4.50 Weatherby's Champion Bumper - Sir Gerhard - 85/40 Trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Rachael Blackmore



1.20  Golden Miller Novices' Chase - Chantry House /1 - 9/1 - Trained by Nicky Henderson and ridden by Nico de Boinville

1.55  Pertemps Novices' Final - Mrs Milner - 12/1 - Trained by Paul Nolan and ridden by B J Cooper

2.30  Ryanair Steeplechase - Allaho - 3/1 - Trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Rachael Blackmore

3.05  Stayers' Hurdle - Flooring Porter - 12/1 - Trained by Gavin Patrick Cromwell and ridden by D.E. Mullins

3.40  Paddy Power Plate Handicap Chase - The Shunter - 9/4 - Trained by Emmett Mullins and ridden by Jordan Collin Gainford

4.15  Mares' Novices Hurdle - Tellmesomethinggirl - 5/1Trained by Henry de Bromhead and ridden by Rachael Blackmore

4.50  Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Steeplechase - Mount Ida -3/1  Trained by Mrs Denise Foster and ridden by J W Kennedy



1.20 JCB Triumph Hurdle - Quilixios - 2/1 - Trained by Henry de Bromhead and ridden by Rachael Blackmore

1.55 - The Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle - Belfast Banter - 33/1  Trained by Peter Fahey and ridden by K C Sexton

2.30   The Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle - Vanillier - 14/1 - trained by Gavin Patrick Cromwell and ridden by M P Walsh

3.05   The Cheltenham Gold Cup - Minella Indo - 9/1 - trained by  Henry de Bromhead and ridden by G W Kennedy

3.40   The Foxhunters' Chase -Porlock Bay - 16/1 - trained by Will Biddick and ridden by Lorcan Williams

4.15   The Liberthine Mares' Chase - Colreevy - 9/4 - trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Paul Townend.

4.50   The Martin Pipe Conditional Jockey's Handicap Hurdle - Galopin Des Champs - 8/1 - trained by Willie Mullins  and S F O'Keefe


Cheltenham Betting Stories and Stats

Gambling Tales That Stand Out

Annie Power 2015

When Annie Power was approaching the last with Mares’ Hurdle won bookmakers were facing an estimated £40 million payout on the Willie Mullins four timer. On the first day of last year’s festival Douvan, Un De Sceaux and Faugheen had won for the trainer so all the running up money was on Annie Power. The horse had done everything right up to approaching the final hurdle but misjudged the obstacle and fell ruining a multitude of accas. The nightmare scenario for the bookmakers was averted by a horse that was trading at 1.03 in running but found a way to lose the race.

Beech Road and Waterloo Boy 1989

A friend who lived in Beech Road in Waterloo just north of Liverpool had the bet of a lifetime on the Tuesday of Cheltenham in 1989. A small punter he had a £2 double on Beech Road in the Champions Hurdle and Waterloo Boy in the Arkle. This was a massive case of placing a bet based on the names of the horses with no form logic. Both outsiders duly obliged and the double paid 1070/1 for a return of £2140 for a couple of quid but he didn’t mention the winning bet to his wife.

Norton’s Coin 1990

Norton’s Coin is the biggest priced winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup and only the second winner trained in Wales. Sent off at 100/1 his trainer Sirrel Griffiths thought that was an outrageous price. The horse had some form in the book that suggested winning the Gold Cup was not a forlorn hope but very few punters backed him at Cheltenham or in the betting offices. Norton’s Coin beat Toby Tobias by three quarters of a length with the 10/11 favourite Desert Orchid 4 lengths further back in third place.

Michael Dickenson’s First Five 1983

Michael Dickenson was a bit of a fruit cake but he knew how to train steeple chasers. He eventually moved to the United States to train Flat horses and invented an artificial racing surface. However, he will always be remembered for training the horses that finished in the first five in the 1983 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Dickenson had won the race in 1982 with Silver Buck but surpassed that achievement a year later when his Bregawn won the race. The horses that finished in the next four places all came from Dickenson’s stable and the achievement is arguably the greatest in the history of the race.



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