Cheltenham Free Bets

In the world of online betting, there are free bets and then there are Cheltenham free bets!

The former are the sign-up offers that are provided for day to day betting throughout the majority of the year, the latter come around once a year for a one-week period around the Cheltenham Festival.

The Cheltenham Festival is the biggest, brashest and most eagerly anticipated event in the horseracing calendar. Held over four days from Tuesday to Friday in late 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.

Some bookmakers will completely remove their standard free bet offers at the time of the Festival but others will enhance their offers quite dramatically. Luckily for the punter we at FREEbets.org.uk catalogue all the best online Cheltenham free bet offers on one easily navigable homepage.

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

Our Top Recommended Bookmakers for Cheltenham Festival Free Bets :
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Latest Cheltenham Betting News

NEWS UPDATE: Thistlecrack OUT OF THE GOLD CUP!

Uxizandre the Each Way Alternative to Douvan in The Champion Chase 

According to the current bookmaker odds Douvan is a banker for the Cheltenham Festival but only the money buyers would consider backing the horse at 2/7 with bet365 to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase. However, for the normal punter there’s very little juice in backing an alternative to win the race but there could be some value in finding horses with the potential to make the payout places. 

bet365 are now going non runner no bet and best odds guaranteed for races at the jumps meeting that matters most. In the Champion Chase their place terms are one quarter the odds for the first three which is better than some of the other bookmakers who only settle place bets at one fifth the odds. The trade off is that bet365 are shortest or joint shortest for four of the top five horses in the betting. 

On ratings Douvan cannot get beat if completing the course. He is by far the best horse in this division and has won different races at the last two Festivals. The winner of the Supreme Novices Hurdle in 2015 and Arkle Chase last season is the best two mile chaser in Britain and Ireland. Douvan has run 13 times and won 13 races for an impeccable record and even the white hot atmosphere at Cheltenham will not put that record at risk. The fences have to be jumped but Douvan never races under pressure which means jumping errors are unlikely. 

In the absence of Douvan Altior would be a strong favourite for the Champion Chase but the horse is a big favourite for the Arkle and is likely to stay in the novice division this season. The Nicky Henderson animal is as short as 1/4 to win the Arkle on the first day of the meeting and that looks the most likely target at Cheltenham. Fox Norton has done nothing wrong but has not produced a level of form to suggest he can beat Douvan if that horse gets round. 

Uxizandre is known as the horse that provided Tony McCoy with his last Festival winner but he has the form to make the each-way places in the Champion Chase. Uxizandre won the Ryanair Chase in 2015 for McCoy’s last winner in his riding career at the meeting and showed something near that level of form behind Un De Sceaux at Cheltenham on Trials Day. That was the horse’s first race since the Ryanair and the run was rated just one pound inferior to the level he produced in that race. 

They say champions never come back but Sprinter Sacre won a second Champion Chase last season three years after winning the race for the first time. Sire De Grugy won the race in 2014 so there would be some symmetry if he delivered again in the two miles championship chase at Cheltenham. The odds at 25/1 seem generous but if you assume Douvan wins the race the win stake is lost. In effect we are talking 2/1 to finish second or third and UXIZANDRE is the better proposition at the prices.      

Previous Cheltenham Ante Post Tips

Champion Hurdle 

Ante Post Value: Back The New One at 14/1 with Skybet.

Champion Chase

Ante Post Value: Back God's Own at 20/1 with Ladbrokes. 

Triumph Hurdle 

Ante Post Value: Back Cliffs Of Dover at 16/1 with William Hill.

Gold Cup 

Ante Post Value: Back Native River at 7/2 with bet365. 

Cheltenham Festival Day One - Champion Day - Tuesday 14th March

The Skybet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is the first race of the meeting and is always a keen betting heat. The best four days jumps racing has begun and punters have full betting banks. There is a huge cheer when the race starts and all the anticipation and excitement is replaced by actual racing. In a survey in the Racing Post the Tuesday of the Cheltenham Festival was voted the most favourite single day of racing in the UK. 

The highlight of the first day of Cheltenham is the Champion Hurdle which brings together the best hurdlers over two miles. The race has a history of producing multiple winners but Faugheen and Annie Power, Champion Hurdlers in 2015 and 2016, both miss the race through injury. That has caused a massive change in the betting and Buveur D'Air looks a worthy favourite.   

Cheltenham Festival Day Two- Ladies Day - Wednesday 15th March

The second day of the meeting features the Champion Chase which is the championship race for steeplechasers over two miles. The race is run at a fast pace from the outset and quick, accurate jumping is required to stay in contention. Douvan looks the banker bet of the meeting in this race though whether its wise taking odds-on three months ahead of the race is debateable. 

The RSA Chase is the novices’ Gold Cup and brings together the best young, inexperienced chasers over the Gold Cup course and distance. Several horses have won both contests but Blaklion, the winner in 2016, is not a leading contender for the next Gold Cup. The Cross Country Chase adds something unique to the occasion and Any Currency could finally win the race having finished first last time only to be disqualified for a minor banned substance offence. 

Cheltenham Festival Day Three - St.Patrick's Day - Thursday 16th March

If there is such a thing as a weak day at the Cheltenham Festival it would be the Thursday. However, there are seven races on each day of the meeting including the Stayers Hurdle on day three. With doubts about the running plans for many of the leading contenders Uknowhatimeanharry looks a solid proposition having won over the course and distance last season. 

The Ryanair Chase is run over the intermediary distance between the Champion Chase and Gold Cup. Ar Mad missed the Festival last season through injury but made an encouraging reappearance over two miles at Sandown. The horse seemed to be crying out for a longer race and the Ryanair Chase could be ideal though running plans have yet to be confirmed.

Cheltenham Festival Day Four - Cheltenham Gold Cup Day - Friday 17th March

The fourth and final day of the meeting features the highlight, the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The race is the Blue Riband of chasing and the most prestigious race in the division in the world. A horse must have some speed and stamina and good jumping is an obvious requirement for success. Thistlecrack stands out but Cue Card would be a hugely popular winner but former winners, Coneygree and Don Cossack, will be missing. 

The supporting races are all competitive on one the biggest days of the season for betting. The Triumph Hurdle opens the programme and the Foxhunters’ Chase follows the Gold Cup. The amateur riders race is run over the same course and distance as the big one which never fails to deliver. When the last race is over anticipation starts again for the next Festival this time the following year. 

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.

25 Year Betting Statistics

The 2001 Cheltenham Festival did not take place due to the foot and mouth outbreak. So, since 1991 there have been 25 meetings and 25 renewals of the four championship races, so 100 races in total.

Champion Hurdle Winners 1991 to 2016 (no race in 2001)

Horse, year, price, (trainer and jockey).

  • Biggest price: Hardy Eustace 2004 33/1 (Dessie Hughes and Conor O’Dwyer)
  • Shortest price: Istabraq 1999 4/9 (Aidan O’Brien and Charlie Swan)
  • Average price: 8/1
  • 10/1 and over: 6
  • Under 10/1: 19
  • 20/1 and over: 2
  • Under 20/1: 23
  • Odds-On: 3
  • Number of favourites or joint favourites: 10

    Trends Tip: Yorkhill at 12/1 with William Hill.

Champion Chase Winners 1991 to 2016 (no race in 2001)

Horse, year, price, (trainer and jockey).

  • Biggest price: Newmill 2006 16/1 (John Murphy and Andrew McNamara)
  • Shortest price: Sprinter Sacre 2013 1/4 (Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty)
  • Average price: 5/1
  • 10/1 and over: 4
  • Under 10/1: 21
  • 20/1 and over: 0
  • Under 20/1: 25
  • Odds-On: 2
  • Number of favourites or joint favourites: 9

    Trends Tip: Fox Norton at 7/1 with William Hill.

World Hurdle Winners 1991 to 2016 (no race in 2001)

Horse, year, price, (trainer and jockey).

  • Biggest price: Anzum 1999 40/1 (David Nicholson and Richard Johnson)
  • Shortest price: Big Buck’s 2010 and 2012 5/6 (Paul Nicholls and Ruby Walsh)
  • Average price: 8/1
  • 10/1 and over: 5
  • Under 10/1: 20
  • 20/1 and over: 3
  • Under 20/1: 22
  • Odds-On: 3
  • Number of favourites or joint favourites: 10

    Trends Tip: Jezki at 14/1 with William Hill

Gold Cup Winners 1990 to 2015 (no race in 2001)

Horse, year, price, (trainer and jockey).

  • Biggest price: Norton’s Coin 1990 100/1 (Sirrel Griffiths and Graham McCourt)
  • Shortest price: Best Mate 2004 8/11 (Henrietta Knight and Jim Culloty)
  • Average price: 1/1
  • 10/1 and over: 6
  • Under 10/1: 19
  • 20/1 and over: 4
  • Under 20/1: 21
  • Odds-On: 1
  • Number of favourites or joint favourites: 8

    Trends Tip: Cue Card at 6/1 with William Hill

Four Championship Race Winners 1990 to 2015

Horse, year, price, (trainer and jockey).

  • Biggest price: Norton’s Coin 1990 Gold Cup 100/1 (Sirrel Griffiths and Graham McCourt)
  • Shortest price: Sprinter Sacre 2013 Champion Chase 1/4 (Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty)
  • Average price: 7/1
  • 10/1 and over: 21
  • Under 10/1: 79
  • 20/1 and over: 9
  • Under 20/1 91
  • Odds-On: 9
  • Number of favourites or joint favourites: 36

          Trends Tip: Djakadam at 10/1 for the Gold Cup with William Hill

Please note that odds are correct at the time of writing and subject to fluctuation.

About Cheltenham Festival

The Christmas trials in England and Ireland have made some issues clearer but muddied the waters with others in the context of ante post betting for the four championship races at the Cheltenham Festival in March. The holiday programme provided much food for thought and some ramifications for those four days in March. The festive races were significant in their own right but all roads lead to Cheltenham in this sport.

The Festival dominates National Hunt racing like no other single tournament or fixture in any other sport. The meeting has been described as the Olympics of jumps racing and winning one of the historic races is the ambition of most owners. The superpowers of training and ownership dominate but the beauty of the sport is that a horse with unfashionable connections can have a day in the sun. Norton’s Coin was trained by dairy farmer but won the Gold Cup in 1990 at 100/1.

Sire De Grugy was bought as a birthday present by his family for Steve Preston, a man not of great wealth. The team had some great days out, most notably when winning the Champion Chase in 2014. A horse can come from left field literally and take on and beat the big boys at the pinnacle of the sport. Jump racing is more democratic than Flat racing and there are thousands of horses in fields, especially in Ireland, that can win a gold medal at the most important fixture of the year.

The Cheltenham Festival is huge for the betting industry and results at the meeting can have a significant effect on their bottom line for the year. If Annie Power had completed the final leg of the Willie Mullins four-timer on the Tuesday last season the bookies would have paid out an estimated £40 million on all the multiples but the horse fall at the last hurdle with the race won. The major races are always in the top 10 for betting turnover throughout each year

Bookmakers compete with free bets and promotions throughout the year. The objective is to get new customers with enticing sign-up deals. Turnover and odds restrictions negate some of the benefits but during Cheltenham week you can almost bet for free. At the time of writing Skybet are going non-runner no bet in the four championship races. All the major high street and online firms will have something up their sleeve for that week in the middle of March.  

The relationship between racing and the bookmaking industry is in a state of flux. The racing authorities want more money from offshore betting and are threatening to refuse sponsorship deals from bookmakers. The Ladbrokes World Hurdle may not have a sponsor in March. All no doubt will be fine on the day when the focus will be on the racing and not the politics. Here are some observations on the four most prestigious races at the meeting with indications they are in our 10 to Follow and showing best odds and the relevant bookmaker for the fancied runners.   

Cheltenham Betting Specials

As well as enhanced Cheltenham free bets many online bookmakers also introduce Cheltenham betting specials, over the course of The Festival, in relation to different races.

Paddy Power are perhaps the most synonymous with Cheltenham Festival special offers. In recent years their big promotions have revolved around refunding bets on specific races if the named favourite wins. In 2010 this worked to the Irish firm’s advantage when pre-race favourite Dunguib was well beaten in the Supreme Novices Hurdle. But punters got their own back in 2012 as Sprinter Sacre romped home in the Arkle and Paddy Power were required to refund all losing bets on the race.

Paddy Power aren’t the only bookmaker to offer Cheltenham specials along with their Cheltenham sign-up bonus, however. Whether it be enhanced place terms, faller insurance, enhanced odds or refunds on beaten favourites most bookmakers will offer some form of special offer over the course of the week. Many will introduce a new offer every day.

Daily Betting Offers

Coral have enhanced odds for the match between Man City and Monaco.

Betfair have advanced odds for the match between Man City and Monaco,.

Betbright have enhanced odds for matches involving Man City and Atletico Madrid tonight.

888Sport have enhanced odds for the match between Man City and Monaco.

Betfair have enhanced odds for an acca invoving four teams in Europe.

Betfair have enhanced odds for the match between St Etienne and Man Utd.

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