A Brief History of the Cheltenham Festival - A Betting Guide

Anyone who is interested in Gold Cup betting at the Cheltenham races should be aware of the rich and illustrious history of the festival. This knowledge gives you the insight into patterns of winners and the types of horse who perform well in different weathers.

The Good Old Days

There have been horse races in Cheltenham for almost 200 years, with the first official recorded event taking place in 1818, and even then the course favoured youngish mares with a 5 year old winning the first title. The following year saw proper stadium seating erected and a three mile course for 3 year olds as part of the Gold Cup. In the following decades, attendance rose to 50,000 or more each year, but by 1856 the event had died out. It wasn't until the last decade of the 19th century that the races became famous again.

Repeat Winners

Whilst the number of horses who have won the Gold Cup over the years makes for an extensive list, bookmakers for Cheltenham events will always offer lower odds on horses who have won the event previously. A quick look at the form guide of horses who have won repeat events shows a clear trend:

  • Ridden by the same jockey - people who know nothing about Cheltenham races betting will assume that it's the horse who wins, not the jockey. Those in the know will be looking at the name of the jockey and their relationship with the horse as a guide to form. Best Mate was ridden by the same jockey during his triple victories between 2002 and 2004.
  • Over six years old - whilst it started off as a race for younger horses, it tends to be the older, more experienced animals who win the races in the modern era. Long Run, back in 2011, was the only exception, being the youngest winner since 1963.
  • Irish breeding - it's not an over generalisation to say that Irish horses have a high quality racing pedigree. You only need to look at the hat trick of wins by Arkle in the 60s and Cottage Rake in 40s to see that bookmakers will give you good prices on Irish winners.

Cheltenham Betting Offers

Armed with a bit of competition history, you should be able to find the right odds at both online betting sites and bookmakers around the Cheltenham racecourse itself. Betting sites will be able to give you a much wider range of markets and offers and in particular look out for trifecta bets and bonuses on accumulators over the course of a few races.

Top 5 Sports Betting Sites