The Cheltenham Festival is one of the most eagerly anticipated festivals in the racing season, not only in the UK and Europe but around the world. With online bets for the festival topping £170million ($230million), sportsbooks are already sowing the seeds of salivation at the sheer prospect of the biggest jumps festival in the racing calendar. With an average daily viewing figure of nearly one million – still nowhere near as many as the 600million worldwide that tune in to the Aintree Grand National each year – the Cheltenham Festival offers drama, upsets and bookies throwing in store and free online racing bets at punters like they are going out of fashion. Here we preview the 2021 Cheltenham Festival, offer a preview of the best ante post Cheltenham Festival 2021 Betting and look forward to the biggest races.
Ante Post Cheltenham 2021 Festival Betting
Ante Post bets refer to bets made at least a day in advance of the race. These bets can be online bets or those placed in high street betting shops, and can take the shape of straight up win or each way bets or Ante Post specials. Major online bookies like William Hill started offering #YourOdds specials on the 2021 Cheltenham Festival as far back as last December, even before the 2020 Cheltenham Festival had started. Current betting markets include Henry de Bromhead to train 3+ winners across the course of the festival at 5/1 (6.0), Aramax to win a race at the 2021 Festival at 25/1 (26.0) and even Chantry House to win the 2022 Gold Cup.
The Ante Post betting at Bet365 takes a different approach. Rather than offering special Ante Post Cheltenham Festival 2021 bets the world’s biggest online bookmaker offers win bets and each way bets only. You can request specials directly from Bet365 by logging into your account and contacting them via the dedicated Others on Request button at the bottom of each race, as you would if you were to request speculative odds over the counter at a betting shop.
Are Ante Post bets the best bets?
While Ante Post bets are popular with punters as they can often offer decent odds for favourites , there are some obvious barriers to placing these bets online. These include:
There is no guarantee that the horses will run in the race as currently scheduled. In regulations established in 2018 horses have to declare 48 hours before each race at the Cheltenham Festival and can only run in one race during the festival week. Only then will the runners be fixed, potentially making void any Ante Post bets you may have made.
All Ante Post bets placed are only eligible for standard each way terms of three places. During the festival itself bookies not only offer free bets but also extra place races that can range up to six, seven or even eight places.
Best Odds Guaranteed offers only kick in on the day of the race, meaning you could land bigger prices for your chosen horse if its odds drift.
Best Odds Guaranteed On 2021 Cheltenham Festival Bets
However attractive the odds of these Ante Post bets, with a chance that the odds will shorten as the festival approaches, there is also the chance that these odds might drift. No Ante Post online bets – or Ante Post in store bets – qualify for Bet Odds Guaranteed (BOG), a promotion featured by most online sportsbooks that sees you receive the highest price for your horse, whether it shortens or lengthens before the off. Here is a breakdown of some of the BOG offers from the best bookies for placing Cheltenham Festival bets online:
BetVictor – BetVictor offers BOG from 9am on the day of the race.
William Hill – William Hill’s BOG offers kick in from 10am on the day of the race, though payouts are limited to £/€25,000.
Bet365 – Bet365 runs its BOG in a slightly different way, in that it calls it a Price Promise. This means it matches the best price up to 15 minutes before the off at any of the following bookies: Ladbrokes, William Hill, Paddy Power, Coral, Sky Bet and Boylesports.
Betfred – Betfred offers some of the best terms for BOG of any online bookie, offering BOG from 8am on the day of the race, with no winnings cap.
Betfair Sportsbook – Betfair also offers BOG from 8am on the day of the race, with the only winnings capped at £1,000,000 for Grade 1 races.
LeoVegas – LeoVegas offers BOG after 9am, but only on selected races.
Best Bets For Cheltenham Festival 2021
The standard of racing at Cheltenham is impeccable, with several grade 1 races taking place every day.
Tuesday 16th March 2021 – Highlights
The traditional opener for the festival is the Supreme Novices Hurdle, which takes place at 13:30 GMT. This grade 1 kicks off the festival and is greeted by a huge cheer from the crowd known as the “Cheltenham roar”. Winning the opener is a sought after accolade.
The feature race on the first day is the Champion Hurdle, which goes off at 3:30pm. 2020 winner Epatante returns as the 6/4 (2.5) favourite, having come through that test comfortably. She will have Gordon Elliott’s Abracadabras (8/1 – 9.0) and Henry de Bromhead’s Honeysuckle (16/1 – 17.0) for company though, who will push her all the way.
Wednesday 17th March – Highlights
The Queen Mother Champion Chase goes off at 3:30pm, and reads like a who’s who of the National Hunt’s best horses. Chacun Pour Soi heads the betting at 3/1 (4.0), but comes up against Politologue and Altior, the Nicky Henderson stable star who withdrew from the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown in December specifically with this race in mind.
Thursday 18th March 2021 – Highlights
The horse to watch out for here is Envoi Allen running in the Marsh Novice’s Hurdle, with trainer Gordon Elliott plotting the horse as a future Gold Cup winner. He is currently widely available as the favourite at 1/1 (2.0), with the best price at BetVictor at 6/5 (2.2). His closest challenger is Shishkin, with Betfair offering a massive 20/1 (21.0) for Ante Post bets.
Friday 19th March 2021 – Highlights
This is the big one, Cheltenham Gold Cup day. The Gold Cup is one of the most prestigious races in horse racing around the globe, with Al Boum Photo, one of only seven horses to win the race more than once, set to defend his crown and hunt down a hat-trick to take him into an elite group of only four others. He is best price 11/2 at William Hill, though there will be plenty of challengers including the Gordon Elliott trio of Delta Work, Samcro and Presenting Percy.