Monday, 19 October 2020
Every day it's raining. The weatherman calls it precipitation - I call it a pain in the arse!
Over the weekend, Newbury and Doncaster went amiss due to abandonments. The going stick went right up to the handle.
I'm not sure if it was a blessing or a curse. Do you like betting on very testing going? Betting on my niche of two-year-old horse racing it feels like hard work. It's like donning your wellington boots and literally getting stuck in the mud. The problem with betting on juvenile horse racing is the unknown about so many aspects of these young horses. Sure, you may be convinced on breeding the horse will run on the ground. But until it is proven, we can never be totally sure.
So should we bet on the testing ground?
I am careful. I always associate soft with big-priced winners. I'm not sure if that is statistically true. However, it always feels that way. It is enough for me to be extra careful with betting on horses at short odds. The trouble with favourite on testing going is that most trainers instruct the jockey to make the most of their experience. This makes perfect logic. But there's a problem with this approach.
Can you see what it could be?
The trouble with leading or racing prominently when racing on soft going is that many jockeys go a stride too fast. This is a disaster waiting to happen. If they go too fast for conditions the horse, however good, is unlikely to win. In fact, they are likely to tire quickly and fade out of contention.
When racing on the testing ground it is wise for a trainer to instruct the jockey to sit off the pace.
I saw a couple of examples of 2yo horses racing a stride too quick at Great Yarmouth. In fact, it was a couple of short-priced favourites. They looked to be going well until the furlong pole when they dropped back like they had been shot. Both finished down the field. I'm confident these horses will show better form on better conditions.
So I would always be careful when it's raining cats and dogs.
When betting on favourites you are chancing your luck with a double gamble. Not only winning the race but will the horse be given a poor ride or even go on the going?
Tuesday, 29 September 2020
Back in the day, I remember going on holiday to a small coastal seaside resort called Caister-on-sea, Norfolk, England. It was our family holiday and we couldn't have been happier. A time to enjoy all those pleasures which come with a vacation: sun, sea and a little bit of gambling. Considering I was about seven years olds it was an exciting time.
That's when I went into the arcade and saw this old retro Jenning's Indian Head slot machine. It stood tall on a pedestal, all chrome, lights shining in semi-darkness of what was a smoke-filled room. Remember, this was back in the 70s. Even then the old Jenning's was classed as a vintage machine (boardering on a collectors item). It was one of just a few sitting proudly against the newer models, which for most gamblers, attracted there attention. Just think how this dinosaur of the gambling age would compare with casino slot games such as Mystino slots in an online world. Within my generation, gambling on the slots has literally been transformed.
From the old to the new.
I didn't realise at the time I was playing a vintage slot machine that would later in life be worth several thousand pounds. I remember putting a 2p in the slot, pulling the handle (one armed bandit) which took all my strength. And this clunky machine kicked into action, the three reels spinning and one by one coming to a shuddering halt to reveal a win or a loss.
I'm not sure if I won the jackpot, but I do recall seeing three cherries on the win line and the silver trough filled with lots of copper coins.
Now in my 50s, I have considered buying one of these old retro slot machines. They are just as much a piece of artwork as a gambling devise, if not a good idea for a money box. It's funny, that as children my dad, who loved to gamble, bought my brother and I a slot machine for our Christmas present. It was a pretty old model from the 70s, not cloaked in chrome, although it was lots of fun. I loved that slot machine.
It was the best present I ever received.
How cool that your dad buys you a slot machine. Most parents would have been horrified by the thought of suggesting that children should (or could) gamble if they so wished.
Did it turn me into an addict?
It just gave me a realistic idea of what gambling was all about and I rarely play slot machines these days but I have and do.
The greatest aspect of online gambling is that you can do it from your own home, laying in bed if you so wish, in your pjs munching on a BLT, and drinking from a can of beer. Either way, you can try your luck and hope to win some cash.
It's good to think back to those wonder years of innocently gambling on a slot machine that was probably forty years old and I was just seven.
A budding gambler if you have ever seen one.
I look back on that time with fondness as it paved the way to a gambling world of true convenience.
Which do you prefer: The old retro slot machine or the modern online world?
It's great to have the choice.
Friday, 28 August 2020
You know why people have a fascination with gambling?
Because they think it's easy money.
I can tell you now if you honestly think you are going to win at gambling by sheer, blind luck then you are correct, it can happen.
People looking at websites such as Online Casino Deutschland for all the latest free bets, spins and bonuses. They are like the majority of gamblers hoping they will hit the jackpot.
We've all seen people winning the lottery. Sure, there is some lucky bloke round the corner from your old grans who needed a larger cheque because they couldn't fit all those zeros.
The old dear who walked into Tesco's and got a scratch card and won a million as she was tucking into a pie.
Have you ever seen lady luck? Do you know what she looks like, what she wears or her favourite perfume?
I have this image in mind. She has the style of Coco Channel, her perfume comes from one of those giant bottles you only see in boutique stores. Perfect hair with a flash of purple in the front (pictured, Lady Luck at Great Yarmouth Casino). Without question, she is a beautiful lady. If she brushes past you while buying a scratch card from W H Smiths you will notice that look, touch and sweet, heavenly smell. She is fleeting like willow the wisp, often brushing past one to favour another with a smile on her face. She turns those waiting in line to green-eyed monsters while those she touches feel like a million dollars even if they only get three bells come up on the fruit machine.
While she is in your presence she is a queen. As she walks past with her head held high, she's a bitch.
Lady luck will visit everyone at some point in their life. She is only surpassed by skill or knowledge but even then she may make someone a fortune without a moment's thought.
The next time you are about to place a bet, buy a scratch card or play at the casino, stop for a moment, look around and see if she is waiting in the wings. If she comes closer, place a bet because this may be your lucky day.
She is waiting for you...
Sunday, 12 July 2020
12:25 Windsor -
A 5f Novice Stakes. Ten juveniles take part on good going. A relatively difficult race to assess and best to let the betting settle - sure it will find a few weak links.
Roger Charlton hasn't had many juveniles race this year and very few have figured at the business end. Creedmoor is a filly, taking on a few colts, so that may be a challenge. A wide draw isn't ideal on this dog-leg sprint. The betting is key for Charlton's debutantes, although he is one of those trainers who can win at speculative odds. However, the chances of this well-bred daughter of Invincible Spirit out of a Group-winning mare would be greatly increased if she started favourite. The stable's debutantes have the tendency to win or finish unplaced. Not the easiest of horses to assess but could be a powerhouse if strong in the market.
Lothian is well respected by Michael Attwater who doesn't have the best string of two-year-olds and never has. However, that doesn't mean he cannot train a winner if he gets the ammunition. This son of Coach House was half fancied on debut, running well from the front, and just outbattled in the closing half furlong. The form of that race has worked out well although he may be better suited to auction class, as, in theory, this is a step up in class. Little went right last time over this course. Time may tell this gelding simply ran his race and wasn't good enough. Certainly, the front two that day looked fair juveniles, with the winner [Tanfantic] running well at Listed class. It looked to me as if Lothian and Eve Johnson Houghton's Coco Bear went a stride too fast. Connections are dropping back in distance which may be a plus or minus. It is never as easy to drop back a furlong as it is to step up. There is always a fear he will be slightly outpaced.
Night On Earth ran at this course eight days ago and was relatively fancied in the betting. This son of Kodiac found himself in a very stiff race and wasn't really involved behind the easy winner, and a very good-looking colt, Supremecy, trained by Clive Cox. I'm pretty sure connections expected more and they must fancy this drop back in trip will be to his advantage. The Balding stable has been in flying form and that adds to the hopes this colt could have each-way claims if priced in single figure odds. I wouldn't want to bet unless I could get around 7/1 because this could be a hard race to win. A low draw is a positive. I would definitely let the betting settle before betting in this race.
Nurse Florence is a good-looking filly. She was fancied to go well last time over course and distance but found racing against the colts and a competitive race too much. She was a touch keen and just didn't look as though she was enjoying herself and hanging. The stable has been in good form with their two-year-olds and I am sure they rate this filly better than we have seen so far. This better going could help but she does have something to prove after last time and I wouldn't want to be betting at relatively short odds.
To add to the dilemma we have a few debutantes from stables who can ready a winner.
I'm not sure how Marco Botti's Atalis Bay cost just 800 guineas but the stable can go well on debut and win at speculative odds.
Mick Channon can send out a decent juvenile as seen with Cairn Gorm who won nicely here on debut and followed up under a penalty second start. The betting for Danzart should tell the story. This £18,000 yearling purchase may hold claims if priced 13/2 & less sp. If weak in the market is best watched.
Silent Approval has a wide draw. Gary Moore can do well with debutantes and money is often a good sign. Very few debutantes win if priced over 10/1.
Jazzy Socks is well owned and well-bred. Robert Cowell has trained a winner this two-year-old season and has a line to a fair mark from that horse. However, he is a trainer who often seems to struggle to win and I would take a watching brief.
Power On was fancied to go well on this second start at Newmarket after showing a glimmer of promise at Yarmouth on debut. Paul D'Arzy's colt is a fair-looking juvenile but disappointed last time out and connections have opted for the blinker which may work or be a sign of desperation. He was given an Ascot nomination by connections which may show some sign of confidence but a horse that needs to spring back to life and would have to be big odds to consider.
Luke Dace's Friday is the rank outsider although he has done well with debutantes at big odds.
Conclusion: A race I would be careful with. If you don't let the market settle you must need your brain testing. The only reason you wouldn't do that is if you are convinced you have found some value and your horse is likely to be backed. The betting may detail a few weak links which help with the assessment. I will be keeping an eye on Night On Earth as a potential value each-way bet. However, if Creedmoor is strong in the betting it would be enough for me to keep my money in my pocket. This race has a bit of everything going on. In addition, if a few of the debutantes are strong in the market it may be a race to watch.
Thursday, 2 July 2020
This historic race is all the more exciting as Andrew Balding has a live chance of emulating the success of his father, Ian, who won the Epsom Derby back in 1971 with Mill Reef who was a serious racehorse and a winning machine of many high-profile contests.
Kameko won on his two-year-old debut before concluding his formative season with a victory at Doncaster taking the Futurity Trophy Group 1. Even better, he started a belated three-year-old campaign with an all-out win in the Newmarket 2000 Guineas (something that even Mill Reef didn't achieve).
Kameko races in the familiar silks of Qatar Racing Limited and one of the major fancies for the Epsom Derby which takes place this Saturday (4:55).
Can Andrew Balding emulate the success of Mill Reef who stormed clear of the field in 1971s Derby?
It could well be a spectacular day for Park House Stables, Kingclere, Newbury.
Good luck to connections and all those who are betting on the big race.
Friday, 12 June 2020
For many racing fans, Royal Ascot is the jewel of the flat season. With 36 races across five action-packing days, and a hefty prize pot that usually runs into several million pounds, the event is one of the most prestigious fixtures in the racing calendar. It's also undoubtedly the most well-heeled meet of the year, and for many attendees, Ascot is as much about fancy frocks, fizz, and famous faces as it is about racing.
But, although the event will be going ahead this month, it will be rather different to any race day that we've seen before. Due to COVID-19 and the ensuring lockdown restrictions, Royal Ascot will be taking place behind closed doors for the first time in the event's 119-year history, and there will be no live spectators at all. The "royal" presence at Ascot will also be taking a backseat, with the Queen and other high-ranking members of the royal family staying safe at home.
While this is a big change, there's still plenty to look forward to. For one thing, all race events are still going ahead, so it's a great opportunity to have a flutter. In this article, I'll talk you through the changes to this year's Royal Ascot, along with a few betting tips.
When and where?
Royal Ascot 2020 will take place from Tuesday 16th to Saturday 20th June, at the Ascot Racecourse in Berkshire. However, because of the unprecedented times that we're living through, the event will not be open to the public.
Instead, all races will be broadcast from Ascot on Sky Sports Racing, and ITV1 will be broadcasting live from the event from 1:30pm on each day. The action kicks off at 1.15pm Tuesday to Friday and 12.40pm on Saturday, with the final race each day at 4.40pm. That means you can watch from race two onwards in the comfort of your own home.
There are normally 30 races at Royal Ascot, but this year, organisers have added an additional six races to the fixture, including the Copper Horse Handicap, the Golden Gates Handicap and the Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap. Some races, including the St James’s Palace Stakes and Coronation Stakes, have been moved to the final day. The itinerary for Group 1 races is as follows:
Day one - Tuesday, June 16
The Queen Anne Stakes (Group 1)
The King's Stand Stakes (Group 1)
Day two - Wednesday, June 17
The Prince of Wales's Stakes (Group 1)
Day three - Thursday, June 18
The Gold Cup (Group 1)
Day four - Friday, June 19
The Commonwealth Cup (Group 1)
Day five - Saturday, June 2
The Coronation Stakes (Group 1)
The St James's Palace Stakes (Group 1)
The Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Group 1)
Due to coronavirus, organisers have also been forced to cut the prize fund from £8,000,000 to £3,680,000. All eight Group 1 races will be run for £250,000, with no race run for less than £35,000. All races will also close at the six-day stage and entry fees will be as normal, beginning at 1.25% for Group 1 races.
Even though you can't attend the races in person, betting on the fixtures is still as exciting as ever. If you're new to betting at Ascot, then be sure to follow these tips:
Check the racecard
There will still be an online race card where you can find details of all the runners, including the favourites. It will also give you a summary of the form and track record of each horse, which you can use to predict how each runner will perform during the race, depending on the going and conditions. So, use this to inform your bets.
Keep an eye on the going
The "going" (the word for the condition of the course) can affect how different runners perform on the day. Ascot update the going and weather report every day in the lead up to the race, so be sure to keep checking back before you place any bets.
Sometimes the most exciting bets are those which you make completely at random, so don't be afraid to bet on an outlier just because you have a lucky feeling about their jockey colours or name.
What else is happening at this year's Royal Ascot?
While the races are always the highlight, Ascot is as much as about wining, dining, and rubbing shoulders with high society as it is about sport for a lot of attendees. And, while you won’t be able to do these things in person in this year, organisers have prepared a televised schedule of activities, including singalongs, celebrity chef spots, fashion moments, and more, so viewers can join in with the fun at home.
In place of gourmet meals and picnics in the enclosure, organisers are selling afternoon tea hampers for delivery, so you can recreate the experience at home. And, as is tradition at Royal Ascot, there will still be singing around the bandstand after the final race each day, although this year's singalong sessions will be broadcast live on TV. So, grab a glass of champagne and be sure to tune in to join in with the celebrations. You can learn more about the full schedule of activities on the Royal Ascot site.
What about the famous dress code?
Royal Ascot has always been as much about the fashion as it is about the racing, and usually enforces strict dress codes, which vary in formality depending on which enclosure you're in. Now that the races are being broadcast live, you can wear whatever you'd like. So, if you've ever fancied watching the Diamond Jubilee Stakes in your pyjamas, now's your chance! But, if extravagant millinery and fine frocks are all part of the fun for you, you can still get dressed to the nines if you like.
Organisers are encouraging online attendees to wear their best racing outfits at home, and will be running a series of fashion-related competitions and activities across the week. As part of their #StyledWithThanks competition, online attendees can submit a photo of their Ascot headwear to help support a variety of NHS and care charities. It costs £5 to enter, and prizes include luxury and VIP packages for Royal Ascot 2021, with all proceeds are going to a good cause. So, if you're looking for an excuse to get all dressed up, or if you had already bought your race day outfit before the lockdown put a stop to your plans, then it's certainly worth getting involved.
The outbreak might mean you can't attend Ascot in person this year, but there's still plenty of fun to be had at home. And, with an extra six races this year, there are more betting opportunities than ever.
Thursday, 14 May 2020
Let's face it, most people enjoy a bet. I guess most wagers could be termed ''fun bets''. This would be described as a throwaway bet or betting with your emotions. For the buzz. Backing your favourite football team in a local derby, place a pony each-way on a horse you have a part share, perhaps you feel it in your bones.
Each to their own. It's your money, so do as you please. It's good up to a point, hey.
But what if you really want to make money gambling? Going from a gambler into an investor - akin to someone who makes a living as a stockbroker.
It's a cliche but life is a gamble. Your insurance company is betting that you don't drop dead today. They have good reason to be confident. They are experts in their field. They make a living from selling you a piece of security which you are unlikely to need. When you need it you will find the expert isn't so welcoming anymore.
The problem with betting from an emotional point of view is that you are likely to struggle with objectivity. Emotions fall short on logic. Have you ever got in a mood and then sat down afterward to realise what you said lacked any reason? It was fuelled by passion, anger, envy...
Even the most disciplined of gamblers cannot escape emotions in some form or another and objectivity, even if based on scientific methodology, is a difficult subject to get to grips. It's a slippery eel.
I didn't even want to chat about the subject of objectivity/emotions but all aspects of gambling are, in truth, intertwined with a myriad of variants. It can be a very difficult topic to even touch the surface.
Let's talk about a niche. A niche is about the specific rather than the domain.
If I said I want you to read a book because at the given date I will set you a test you'd probably be confident. You'd have an understanding of the subject.
What if I threw in a couple more tomes: Mills & Boon, War & Peace & The Dummies Guide to Sheep Shearing?
The chances are you would fail miserably because there's only so many hours in the day to revise, learn... Pass that test!
Jack of all trades - master of none. It's true. To understand more you need to focus on less because even considering the smallest aspect of your sporting niche will become a truly time-consuming endeavour. I know from studying two-year-old horse racing that there is never enough time to do everything. I often refer to it as being stuck on a conveyor belt. Why? Because racing dictates your workload. If you fall behind how will you ever catch up? If you fall behind you may as well give up. If you are lacking you cannot bet with confidence. You need confidence.
To be fair there are many different ways to bet, tip, win, lose, draw.... If you have a super-quick answer to those questions you are lucky. Because the majority of winners prevail for one very good reason - they work harder. If they don't work harder now, they did to gain their knowledge/skills/expertise. This foundation of expertise may start by pure luck or chance. However, it will end with skill and so many aspects that you never even realised were part of the professional gambler's life.
Even then, it is far from easy to make money betting.
If you want to make money betting [investing] then it is important to enjoy your work, take your time to understand the subject matter which is likely to be formulated by trial and error. Find angles which you feel give some reward. Try to find something which is unlikely to be replicated by others. If it's ridiculously simple it is very unlikely to work. If you can find this information then others will do the same and probably better. Don't forget that your niche may need only be a slight variation to be successful. That may be enough to tip the balance in your favour.
It's like the origin of species and natural selection. No species have the same set or skills, habitats etc. They are the top [of their niche] because they have evolved to be best. You need to have a knowledge which means you have the skills to survive in the betting world. It isn't about being the best just that little better than most
Wednesday, 1 April 2020
Perhaps most gamblers don't even consider this point. For many, gambling is just something you do: pastime, hobby, fun, buzz... It can be any number of things. Some psychologists may even say that really people gamble because they want to lose.
''Although, I guess some people consciously think ''who gives a f***''
Each to their own. Only a fool limits others. I could watch some random bloke in the bookmakers, bet in hand, and think ''what does he know?''
But what does he know?
The truth of the matter is unless you know really know someone they may be the best or worst gambler in the world. Although it is part of the human condition to make inferences, it doesn't pay to think you know others.
It pays for each individual to question, reflect and learn from what they do in all aspects of life including gambling. With self-reflection, we have an opportunity to learn. I would rather learn from my mistakes, even more, others. Why?
Because they are usually less costly for us, personally, and help keep us on the right path which may lead to success.
I went to Grosvenor casino at Great Yarmouth on Friday night. I went with my two brothers. It is a social evening rather than going to take them to the cleaners. For anyone who knows anything about gambling at fixed odds, it would be a stupid exclamation. Do you think you can beat fixed odds? The casino rake will slowly, slowly, slowly...take its profit (your loss).
The only way you can win betting at the casino or any fixed odds is to get lucky, stick your winnings in your pocket, and go home. If you go to the casino once a month with that approach you may even win money. If you get lucky.
I don't bet much money at the casino. I bet on the roulette. A single number and corner. If the single/corner number comes up it pays 43-2. In that sense, if I get lucky, my little bit of luck pays 43 x £5 = £215. If that coincidence comes early in the evening it's a good day. I put the money in my pocket, or at least my stake, and conclude, with a smile: ''You won't be winning anything from me tonight.''
There was a bloke at the casino with his wife, playing roulette. She was standing by watching proceedings. He didn't look like he had two five pence to rub together. But as I have said, it doesn't pay to limit others. For all I know, he may have been the richest man in the room. The staff knew his name, so he was clearly a regular.
I bet at the casino for ''fun'' but even then I try to play with some logic. I don't even like saying I bet for ''fun'' even at the casino but it is one of the few exceptions to my rigid rules. Principles, guidelines, foundations to your gambling knowledge are the key to success.
I definitely don't bet to lose. I can take a small loss at the casino because I do class it slightly different being more sociable (still hate saying those words). Thankfully, I am winning. Truth.
But back to this bloke...
He wasn't doing too well, then hit on a winning streak. Number nine was hot and he got lucky a good few times. After a couple of hours, he cashed his money to £100 chips and had probably four or five grand.
However, my question, thoughts, understanding, wasn't to do with the amount of money won.
What went through my mind was: ''How do you view your gambling?''
He was clearly a regular at the casino. He mentioned the day before he won £10,000. Did he regard himself as a pro gambler? You know what I'm thinking, hey? Or you should do if you have any understanding of gambling.
Fixed odds. It is the equivalent of betting at a table and the banker has horns sticking out of his head, a ruddy complexion, and the room feels rather warm. In fact, you just placed a bet against the devil himself. No f****** wonder he's smiling.
Fix odds. How can you win long term? Infrequent bets. Perhaps. Cheating. You can win cheating. You need that in your armoury of skills (especially at the casino).
You won't get out the door with a bent spoon from the restaurant.
Good luck to all gamblers. I love to see a winner. Only a loser wants to see someone lose! But if you bet too regular at the casino I would fear that one evening that devil will steal what once looked to be a burgeoning purse.
When betting it pays to stop and consider whether your bet is based on skill.
I mean you wouldn't want to play chess against a world champion unless you knew better or fancied you had the odds in your favour? Skill is an asset which you can use to win. Fixed odds like to wave their magic wand with the illusion that you can beat the book. It is the hardest, strongest, most confident, ruthless opponent, you will ever meet.
Long term you will lose.
Wednesday, 4 March 2020
In this modern age of gambling, almost half of the population love to chance their luck. Whether it's horse racing, football, tennis, a night at the casino or you can't keep away from those online slots. There's one thing you can guarantee - you're not alone!
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I guess, the majority of punters bet on pretty normal stuff. You may find the odd person who specialises in something unusual, exotic or plain wild. They may keep it quiet almost embarrassed by their preoccupation. Let's face it, come 25th December, someone will be looking out of the window to see if it's a white Christmas. Get in! 10/1 winner with a few snowflakes falling from the heavens.
There must have been some very strange bets placed over the years. A population of billions of people on planet Earth. There must have been a number of very, very, very strange bets.
Searching the internet we found a couple of bets that you may consider very strange if not a little humorous.
A Tattoo Too Far
We can't be sure this particular character won a bet for the most absurd tattoos but he was infamous for all the wrong reasons. This bloke's branding may not have come to our attention but for being arrested. The mugshot showed a man in his early twenties and inked on his forehead were the words: PSYCHO. On one cheek he had a tear and the other a heart. What are the odds of seeing some like that down your street?
Clever Bet for a Big Guy
Betting isn't always about the fittest, strongest, best athletes. Surely the big, rotund bloke has no chance of winning a race against a young whippersnapper? As we know, the wise man builds his house upon the rocks. Which tells us something very important when gambling.
The wise, intelligent and cunny often take the spoils.
The story originated back in 18th century England when local butcher Mr Bullock challenged the Lord of Barrymore to a race. Mr Bullock was a big, big man. In this day and age, he would be considered morbidly obese. He liked his food and enjoyed pies. He was unfit, slow, and looked to have little hope of winning.
The Earl of Barrymore was fit, ready and eager. He was an athlete. How could he possibly lose?
Such was his confidence that he placed a huge bet on himself. He was a short-priced favourite.
To make the challenge fair, Bullock asked for two conditions:
- A 35-metre head start
- He chose the course
Wednesday, 19 February 2020
When does the Cheltenham Festival take place?
The 2020 Cheltenham Festival begins on Tuesday, March 10, and ends on Friday, March 13. There are seven races per day to look forward to, with the first taking place at 1.30pm and the final race going off at 5.30pm.
Why is it so special?
The Cheltenham Festival is the preeminent meeting in the National Hunt calendar and it attracts all the leading lights from across the UK, Ireland and further afield. There is a total prize pool of £4.6 million up for grabs and the prestige gained from landing a Cheltenham winner is immense, ensuring a ferocious level of competition in every single race.
The atmosphere inside Prestbury Park is also electric. More than 250,000 visitors will don their finest garbs and pack into the famous racecourse during the four-day bonanza. The Cheltenham roar can be heard for miles around as the assembled guests cheer on their heroes down the home straight.
There is also great food, plenty of delicious drinks and world-class entertainment, creating a great all-round event. It is also really popular with Irish visitors, and the annual Prestbury Cup competition – a battle between Irish and British trainers to secure the most victories – adds another layer of intrigue.
What are the biggest races?
There are just 40 Grade 1 races in the entire National Hunt calendar, and 14 of them take place in the space of four days at Cheltenham in March. They are all extremely important contests, but there is a featured showpiece event on each day of the festival.
The big event on the Tuesday is the Champion Hurdle, the most prestigious hurdling event in the National Hunt calendar. It takes place over 2 miles and 87 yards, and the victor is known as the best hurdler in the business.
The second day features the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the leading minimum-distance chase of the season. This year Altior will bid to win the famous race for the third time in a row. He breezed to victory in 2019, but he has since endured a topsy-turvy season and ambitious rivals fancy their chances of dethroning him.
Altior is the narrow favourite in the Cheltenham Festival odds found here, but he faces a stern battle against luminaries such as Defi Du Seuil and Chacun Pour Soi.
Day three is Ladies’ Day and there are a number of big races to look forward to, including the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase. However, the main event is the Stayers’ Hurdle, the festival’s oldest race, dating back to 1912.
The Cheltenham Festival saves the best until last. On Friday, March 13, millions will tune in to watch the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the world’s most prestigious National Hunt race. It is run over 3 miles 2 furlongs and 70 yards, and it has resulted in some epic battles over the years. Arkle, Golden Miller, Best Mate and Kauto Star are among the big names that made their reputations in the Gold Cup, which is known as the blue riband event of jumps racing.
Who are the big names to look out for?
Willie Mullins is the most successful trainer in Cheltenham Festival history and he will bring a formidable collection of runners to the meeting. English maestro Nicky Henderson has is just one behind Mullins in the all-time stakes, and he could regain the lead this year.
Also look out for Gordon Elliott, who has formed an extremely successful partnership with Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary in recent years. It will soon begin to wind down, but Elliott will also have a strong hand in many big races and he will seek to reclaim the leading trainer title from Mullins this year.
Which horses are tipped for success?
Tiger Roll will be one of the biggest draws at this year’s Cheltenham Festival. He is bidding for a third straight Cross-Country Chase victory, and he will then head to Aintree the following month to attempt to become the first horse to ever winning the Grand National three times in a row.
The impressive Benie Des Dieux is the big favourite in the Mares’ Hurdle and deservedly so, while Envoi Allen should storm to victory in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle after delivering some eye-catching performances this season.
Paisley Park will aim to win the Stayers’ Hurdle for the second year in a row, and it is hard to see anyone preventing him from pulling it off. Defending champion Al Boum Photo is the favourite for Gold Cup glory, but Lostintranslation and Santini look like formidable contenders.