Cheltenham Festival News
Friday 9th January 2015
   
Why The Cheltenham Festival Is A Safe Bet For Punters

The Cheltenham Festival is one of the largest events on the horse racing calendar and has a total prize money which is second only to the Grand National. Having been hosted at the historic Cheltenham Racecourse since 1904, this premier event attracts the cream of British and Irish trained horses. Due to the festival coinciding with St. Patrick's Day, Cheltenham is also especially popular with Irish spectators. It has as a result earned a reputation for having one of the best atmospheres of any horse racing event. Indeed, the experience is so good that the term 'Cheltenham Roar' has been coined due to the deafening noise from the crowd.

A Safe Bet
The Cheltenham Festival generates millions of pounds in betting each year thanks to its packed and fast-paced schedule. However, it is not just the sheer amount of individual races which appeals to punters, who want their bets to be effectively sequenced and combined. The popularity also extends to online bettors, who like easily accessible information. Horse racing has generally fallen behind the digital revolution of other forms of gambling. With the introduction of new UK online casino licenses, real money gambling websites – such as online casinos - are now reviewed and rated on websites. Sadly, the majority of horse racing events do not have such a service to allow gamblers the betting equivalent of browsing the latest casino bonuses. That means it can be difficult for punters to easily find the best odds and the latest updates. However, this is where the Cheltenham Festival succeeds and others have failed. Due to the festival's longstanding popularity and hugely varied field of jockeys and horses, there are hundreds of websites and forums devoted to compiling information regarding schedules, odds and warm-up events.

The Best of The Best
This contemporary method of betting, combined with the festival's enduring popularity, meant that in the region of 230,000 racegoers spent hundreds of millions of pounds in betting in 2014. It is likely to be the same again in 2015. So, for those who fancy a piece of the action, here are three jockeys to look out for this year.

Barry Geraghty on Sprinter Sacre
© Caroline Norris
Barry Geraghty on Sprinter Sacre

Barry Geraghty
Top National Hunt rider Barry Geraghty has already ridden more than 1,000 Irish winners and is looking towards the next thousand. The Irish jockey’s most famous partnership was with Moscow Flyer. The pair won the Champion Chase at Cheltenham together in 2005, however, Geraghty has also had successful stints with both Kicking King and Bobs Worth. Geraghty’s consistency across numerous seasons and various horses is demonstrated by him winning at least one event at every Cheltenham Festival since his first in 2002.

Ruby Walsh
© Caroline Norris

Ruby Walsh
Ruby Walsh
Ruby Walsh is without a doubt the most successful rider at the Cheltenham Festival, despite a nasty fall last year, with a record-breaking 41 race wins. Unsurprisingly considering this stellar Cheltenham record, he has won the leading riders award eight times in ten years and his first came in 2004 before his most recent in 2014. Therefore, whilst horse racing can be unpredictable at the best of times, Walsh at the Cheltenham Festival is about as close to a sure bet as you can get.

Tony McCoy
© Racehorse Photos

Tony McCoy
Tony McCoy
Tony McCoy's peak between 2001 and 2002 may be far behind him but this veteran rider is still breaking records. Indeed, it was only in August 2014 that McCoy saw his total of career victories beat that of his former boss, the iconic Martin Pipe. McCoy has also shown somewhat of a return to his youthful form in the 2014/2015 season, having shattered his own record of the fastest ever century of winners for a National Hunt season. He achieved that feat in only 116 days and there is most certainly life in the old horse yet.