At Cheltenham Betting Offers we explore everything to do with Cheltenham horse racing. Although we focus on the Festival you can also find information about all other major meetings and races in our guides, including: fixtures and schedules, details of the racecourse, history, how to get there, where to stay, and more. We also have pages describing race cards, horse racing grades and classes, rules of National Hunt racing, and other information to help you get the most out of these world class events.
Of course Cheltenham is synonymous with having a bet and, for the Festival especially, all bookmakers will try to entice you to wager with them. We therefore tell you the best bookies for betting on Cheltenham, including who has the best features, odds, market range and depth, ante-post lines, enhanced places, each-way prices, etc. We also, as our name suggests, tell you about the best offers to claim, for both new and existing customers.
Our articles explain major offer types and features, such as faller insurance, best odds guaranteed, totepool betting, streaming, live betting, cash out, etc., to ensure you find the right sites to suit you. We only recommend good horse racing bookmakers and only betting sites who are licensed to operate in the UK. Remember you must be 18 years or older to gamble – Be Gamble Aware.
Sign Up Offers
Sign up offers are for new customers only. For offers that can be claimed by existing customers, see the section below. Terms and conditions, minimum odds and staking requirements may apply. See the bookies site for more details.
Existing Customer Offers
The Lucky bet is perfect for betting on horse race meetings. Designed to package all possible bet combinations from four or more selections into one bet, they ensure you win even something if just one pick comes in. Some bookies even have extra bonuses for just one winner or all correct Lucky's.
There are now some fantastic cash bonus and risk free bet promotions available for high grade National Hunt racing. These cover most races at Cheltenham, are seriously good value and can honestly increase returns.
Almost all betting sites now provide best price guaranteed on horse racing bets placed on the day, if the starting price is better than your fixed price they will match it. Not all offers are equal however, visit our BOG page for top promotions and information on how to use price guarantees.
Around 5% of horses fall in British Nation Hunt jump racing, that means up to 1 in 20. Other factors can increase this rate further such as the weather, field size, horse and jockey experience, etc. Punters can save a lot of money over time by taking up faller insurance.
Cheltenham News Blog
Reading a race card properly can give you a huge amount of information in seconds. Although a race card can seem daunting to first look at it really is easy to understand and could significantly enhance both your enjoyment and winnings if used well.
If you fancy more than just a win single or each-way bet when betting at Cheltenham this year then take a look at our how to bet guide. We cover totepool, full cover bets (such as Lucky 15's) as well as the differences between ante-post and on the day prices.
If a horse doesn't run or is disqualified from a race then bookies cannot do whatever they want, there are set rules that dictate what happens to your stake and winnings depending on whether you have placed an ante-post bet or a bet on the day.
Horse racing is one of the oldest sports in the world, dating back as long as recorded history. Discover the origins of jump racing in the UK and where all the names and terminologies came from.
About Cheltenham & Information
When it comes to talking about horse racing it’s pretty much impossible to hear the word ‘Cheltenham’ without thinking about the Cheltenham Festival. For those with more than just a passing interest in the sport there are also race meetings at the course year round, such as The November Meeting, which takes place in, you guessed it, November, thought of by those in the industry as the unofficial start of the jump racing season.
Those itching to get an early look some new runners and riders for the new National Hunt campaign might want to have a look at The Showcase. The meeting is the first of the season at Cheltenham and provides the first test for the course since the previous May.
With two days, Showcase Friday and Showcase Saturday, each with 7 races on the card, there are plenty of 2-3 mile chases and hurdles to be enjoyed. The kind of rare proper jump race fans enjoy. This meeting can be a little unpredictable when it comes to the weather, run in late October it has been known to be mild enough for a t-shirt right the way to freezing with hail. Maybe one to wait for the day to see what to bet on, and indeed what to wear if attending.
This mid-week meeting, as the name suggests, takes place in April each year during the winding-down of the jump season. Perhaps more a meeting for the avid racegoer there is still a lot of enjoyment to be had, especially if you get good weather.
Run over two days there is a nice mix of big handicap races with a few Grade races thrown in. By this point in the season punters have a better idea of how horses will run and a keen eye will be able to spot the flagging fillies from those with some gas left in the tank. The second day of the April meeting is famed for being a mares' only racing day.
The Hunters Chase Evening, or Race Night as it is now known as of 2018, is the final jump racing meeting at Cheltenham until the autumn and is a big favourite for the locals. With five out of seven races run over a distance of 3+ miles this meeting really does live up to its name.
This amateur meeting is a great opportunity to spot the upcoming horses, trainers and riders that might be worth backing next season. The lighter nights in this rare evening meeting, run on the Friday before the May day bank holiday in the UK each year, means it has a more party feel with live music and more.
This three day racing event takes place every November and has grown in popularity over recent years. It started life as just another race meeting, failing to establish itself as anything special until it expanded into a mini festival.
Formerly known as the Cheltenham Open and now called the November Meeting, the meeting has only really taken on significance since the turn of the millennium. One of the keys to the meeting’s success has been the fact that it has something of a carnival atmosphere. Day One is ‘Countryside Day’, having a country fair feel the proceedings. Day Two, Gold Cup Day, revolves around, you guessed it, the Gold Cup, whilst Day Three is November Meeting Sunday (formerly Open Sunday). This is very much an occasion for all the family, especially as it’s the only Sunday in the year when racing takes place on the course.
Each New Year’s Day Cheltenham Racecourse throws open its doors to welcome in the next 365 days. There are seven races that you’ll be able to watch, starting with the Novices' Hurdle.
The meeting has a unique atmosphere with everyone in a good mood from the new year celebrations that night before. If you go expect to shake hands with many strangers as you greet the new year in with some top class jump racing.
Taking place in December each year, The International is two days of jump racing that is arguably your last chance to get a horse racing hit before the New Year arrives. Though there is some racing on International Friday, the main bit of racing takes place on the International Saturday. This includes the December Gold Cup and the International Hurdle.
The latter was established in 1963 as the Cheltenham Trial Hurdle and is a Grade 2 race open to horses of four years and older.
On the final Saturday of January every year, Cheltenham Racecourse hosts the final major meeting before the start of the Cheltenham Festival. It is a chance for serious racegoers, punters, owners and trainers to get a feel for how horses are likely to perform in one of the most important weeks in the jump racing calendar.
Festival Trials Day features a host of races that can tell you some vital information about related races that occur during the Festival itself. These races include the Finesse Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle, which is a good precursor to the Triumph Hurdle; the Classic Novices’ Hurdle that hints towards successful horses in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle; and the Cotswold Chase, which is seen as a real indicator of which horses might do well in the Gold Cup.
We’ll cover the festival in much more detail elsewhere on the site, but here’s a brief overview. Taking place in the month of March, the Cheltenham Festival is one of the most popular events in the hunt racing calendar. It offers prize money that is second only to the Grand National. Though the national also takes place across several days and has numerous prestigious events, it doesn’t compare to the Festival in terms of sheer volume of first class races.
As well as the world-famous Gold Cup, there’s also the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the Stayers Hurdle and the Champion Hurdle, plus fantastic races like the Ryanair Chase and Coral Cup. It started as a two day meeting but has grown to four days over the years, with 28 races now taking place during the festival.
The History Of Cheltenham Racecourse
Despite these days boasting one of the biggest racing meetings in the UK calendar, life at Cheltenham started in rather more inauspicious surroundings. The first ever horse race of any worth was a flat race, run on Nottingham Hill in 1815. Three years later it moved to Cleeve Hill and over the following ten years it became more and more popular to head along and watch the racing, including the 3m flat race known as the Gold Cup.
Around 30,000 people were attracted to the event, enough to cause the local parish priest to declare it to be an evil past time. His congregation took on his warnings disrupted future meetings. This included the burning down of the grandstand ahead of the 1931 meeting.
That year the event was moved to Prestbury Park, where it has remained ever since. The shift from flat racing to predominantly steeplechasing took place in 1898, about 64 years since it was first established in the nearby area of Andoversford. Jockey Club Racecourses was formed in 1964 under the name of Racecourse Holdings Trust in order to ensure the future of the course.
Over the years the raceourse has undergone many changes, though most have these have been to the facilities that the visitors use rather than to the course itself. With more than 700,000 guests to the racecourse every year, bringing around £100 million to the local economy, it’s little wonder.
Part of the reason that Cheltenham Racecourse is able to host so many prestigious events throughout the year is that there are actually two courses there for the horses to race on. They are both used throughout the year, with The Old Course used for The Open and the first two days of The Festival. It’s The New Course that gets the most exciting races, though, including The International, New Year’s Day and days Three and Four of The Festival. This includes The Gold Cup that always takes place on the Friday.
Starting with The Old Course, then, it’s run over one mile and four furlongs around an oval track. The run-in, where everyone gets excited and cheers non-stop, is 350 yards long. It’s a left-hand course with six hurdles and nine different fences. The third fence features a water jump, with the fourth and sixth having open ditches. Combined they make it a tough course to jump, even though it’s widely considered to have a decent galloping pace.
The undulations of the course mean that jockeys need to work hard to ensure that they can not only last the distance but also do so running at a decent pace.
The New Course is not a dissimilar length to The Old Course, being just a furlong longer. The one mile and five furlong course is also oval in shape, but the run-in is just 220 yards long. It’s also a left-hand track that offers the same number of hurdles as its older brother but four more fences. The fences are also notorious for their difficulty, with a water jump on the second and open ditches on the third and fifth.
The layout of The New Course at Cheltenham is such that it can actually be extended to run longer races if necessary. Three more hurdles and five more fences can be brought in if the race dictates that they’re needed. Given that the two courses intertwine with each other there’s no real surprise in the fact that this is also has an undulating surface.
This is an extraordinarily demanding track that owners and jockeys alike consider to be their crowning achievement if they win on it. Races are often run at an incredible pace, but the ability to last the distance is one of the most important things a horse that takes part in races here can do.
Cheltenham Racecourse Facilities
When it comes to attending the races, one of the most important questions you’ll want answering is which part of the course you’re best off attending. The best view is, without question, in Club. This is also the most exclusive part of Cheltenham Racecourse, with your ticket also allowing you to go into the Tattersalls and use the facilities there.
Why, you might ask, should that matter? Well if Club is the most exclusive part of the venue then Tattersalls is where all the action happens. Here you’ll find the winners’ enclosure, the Grandstand with its amazing views, access to both the Gold Cup and Festival restaurants and also the ability to get into the famed tented village.
When The Festival is not on, with the exception of Gold Cup Day in November, these two are combined into the Club/Tattersalls section. You’ll be able to gain access to the Members’ Lawn, paddock, the viewing steps and even the centre of the course as long as the weather hasn’t made things too muddy.
If you’re after great value for money without the need to sacrifice your view then you’ll want to head to the Best Mate Enclosure. It’s opposite the Main Stand so although you won’t get exactly the same view that punters get in there you won’t be too disappointed. You won’t be able to get access to the Parade Ring or Shopping Village, but when The Festival is on there’s plenty of entertainment in here including numerous exciting cover bands.
There are numerous different hospitality packages available at the course, with options aplenty depending on your budget.
From course facing luxury boxes through to luxury chalets that are only opened for The Festival, if you want to live the high-life then you’ll definitely be able to.
General admission tickets are available in a range of prices. When you want to go and where you want to be will alter how much you’ll pay, with the Best Mate Enclosure offering the cheapest option all year round.
It will obviously cost you less to go to the course on Open Sunday than it will when the Gold Cup is on.
Cheltenham is a regency town, located close to the Cotswolds, and has a motto of ‘Salubritas et Eruditio’. Translated from the Latin that means ‘Health and Education’, which could have been based on a combination of the Food & Drink Festival that is held annually and the famous Cheltenham Ladies’ College. In actual fact the motto is because the town has numerous well-respected educational establishments and has long been used as a spa resort for those suffering from ailments and illness.
As well as the racing festival, the town hosts numerous events throughout the year. The Cheltenham Literature Festival brings together some of the best loved authors of modern times, much as the Cheltenham Jazz Festival does for jazz musicians. There is a more generic music festival that takes place on an annual basis and also the Cheltenham Science Festival. Away from the world of culture, the Government Communications Headquarters, better known as GCHQ, is located in the town’s suburbs.
Getting There & Hotels
Unsurprisingly, access to the racecourse is pretty decent no matter how you want to get there. They’re used to welcoming around 700,000 people a year, so whether you want to travel by car or rail you won’t struggle. There is a train station handily named Cheltenham Racecourse just ten minutes walk from the main racecourse, for example. You can even get a classic steam train from Toddington Railway Station to directly behind the Grandstand on certain race days! There are also plenty of bus stations nearby where bus numbers 578, 608, D, E, 99, HC4, N, 94U and others are able to stop.
If you’re driving then Cheltenham Racecourse is easily reachable off the M5. The A4019 is the best route to take. There are numerous different parking areas depending on the type of ticket you have, with pre-booking strongly recommended.
For a more detailed guide read our getting to Cheltenham page.
Where To Stay
- Address – Dunalley Street, Cheltenham, GL50 4AP
- Price – £70+
Less than a mile from the course is this member of the Holiday Inn chain of hotels. As well having a bar, a garden and meeting rooms, the hotel also has Wi-Fi capability. There’s a hot and cold breakfast buffet included in the price of your stay and if you want to explore some of the other delights that Cheltenham has to offer then you’ll be pleased to know that the hotel isn’t far from some of the more exciting ones.
- Address – 81 Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 1PJ
- Price – £130+
Slightly more upmarket than the Holiday Inn’s offering is this four-star hotel that has just seven guest bedrooms. The increased price combined with the small nature of the venue means that you’ll get personal attention to ensure your stay is as good as possible. Part of that includes the installation of memory foam mattresses, whilst the more business-minded amongst you will be pleased by the free Wi-Fi. You’ll get breakfast included in the cost of your stay and you can also park for free here.
- Address – Southam Road, Cheltenham, GL52 3NJ
- Price – £230+
If you want to go really upmarket then you’re unlikely to get better than this five-star hotel about a mile and a half form the course. There are two restaurants within the grounds, which also boasts an outdoor swimming pool. There’s a garden, a terrace area, a full-service spa and five different meeting rooms. You can park for free, use the complimentary Wi-Fi and also have breakfast included in the price of your stay. If you want to then you can even use the arcade and games room to unwind in.
How To Claim Free Bets
|Offer||Min Odds||Single Use||Max Win||Rollover||Payout|
|Free Bets||Usually No||Yes||Usually No||No||Cash, Stake Not Returned|
|Bonuses||Yes||No||Usually Yes||Yes||Cash, including stake, once rollover met|
|Risk Free||Usually No||Yes||Yes||No||Always Cash|
Most of those reading this page will have signed up for betting accounts before and will be used to the typical welcome offers. These are usually either free bets or bonuses, occasionally you might find money back in cash offers (often called risk free bets).
Below we look at the major offers types as well as special introductory deals specific to racing to help you choose the right one for you.
There are some prerequisites before you can get an offer. Firstly you need to sign up, often through the relevant offer landing page. To do this you need to be 18 years old and a resident in the country. You also need to prove this by providing ID and proof of address (before you can bet), although sometimes this is done automatically through a soft credit-check on your bank card. You may also need to enter a promo code so the bookie knows which offer you are claiming (many have several).
You will need to add a payment method. Most commonly this is your bank card (it helps if this is registered at the same address you sign up with). With most brands these days you can also use eWallets (e.g. PayPal) and cash vouchers such as PaySafeCard – but beware you should check this doesn’t exclude you from the welcome promotion.
You will need to deposit next. The minimum deposit levels vary but typically £10 is the standard minimum. It is possible you may need to enter a promotional code at this stage (if not at registration). Some offers have a deposit or bet level higher than the overall minimum deposit so bear that in mind.
If you’ve registered, verified and entered the required codes you are ready to bet, but it is worth checking at this stage how long you have to do that before your offer expires.
All offers require you to do something to claim them, most commonly this is to place a qualifying bet. It is important to read the terms around this to know what you need to do. This will, at the very least, be on a sportsbook market, but may be for a specific sport, market or even bet type.
There will be minimum odds, typically between 1/2 and evens, that your wager must be above to qualify. Some markets may not count, e.g. multiples, full-cover bets (e.g. Lucky 15), tote, forecasts, etc., so again read the terms if you plan to place anything other than a win single. Usually your free bet or bonus is awarded either instantly or within a few hours to a few days of qualifying bet settlement.
Although some bonuses are awarded on deposit you will likely still need to bet that deposit amount at minimum odds to active any funds.
In basic terms free bets are tokens given for placing a qualifying bet, these tokens can be used all in one go for single sports bets (sometimes restricted to a specific sport or market), with winnings in cash but the stake itself not given back. Sometimes tokens are split up (e.g. Bet £10 Get £30 as 6 x £5 Free Bets), but either way you must use the entire value of each token in one go.
Occasionally these have minimum odds or winnings restrictions, but generally these are the most open offers and easiest to use. It is important to note that tokens like this are to be used for single bets, if the offer doesn’t state that you can use it for each-way bets then you probably can’t.
Free bets tend to be the most generous offers and can often match your initial stake by 400% or more.
Risk Free Bets
These are effectively cash back offers, if you place a qualifying bet and it loses you get money back in cash up to the maximum stake.
These are hugely valuable but not very common, they also tend to only match up to 100% and will usually be restricted to specific bets or events.
It is also common for risk free offers to be for a set amount, e.g. £20, this means you need to deposit and stake that amount, usually if you stake lower you will not qualify, although you can stake higher but you will only get cash back up to the maximum limit.
Given the value of these offers they tend to be available for the Cheltenham Festival and other big sporting events, but are rare at other times of the year.
These are the most flexible offers, bonuses give you a percentage match of a qualifying deposit or bet in promotional cash. The bonus funds will have a wagering requirement (sometimes called rollover, play-through or turnover), this means you need to stake the bonus amount a number of times over before it becomes withdrawable.
The negative side of this is it takes more time and often more bets to be able to win, the positive side is you can split your stakes up and bet more widely, potentially giving yourself more chance.
Bonuses generally have minimum odds for qualifying bets and occasionally have maximum winning amounts, you may also be restricted to the amount you can bet in one go. Bonuses can be used on more bet types, such as each-way bets, forecasts, lucky 15’s, etc., where free bets often cannot be (unless the terms say differently).
Bet Through The Card Offers
These are now very common for racing events and Cheltenham especially. In basic terms you place a qualifying bet on a meeting (sometimes first race, sometimes any race). You will then receive a free bet to use in every other race on the card.
For example, bet £10 on the first race of the Cheltenham Festival Day One and get 6 x £10 free bets, one to use in each other race on the card.
These are more restricted than standard free bets as they need to be used on specific meetings and races, but at the same time they often tend to give you a higher percentage of promo funds compared with the standard welcome offer.
These deals are time sensitive so give yourself good time to register and verify yourself before any racing starts.
Money Back If You Lose
This is effectively the same as a risk free bet but it is often specific to a certain race or meeting. Why not use a standard risk free bet instead then? Well, these types of promotion can often give you cash back up to a larger stake level than the standard versions.
Examples may includes things such as ‘money back if your horse loses in the first/feature race’, ‘money back if the favourite wins’, ‘money back if a certain jockey or trainer wins’, etc.
In general the idea is these bets should be relatively likely to win as the bookie wants to give you a welcome incentive.
Enhanced odds deals require you to back a specific horse (usually the odds on favourite) to win a specific race (usually high profile grade races).
The big benefit of these offers is if you win you can often get far more in free bets than through the general welcome deal. That is a big ‘if’ though so if you use enhanced odds you should be fairly confident the horse will win.
These often have low stake limits, e.g. £1 or £5. An example might be something like 50/1 Altior to win the Gold Cup with a £1 minimum bet. Winnings are usually free tokens, very rarely they can be cash, and you will need to make a minimum deposit, e.g. if the stake is £1 but min deposit £10 you still need to deposit £10.
Profit Boosts / Extra Winnings
Rather than giving free bets some brands give you profit boosts that you can then apply to your own bet, up to a set stake amount.
For example, a 100% winnings boost could be applied to a horse you think might win at 4/1, giving you actual odds of 8/1.
While these are not the biggest deals they can be valuable if you want to back specific selections but can’t find another applicable deal.
Cross-Sport / Cross-Product Offers
These can cover almost anything, but typical versions include bet on a sport and get a free bet plus a casino bonus or free spins, or conversely bet on casino and get a free bet for sports.
Some will be linked-sports, such as bet on a specific football match this week and get a free bet for Cheltenham.
Although these can be obscure they can be high value – but only if you like betting on the other products in the first place.
You should never use an offer just because it is there, just like you shouldn’t buy something from a shop you don’t need just because its discounted.
The best thing to do is think about what you want to bet on and then go and find the right promotion that best suits that market. You should never be forced into betting more than you want to just to claim an offer either, likewise think about how much you want to stake or deposit before looking for a deal.
Please bet responsibly and remember that bookmakers are private businesses that want you to spend money with them, the savvy among us use their services for our own means, try not to get distracted by what they want you to do, do only what you intend to do.