Cheltenham Articles & Betting Guide

guideThere is a hell of a lot of choice when it comes to betting on Cheltenham with hundreds of licensed online betting sites now available.  This is good on one hand as competition results in lower bookie margins, meaning better odds and offers, however it also makes finding the right bookmaker, bet types, prices and promotions to use a little harder.

In this section we break down major bet types, such as lucky betting and totepool, and regular promotions, such as faller insurance and free bets for winners, to ensure you find the right markets and get the value from your bets.  We also tell you the best places to place these wagers and get the best offer terms.

We know not everyone who bets on Cheltenham has the background knowledge of a horse racing pundit.  In our guides and glossary therefore you can read about all of the major grades, classifications, distances and much more information about National Hunt racing.  We also give you details of how to read a race card, what happens when your horse is disqualified, what rule 4 is and more.

Cheltenham Existing Customer Offers

Free Bets and Bonuses For Winners

Free Bets For WinnersBefore you bet on horse racing, especially televised and high profile races, consider that you could be earning free bets or bonuses each time you back a winner. We look at some of the very best free bets for winners offers from the likes of Betfair that over time will genuinely add to your winnings.

Faller Insurance

fallerThis is a great value offer giving you your stake back, usually up to £25, if your horse falls, is brought down or unseats the jockey. Depending on the weather other factors fallers can number quite highly and so why bet without it?

Best Odds Guaranteed

Best Odds GuaranteedBefore the best price guarantee it was difficult for punters to know when to place their bets.  If you take the starting price and it drifts in you would be annoyed and if you took the fixed price and the odds drifted out you would also be peeved.  Many bookies now guarantee to match the SP if your on the day fixed price is lower.  Some bookies offers are  however better than others, find the right BOG offer for you by visiting our best price guide.

Looking for ante-post best price guarantees specific to the Cheltenham Festival?  See our dedicated page.

Non-Runner No Bet

Non-Runner No BetNot everybody realises that you are only covered for sure by non-runner no bet if you bet on the day of the race.  Placing your wagers before this time is classed as ante-post and with most of these bets you do not get your money back if your horse is a non-runner.  There are lots of good reasons to bet ante-post however and some bookies do offer no-runner no bet ante-post, especially for the festival.

Lucky Bets and Bonuses

luckyLucky 15, 31 and 63 bets are a type of full cover bet. These are effectively packages that cover all the possible single and multiple bets from a given number of selections, very popualr in horse racing. A Lucky 15, for example, is a package of 15 bets on 4 selections (4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles and a 4-fold). Don't just place these bets with anyone however as there are some great bonuses to be had.

Useful Betting Tools and Features

Live Streaming

live streamThere really is little reason these days to bet without watching a race live.  With so many good online betting sites now providing live streams of horse racing from all over the world why would you bet with a bookie who didn't.  The average cost to watch is just £1, with some sites offering live broadcasts for just 50p, or £0.25 each way.

Cash Out and Partial Cash Out

cash outCash Out, partial cash out, auto cash out, and other tools are very useful and can be highly profitable, when used well.  Now available for horse racing multiples, and even for singles during live races with some bookies, this is an exciting betting tool for Cheltenham.  Cash out also however carries high commissions, make sure you understand the system first.

Live Betting In Play

liveLive betting is at the point now where it is regularly overtaking pre-event wagers for big events.  Despite misconceptions it is possible to bet live in play on horse racing, that is if you bet with the right site.  You can also stream live alongside and cash out your bets during the race itself.  Cheltenham has plenty of long races where in play betting will be useful.

Tote and Totepool Betting

totepool signFed up of bookies taking all the profits?  Try totepool betting.  The tote is in fact one of the oldest ways to bet on horse racing, originally established by the UK government in the 1920's.  Now owned by a consortium, and syndicated to other bookies, bets are placed in a pool and shared between the winners with the operator taking a set commission.  Totepool bets generally pay better than fixed odds.

Online Bookmaker News and Statistics Features

newsGone are the days of needing to sit down with a Racing Post before placing your bets.  Today betting sites offer a huge range of news, statistics, tip and blog features that can give you far more than any newspaper could.  Of course not all sites offer these services and those that do are certainly not all equal. It is important to trust the information you are given.

Bet Types, How To Bet & Betting Rules

How To Bet On Horse Racing

guideThere is so much more to betting on the nags than a win single or each way bet.  In our how to bet guide for horse racing we look at more complex bet types such as full cover bets and forecasts, accumulators and pool betting such as totepool.  We also look at different prices (e.g ante-post vs early prices) along with how to get the best out of betting features and offers such as best odds guaranteed and cash out.

Disqualification, Non-Runners and Rule 4

disqualifiedKnowing the official rules about what happens to a bet if there is a disqualification or non-runners can help prevent any nasty surprises if you don't get paid out or your winnings are less than you thought they'd be.  We explain what happens in these events and we also look at rule 4 and other Tattersalls Rule of Racing to give you the heads up on what will happen to your wagers.

Ante Post Betting - Risk vs Reward

ante post bettingBetting ante-post is something most people avoid due to the risks of non-runners, injury and poor place terms.  Advance betting on horse racing can however yield good returns, especially if you can use knowledge well.  For big meetings, such as the festival, you can now reliably get NRNB and even BOG on ante-post bets months in advance, making these bets very attractive.

Horse Racing Guides, History & Trivia

About National Hunt Jump Racing

jumpWhy is jump racing referred to as National Hunt racing?  Why are there so many different grades, classes, distances, conditions and names when it comes to the sport?  Our guide will help you understand where National hunt hump racing came from, the various classifications as well as the difference with flat racing.

Jump Racing Grades and Classes

classificationHorse racing is the oldest formal sport in Britain, unfortunately this long history has resulted in a myriad of grades and classes when it comes to jump racing. It is not always easy to tell from the name of a race what level to expect.  Fear not we explain everything you need to know about National Hunt racing grades and classifications.

Age, Weight and Sex in Horse Racing

weightHorse racing has many handicapping rules that define how the age of a horse, the combined weight of animal and jockey and the sex are accounted for.  Depending on the type of race, time of year, and even the experience of the jockey, handicapper add weight to try to balance a field as equally as possible.

Jump Racing Distances

distanceNational Hunt jump racing distances are longer than for flat races, usually between two and four and a half miles in length.  Within this there is a big range, with national hunt flat races (bumpers) being the shortest, hurdles tending to be intermediate with the longest races being steeple chases. Older horses tend to run longer races (stayers) as these have more stamina.

How To Read A Race Card

racecard stampIf you have not had much experience reading race cards before then at first glance the array of letters, numbers and terms can look indecipherable. Luckily race cards really are not that complicated and once you've understood the basics you will be able to digest a lot of information about a race, horse, jockey or trainer from a quick glance.


festival 200Prestbury Park has seen racing in and around the site from the early 19th century, if not before, however serious races were not held at Cheltenham until the 20th century.  Therefore, how did we go from sporadic racing in the area to the worlds biggest jump racing festival in the course of a few decades?


cheltenham racecourse signWhat is it about Cheltenham and its racecourse that made it what it is today, how did racing get started there, how did it come to hold the biggest jump racing festival in the world? It wasn't always smooth racing either, with disruption that even lead to the cancellation of horse races at the course in the early days. 


british irish flag 1It has been said in recent years that Irish horses and trainers have come to dominate high level National Hunt racing, the Cheltenham festival in particular.  Is that actually true however, or is it is just big trainers like Willie Mullins that make it seem that way?


moneyWe take it for granted that the Cheltenham Festival is the most prestigious jump race meeting in the world, yes other individual races are perhaps bigger, but no meeting has the sheer amount of quality races as Cheltenham does.  No other meeting generates as much money either, for both the local economy and for the bookies - so why, of all the festivals has Cheltenham grown to be the pinnacle of them all?

Cheltenham Racecourse During the War

warCheltenham racecourse is one of the oldest and best race venues in the world, hosting some of the most elite jump races and steeped in history.  The racecourse has however played other important roles in its time such as when it was used as a voluntary aid hospital for returning soldiers in WWI and as a training barracks in WWII.


grand national vs cheltenham festivalMost true racing fans would say there is no contest here, Cheltenham is bigger than the Nation as it is an entire 4 day meeting full of the worlds best grade 1 jump races. That being said you can't ignore the fact that more people watch and bet on the National compared to any other horse race in the world, so which is bigger?


quizIf you think you know how many pints of Guinness are drunk at the festival or when the event first started then why not try our 50 question quiz on the worlds greatest jump racing meeting.

A-Z Glossary of Horse Racing Terms

glossaryThe only problem with watching and betting on horse racing is there are a lot of terms and phrases used that could stump even knowledgeable punters.  This is due to the long history around racing alongside those in the know wanting to keep it that way by preserving the language. Check out our A-Z glossary for the meaning of various horse racing terms.