Welcome to your one-stop site for all you need to know about the Cheltenham Festival. Here you will get the best Cheltenham betting offers from a raft of specially selected horse racing bookmakers, along with every detail you need ahead of the Cheltenham Races.
The undisputed greatest show on turf at the Cheltenham Festival takes place in the second week of March each year in the beautiful amphitheatre of Prestbury Park near Cheltenham in Gloucestershire.
The horse racing passionate of Britain and Ireland attend en masse at the Cheltenham Races for four wonderful days where champions are crowned in the feature races, dreams become reality and some hopes are cruelly dashed in the most competitive week of National Hunt racing in the Jumps Racing calendar.
The Cheltenham Festival Betting ring is a bubbling hive of activity, and over 28 races, punters can enjoy the thrills and spills of high-octane horse racing at its finest including 14 Grade 1 contests.
There is no better time than the Cheltenham Festival to find a new betting site for horse racing. The operators are at their most competitive in the immediate run up to the Cheltenham Festival with fantastic Cheltenham Offers and horse racing betting specials to give you the most value. Here at Free Bets we have researched them all so you don’t have to do the hard work of finding which one is best for you!
The Cheltenham Festival 2019 will take place between the 12th and 15th March 2019. You’ve got 28 Races spread over four days at the home of National Hunt racing in the UK. Starting on Tuesday 12th March with Champion Day, Wednesday 13th March is Ladies Day, Thursday 14th March is the much-loved St Patrick's Thursday and the show-stopping Gold Cup Day wraps up a wonderful week on Friday 15th March.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup 2019 will be run at 3.30pm on Friday, March 15th, 2019 and is currently sponsored by the popular drinks firm Magners.
The Cheltenham Gold Cup always takes place on the last day, the Friday, of the four-day meeting at the Cheltenham Festival each year. It has moved over time as the Festival has expanded from 2, to 3 and now 4 days in total, but has always been run on the last day of the event itself.
Betting operators are usually at their most generous during the Cheltenham Festival, whether that is rewarding loyal customers with Free Bets on the big races like the Cheltenham Gold Cup, or offering Money Back in the form of Free Bets on runners-up, and even placed horses, across the 28 races of the Cheltenham Festival. Some bookmakers will have specific Cheltenham Free Bet deals advertised on site for the duration of Cheltenham week, and it’s worthwhile paying attention to these Free Bet options, so you can take full advantage of the various options available from your online betting account.
There is always a huge array of Cheltenham Betting Offers for Festival week and indeed, in the run up to the event itself so finding the best Cheltenham offers can be tough. The standard sign-up offers that the best Cheltenham Bookmakers will usually provide will be tailored for Horse Racing and can be far more generous than at any other time of the year because of the huge interest in the Cheltenham Festival.
For example, Cheltenham Gold Cup Day offers could be all based around the great race with a sign-up offer that allows you to place a risk-free bet on the race or get extra places in the Gold Cup if you were looking to place an e/w bet.
Some operators might reward new and existing customers with money back as a Free Bet if the big favourite wins on the day, encouraging you to scan the race for a lively outsider and try your luck.
We’ve done the research and have found the best Cheltenham bookies who provide the best Cheltenham offers to take advantage of. It absolutely pays to shop around and give yourself the best chance to win and get the most for your money during the Festival.
|Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) (2m 1/2f)|
|Arkle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) (2m)|
|Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (3m 1/2f)|
|CHAMPION HURDLE (Grade 1) (2m 1/2f)|
|David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle (Grade 1) (2m 4f)|
|Novices' Handicap Chase (Listed Race) (2m 4 1/2 f)|
|National Hunt Novices' Chase (Grade 2) (4m)|
|Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) (2m 5f)|
|RSA Novices' Chase (Grade 1) (3m 1/2f)|
|Coral Cup (Grade 3) (2m 5f)|
|CHAMPION CHASE (Grade 1) (2m)|
|Cross Country Handicap Chase (3m 6f)|
|Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (2m 1/2f)|
|Champion Bumper (Grade 1) (2m 1/2f)|
|JLT Novices' Chase (Grade 1) (2m 4f)|
|Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (3m)|
|Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) (2m 5f)|
|STAYERS' HURDLE (Grade 1) (3m)|
|Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (2m 5f)|
|Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m 1f|
|Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase (3m 2f)|
|Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) (2m 1f)|
|Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (2m 1f)|
|Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) (3m)|
|CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP (Grade 1) (3m 2 1/2f)|
|Cheltenham Foxhunter Chase (3m 2 1/2f)|
|Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (2m 1/2f)|
|Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle (2m 4 1/2f)|
The first day of the Cheltenham Festival is all about the Champion Hurdle, hence the day being promoted as Champion Day. Not to be confused with the various Champions Days that exist in the world of Flat racing – this is the day to crown the slickest and fastest hurdler of the season over 2m around the famous Cheltenham racecourse.
The focus will be on the big race but the supporting card is generally acknowledged to provide the best days jumping action not only at the Festival but in National Hunt racing. If you were going to go to the Cheltenham Festival for just one day each year or even for the first time ever then Champion Day, the Tuesday of the Cheltenham Festival is the day to attend.
Alongside the Champion Hurdle there are six other races to enjoy including the traditional curtain raiser of the Festival, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and then the Arkle Novices' Chase, a classic test of chasing for the quickest novice chasers from Britain and Ireland over the minimum trip of 2 miles.
Ladies Day at the Cheltenham races is the promoted name of what has always been known to the Cheltenham Festival faithful at Champion Chase Day or the Queen Mother Champion Chase day. The feature race of the day has been named in the honour of the Queen Mother since 1980 when it was changed to commemorate her 80th birthday and recognise her huge support to the industry over the years.
Now branded by Cheltenham Racecourse as Ladies Day, this is a chance for racegoers to participate in on-track competitions like best dressed and often, event sponsors will supply prizes and promote the day as such, away from the racing action of the Cheltenham Festival itself.
The supporting races to the Champion Chase on the Wednesday include the Cheltenham Festival Champion Bumper, the only race run during the week without any jumps, and the RSA Novices' Chase, often a perfect stepping stone to Cheltenham Gold Cup glory the following year.
Regardless of where the traditional Irish holiday of St Patrick's Day falls around the Cheltenham Festival, it’s always Thursday that is given the Cheltenham St Patrick's Day title during Festival week. The Cheltenham Festival has become a pilgrimage of sorts for thousands of Irish horse racing fans who make the journey to Prestbury Park in their droves to take on the British-trained horses, and of course, the British bookmakers for four days of pure betting and horse racing heaven.
Expect Irish bands to be pulling in the crowds at the famous Guinness Village and even the odd green pint to be pulled as the party atmosphere takes over at the Cheltenham Races.
The key betting race of St Patrick's Day is the Stayers' Hurdle run over 3 miles for the best hurdlers with stamina as their forte. The supporting race schedule will not disappoint of course with the Ryanair Chase becoming a firm favourite with Cheltenham punters and of course the Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Chase, a new addition run in the name of the great mare who remains the only horse to win both a Champion Hurdle and a Gold Cup.
The blue riband of the week, the Cheltenham Gold Cup takes place each year on the Friday of the Cheltenham Festival. This is the crowning moment of the week and pits the best and most established steeplechasers from Britain, Ireland and sometimes France against each other over 3m2f of the Cheltenham Racecourse.
Betting on the Cheltenham Gold Cup has become almost as firm a favourite as the Grand National in terms of once a year interest in horse racing betting. With famous names such as Denman, Kauto Star and Best Mate on the roster of Cheltenham Gold winners, it’s a spectacle to savour from start to finish.
The Friday card on Cheltenham Gold Cup day is perfect for punters with races like the County Hurdle, the Triumph Hurdle for the stars of the future and even the Foxhunters Chase, giving smaller owners and trainers a chance to taste glory at the Cheltenham Festival. The meeting wraps up with the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle and as getting out stakes go, it’s one of the toughest in the horse racing season, but that won't stop everyone trying to back their last winner of the Cheltenham Festival 2019 to go home happy!
|Champion Hurdle 2018||Buveur D’Air - 4/6f||Barry Geraghty||Nicky Henderson|
|Champion Chase 2018||Altior - EvensF||Nico De Boinville||Nicky Henderson|
|Stayers Hurdle 2018||Penhill - 12/1||Paul Townend||Willie Mullins (IRE)|
|Gold Cup 2018||Native River - 5/1||Richard Johnson||Colin Tizzard|
|Champion Hurdle 2017||Buveur D’Air - 5/1||Noel Fehily||Nicky Henderson|
|Champion Chase 2017||Special Tiara - 11/1||Noel Fehily||Henry De Bromhead (IRE)|
|Stayers Hurdle 2017||Nichols Canyon - 10/1||Ruby Walsh||Willie Mullins (IRE)|
|Gold Cup 2017||Sizing John - 7/1||Robbie Power||Jessica Harrington|
|Champion Hurdle 2016||Annie Power - 5/2f||Ruby Walsh||Willie Mullins (IRE)|
|Champion Chase 2016||Sprinter Sacre - 5/1||Nico De Boinville||Nicky Henderson|
|Stayers Hurdle 2016||Thistlecrack - EvensF||Tom Scudamore||Colin Tizzard|
|Gold Cup 2016||Don Cossack - 9/4f||Bryan Cooper||Gordon Elliott (IRE)|
|Champion Hurdle 2015||Faugheen - 4/5f||Ruby Walsh||Willie Mullins (IRE)|
|Champion Chase 2015||Dodging Bullets - 9/2||Sam Twiston-Davies||Paul Nicholls|
|Stayers Hurdle 2015||Cole Harden - 5/2f||Gavin Sheehan||Warren Greatrex|
|Gold Cup 2015||Coneygree - 7/1||Nico De Boinville||Mark Bradstock|
Betting on the Cheltenham Races is all year round. While the races are run in March each season, the betting markets with the best Cheltenham bookies are always open, allowing people to speculate with a wager on who might win the famous races this year, next year and beyond. This type of bet on the Cheltenham Festival is called Ante Post betting.
When placing an Ante Post bet the punter is hoping to secure a better price, i.e. a bigger price than they would be able to get on the day of the Cheltenham race itself. For example, backing a horse in October to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup might be shrewd if that horse is currently 20/1 and is likely to line up in the crucial trial races between the time of placing the bet and Gold Cup day itself. Should that selected horse triumph in the King George VI Chase at Kempton at Christmas for example, it is extremely likely that the odds will contract significantly, and you might be on to a good thing come Festival time.
Ante Post betting comes with risks too, that horse you have backed in advance may not run at the Cheltenham Festival, it may perhaps go for a different race altogether or it could suffer an injury ruling it out for the season. In all these cases, the bet is lost, and no refund is made by the bookmaker.
Closer to the Cheltenham Races itself, the best Cheltenham bookmakers will offer Non-Runner No Bet on some or all of the Ante Post Cheltenham Betting markets. This is a very useful bookmaker concession, allowing a customer to place bets on the Cheltenham race markets with the knowledge that if their selection doesn’t line up, they will get their money back. Once “NRNB” comes into play with leading bookmakers on the Cheltenham Festival betting markets, then the Ante Post betting really hots up for Cheltenham Festival punters.
The intentions for entered horses at the Cheltenham Festival is always to run, but conditions of the ground can change, horses can be injured or ruled out for a number of reasons and it’s always wise to be aware of this before placing a bet in advance, ante post, or even on the day of the race.
Non-Runners in a Handicap race at the Festival could mean an alteration to the place terms for each way bets as the field size for a race is reduced.
Also, with the expansion of the Cheltenham Festival from 2 days to 3 days, and now a fourth day added since 2005, certain horses have a multiple of entries at the Cheltenham Races and decisions on which actual race to run in can be made at the last moment. So, watch those bets and look out for trainer and owner confirmations to come through in the Cheltenham media in the run up to Cheltenham Festival week.
Given the popularity of the Cheltenham Festival the accommodation options in Cheltenham for Festival week can often sell out months in advance. Many people will attend for one day only, but those hoping to take in more than one day are catered for by local hotels, Cheltenham B&Bs and more recently, Airbnb options as the locals move out and the Cheltenham Race crowd move in. With over a quarter of a million people each year attending the Cheltenham Festival, you can understand why demand is very high!
If you’ve arranged your travel to the Cheltenham Festival and perhaps found some suitable Cheltenham Festival accommodation, then you’ll need to get your tickets and Cheltenham Festival Race day badges organised.
These can be purchased from the Cheltenham Racecourse website and the current prices are as displayed for the various entry options and enclosures.
The Cheltenham Festival is often a complete sell out, so don’t delay if you are thinking of heading to the races. A large portion of attendees at the Cheltenham Festival will enjoy hospitality options, tented village access, race course boxes, and it has become a great place for entertaining friends, family and corporate guests.
Dress code is smart yet sensible, remember it’s March and often a wintery scene is set for the Cheltenham Festival and its thousands of attendees.
Travel to the Cheltenham Festival is simple with a host of trains and coaches departing from around the UK, many operated by travel agents just for the Festival week itself.
The local train station Cheltenham Spa is a handy arrival point and walking distance from the track or a short bus or taxi journey to the famous Cheltenham front gates.
Flying in to Cheltenham is a bit trickier, but the area is well served by multiple flight options, with Bristol Airport and Birmingham airport being the most popular route for Cheltenham racegoers, and Ryanair putting on an extra 30 flights into Birmingham that week.
It’s quickly become a firm tradition for the Cheltenham Races to be preceded by a raft of Cheltenham Festival Preview nights around the UK and Ireland, where respected authorities on the Festival, including jockeys and trainers, give their insights ahead of the weeks racing.
Starting from as early as mid-February up until the night before Champion Day these events are attended in droves at nightclubs, pubs and conference venues, all in the hope of catching a hot tip or a bit of a word for a dark horse that otherwise wouldn’t be available in the mainstream media.
Get along to one if you can, take notes and be as armed as possible for the Cheltenham Races before you arrive at the track, the betting shop or fire up your online account to place your Cheltenham Festival bets.
Evening entertainment at the Cheltenham Races is well served by the town of Cheltenham itself with several hot spots making a name for themselves off the back of the big festival. Highlights include the 21 Club, the famous Queen's Hotel and the stylish district area of Montpellier, which runs from the end of the promenade at the south of the town. There you will find the best places to eat, drink and enjoy Cheltenham by evening and not forgetting the best shops during the day.