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Siobhan AslettSiobhan Aslett
Published on 08.04.2022
Reading time 14 min

Cheltenham Free Bet Ireland

The Cheltenham Festival is undoubtedly one of the biggest events in the horse racing world, attracting millions of interest from many corners across the globe. The Festival hosts 28 races that are raced across four days every March, and like every other year, the Cheltenham 2022 Festival will be taking place this March. Unsurprisingly, bookmakers understand that the Cheltenham Festival is one of the biggest highlights of the horseracing sports markets, with millions of fans worldwide placing wagers on their favourite horses and jockeys. 


As a result, this season is usually flooded with a lot of excellent Cheltenham free bets and betting offers from sportsbooks that both new and existing Irish punters can take advantage of when they place wagers on the Cheltenham Festival races. That is where we come in. On this page, whether you are a hardcore horseracing fan or a gambling enthusiast looking to get in on the Cheltenham Festival’s action, you will find some great Cheltenham betting bonus bets that you can enjoy for free.

Top Horse Racing Betting Sites for Irish Players 2022

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A Closer Look at the Cheltenham Festival

Before we go into the Cheltenham festival free bets that Irish players can enjoy during the Cheltenham Festival, we should take a look at the Cheltenham Festival itself. The Cheltenham festival is one of the most celebrated events on the National Hunt calendar, welcoming the best horses, jockeys, and trainers to Prestbury Park every March to compete in some of the most respected jump races.

🍀 Brief History of the Cheltenham Festival 🍀

Horse Racing was commonplace in Cheltenham even before the Cheltenham Festival started. Horse racing was taking place in and around the Prestbury Park area of Cheltenham as early as 1815. The racing started in Nottingham Hill before moving to Cleeve Hill on a somewhat more permanent basis, with racing taking place regularly in August from 1819. The event's popularity attracted many crowds, including disreputable characters, leading to the local Anglican Rector, Reverend Francis Close, standing against the activity and calling it evil. This caused racing to change location, and between that and the economic downturn, racing had all but stopped in the mid-1840s.

Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide Ireland

The arrival of WA Baring Bingham, a stud farmer and racing enthusiast, changed the status of horse racing again in Cheltenham. He bought the Prestbury Park area to turn it into a stud farm. Due to his passion for horse racing, Baring Bingham decided to host a horse race meeting in 1898. The event proved to be quite popular amongst the populace, naturally leading to the event taking place in the subsequent years. The popularity of the racing continued well into 1902 as it played host to the National Hunt Festival in mid-April and the National Hunt Chase two years later. The move of the second most prestigious national hunt race after the Grand National, the National Hunt Chase, to the racecourse permanently in 1911 became a defining moment for the Cheltenham racecourse, leading to the establishment of the Cheltenham Festival we see today.

🍀 The Races Fixtures 🍀

As we have mentioned before, Cheltenham is home to 28 races, which are held over the course of 4 days. This means that seven competition races are held on each of the race days.

Day One

Day One of the Cheltenham Festival is historically known as Champion Day. Here is a full schedule of the races that will occur on the first day of the festival:

S/N
Start TimeRace + GradeDistanceTypeDescription

1

13:30

The Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle Race - Grade 1

2m abt ½f

Hurdle

8 hurdle jumps, open to horses aged 4 +

2

14:10

The Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase - Grade 1

abt 2m

Chase

13 fence jumps, open to horses aged 5 +

3

14:50

The Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase - Grade 3

3m abt 1f

Steeple chase

Handicap races open to horses aged 5 +, with 20 fences jumped.

4

15:30

The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy - Grade 1

2m abt ½f

Hurdle

Prestigious featured hurdle race started in 1927, 8 flights to be jumped.

5

16:10

The Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle Race - Grade 1

2m abt 4f

Hurdle

Established in 2008, open to mares aged 4 +, with 10 hurdles jumped.

6

16:50

The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Race - Grade 3

2m abt 4½f

Handicap Hurdle

Restricted to 4-year-old juvenile hurdlers with 8 hurdles to be jumped.

7

17:30

The Ukraine Appeal National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup (Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Steeple Chase) - Grade 2

3m abt 6f

Chase

Amateur riders race, horses aged 5 years +, with 23 fence jumps.


Day Two

Popularly referred to as the Ladies Day, Day Two of the Cheltenham festival also hosts another seven races. Here is a full schedule of the races that will occur on the second day of the festival:

S/NStart TimeRace + GradeDistanceTypeDescription

1

13:30

The Ballymore Novices' Hurdle Race - Grade 1

2m abt 5f

Hurdle

The premier race during the Jump racing season for novice hurdlers, open to horses aged 4 + with 10 hurdle jumps

2

14:10

The Brown Advisory Novices’ Steeple Chase - Grade 1

3m abt ½ f

Chase

Open to horses aged 5+, with 20 fences to be jumped.

3

14:50

The Coral Cup Hurdle (A Handicap Hurdle Race) - Grade 3

2m abt 5f

Hurdle

Introduced in 1993, open to 4 years + horses with 10 hurdle jumps.

4

15:30

The Betway Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase - Grade 1

Abt 2m

Chase

A featured championship race for 2-mile chasers, focuses purely on speed.

5

16:10

The Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase - Ungraded

3m 6f

Chase

A country course race open to horses aged 5 years + with 32 obstacles to jump.

6

16:50

The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Steeple Chase Challenge Cup - Grade 3

2m abt ½f

Chase

The oldest race dating back to 1864, open to horses aged 5 years + with 14 fence jumps.

7

17:30

The Weatherbys Champion Bumper - Grade 1

2m abt ½f

Bumper

Established in 1992, it is unlike the rest of the races in the festival. A Standard Open NH Flat Race for horses aged 4 - 6 years.

Day Three

The third day of the Cheltenham Festival is home to the celebration of St Patrick’s Day with an exciting atmosphere second to none. Like all the other days during the Cheltenham Festival, Day three is also marked by seven races, two of which are feature races. Here is a full schedule of the races that will occur on the third day of the festival:

S/N
Start TimeRace + GradeDistanceTypeDescription

1

13:30

The Turners Novices’ Chase - Grade 1

2m abt 4f

Chase

Introduced to the festival in 2011, the Marsh Novices' Chase is open to horses aged 5 years + with 17 fences jumped.

2

14:10

The Pertemps Network Final (A Handicap Hurdle Race) (Listed)

Abt 3m

Hurdle

Serves as the final for the 21 long-distance qualifying races run throughout the Jumps season before the Cheltenham Festival. Open to horses aged five + with 12 hurdles to be jumped.

3

14:50

The Ryanair Steeple Chase - Grade 1

2m abt 5f

Chase

A feature race open to 5-year-olds +, run over a distance of 2 miles/ 4½ furlongs.

4

15:30

The Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle - Grade 1

Abt 3m

Hurdle

Introduced in 1972, the Stayers’ Hurdle is a stamina test for hurdlers.

5

16:10

The Craft Irish Whiskey Co. Plate (A Handicap Steeple Chase) - Grade 3

2m abt 5f

Chase

The Paddy Power Plate is open to horses aged 5 + with 17 fences jumped.

6

16:50

The Mares Novices’ Hurdle - Grade 2

2m 1f

Hurdle

One of the latest races at the festival open for novice hurdlers. Fillies and mares aged 4+ can participate, with 8 hurdle jumps

7

17:30

Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup (sponsored by the JRL Group) (0-145)

3m abt 2f

Chase

It is a handicap Chase race restricted to amateur jockeys and is open to horses aged 5+ with 21 fences to be jumped.

Day Four

Historically known as the Gold Cup Day, Day Four of the Cheltenham Festival concludes the four racing days of the festival. It is the day when the most coveted championship race, the Cheltenham Gold Cup race, takes the stage. Here is a full schedule of the races that will occur on the fourth day of the festival:

S/NStart TimeRace + GradeDistanceTypeDescription

1

13:30

The JCB Triumph Hurdle - Grade 1

2m abt 1f

Hurdle

It is a Grade 1 hurdle for horses aged 4+. It is restricted for juvenile hurdlers and runs on a course with 8 hurdles to be jumped.

2

14:10

The McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle Race - Grade 3

2m abt 1f

Hurdle

It is a Grade 3 highly competitive handicap hurdle run open to horses aged 5 + and run on a course with 8 hurdles.

3

14:50

The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Race - Grade 1

Abt 3m

Hurdle

Introduced to the festival in 2005; the ultimate test for long-distance novice hurdlers. It is open to horses aged 4+ and runs on a course with 12 hurdles.

4

15:30

The Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase - Grade 1

3m abt 2½ f

Chase

Introduced in 1819, it is the most prestigious steeplechase found anywhere today and is the biggest attraction at the Cheltenham festival. It is open to horses aged 5 years + and is run on a racecourse with 22 fences.

5

16:10

The St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Steeple Chase - Grade 1

3m abt 2½ f

Chase

Same course and distance as the Cheltenham Gold Cup but restricted to amateur jockeys, it is open to horses aged 5 + and is run on a course with 22 fences.

6

16:50

The Mrs Paddy Power Mares' Steeple Chase - Grade 2

2m abt ½f

Chase

Introduced in 2021, replacing the Listed Novices Handicap Chase as the penultimate event. A National Hunt Steeple Chase, with a total running distance of 2 miles/ 4 furlongs with 17 fences open to mares and fillies.

7

17:30

Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (0-145)

2m abt 4½ f

Hurdle

Introduced in 2009, it is the final race of the Cheltenham Festival. For conditional jockeys and horses aged 4 + and has 9 hurdles.

🍀 Types of Cheltenham Offers 🍀

Due to the manner in which it draws the attention of horse racing enthusiasts worldwide, the Cheltenham Festival is a season when the sports betting market usually sees one of the largest numbers of bets on horse racing. As a result, every sports betting website does its best to compete with others and be the most attractive option for punters looking for a site to place bets on the Cheltenham Festival’s horse races. One way they do this is by marketing lots of generous incentives that are enhanced to be even more appealing during the Cheltenham festival.

Cheltenham Festival Horse Racing Betting Ireland

As a result, many Cheltenham bonus offers are available to punters both in the run-up to and during the Cheltenham Festival. Some of these offers will require a promo code, which will be provided by the casino, while the rest will not. Also, some offers may have a deposit requirement, depending on the t&cs. Among the most popular Cheltenham betting offers provided by most bookies include:

Cheltenham Free Bets Offers

One of the offers that most sportsbooks provide to their punters during the Cheltenham festival is the good old free bets. Usually offered to new players, the free bets come in the form of free bet tokens added to punters' bankroll and can be used on the Cheltenham sports market. Typically, the Cheltenham free bets usually come in two forms. Some sportsbooks will create offers specific to the Cheltenham horse races, while most usually choose to improve their existing free bets offered to their new customers. For example, a bookmaker who normally offers a "bet €10 and get €30" in free bets could increase the offer to a "bet €10 and get €100" in free bets.

No Deposit free bets

While it is quite rare, the Cheltenham free bets bonus can also be in the form of a no deposit bonus. This means that as soon as you register an account with a sportsbook operator that offers the bonus and decide to opt in for the offer, you will be instantly credited with the free bets. It is noteworthy to also mention that due to the free nature of this type of offer, there could be steep wagering requirements attached, which must be completed to process withdrawals from the bonus funds or any bonus winnings.

Qualifying Deposit/Stake Free Bets

The qualifying deposit free bets bonus is the most common type that most sportsbooks offer to new punters who signup to play casino games or place bets on sports on their site. It is a bonus that requires players to make a qualifying deposit and use it to place sports bets on sporting events before being awarded the free bets bonus. While this casino bonus offer might not be as attractive as the one you would get for free, you should note that once the terms and conditions of the offer have been completed, you will be left with betting stakes that you wouldn’t otherwise have.

You should also note that, like most casino bonuses, Cheltenham free bet offers may have eligibility restrictions, i.e. payment method restrictions and payment method exclusions. This means that when you are making deposits with bank cards, e-wallets, or any of the other deposit types, you should note which deposit methods are not eligible for the bonus offer.

Bet Through the Card Offer

This is one of our favourites for the Cheltenham festival. In simple terms, this offer allows you to place a qualifying bet on a meeting (usually first race, but sometimes any race). It will then unlock a free bet for each subsequent race throughout the day. For example, you can bet €10 on the first race of the Cheltenham Festival Day One and get 6 x €10 free bets; one to use on each of the remaining races on the race card. It is worth noting that, due to the unique nature of the offer, these deals are time-sensitive, and there are more restrictions than standard free bets. The free bets can only be used on specific meetings and races and cannot be used on any other races.

Risk-free Bets

Risk-free bets are another type of promotion that many bookmakers offer to their new punters during the Cheltenham festival. Risk-free bets require players to place a bet on an event, and if the wager doesn't pan out, the stakes will be refunded to them either as cash or as a free bet. Naturally, these offers usually come with limits, so there will be a maximum amount players will get as refunds.

Enhanced Odds

Enhanced odds offers, also known as Odds Boosts, are among the most exciting offers that Irish punters can look forward to when placing bets on horse racing during the Cheltenham festival. This usually involves boosting the odds of a particular horse (usually the favourite) to give new players' first bet much higher returns should the horse not achieve victory. For example, you might find a bookmaker offering an enhanced odds of 5/1 on a selection that typically comes with 4/5 odds.

The big benefit of the enhanced odds promotion is that players can often get more from this offer than through the general welcome deal. However, the condition attached is that the favourite horse achieves number one in the race. However, it is also noteworthy that this offer usually comes with limits, i.e. minimum (min) and maximum (max) amount that can be enjoyed. The maximum amount a customer can stake on such enhanced odds selection will usually be quite low. These types of offers are usually plentiful when the festival week comes around.

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🍀 Existing Customer Offers for the Cheltenham Festival 🍀

While the Cheltenham festival is a great time for most sportsbooks to attract new players to register to place racing bets on their site, it would be counter-productive if they also lost their existing players to other sites. As a result, most bookmakers also treat their existing members to some incredible incentives across the four days of the Cheltenham festival. Here are some of the most common offers that Irish bettors can look forward to when they place wagers on events during the Cheltenham festival.

Money-back Specials

The money-back special is essentially cashback offers, which refund players' bets as cash if their bet loses, but a predetermined outcome occurs during the race. This is usually when the favourite wins in horse racing, and your selected horse finishes second or loses by a head or a pretty narrow margin. Depending on the bookmaker, you can also get money-back specials if your selected horse finishes second, third, or fourth, or if your horse falls during the race.

You should note that some bookmakers’ money-back specials are more lucrative than others, so before you claim any money-back offer, be sure to check out the terms and conditions attached to any customer's offer to know what you should expect. Money-back specials are great offers that are well worth keeping an eye out for when you place bets on races in the Cheltenham Festival.

Cheltenham Non-Runner No Bet Specials

While they are not quite free bets, the Cheltenham Non-Runner No Bet specials are another part of the offers that many sportsbooks offer to their players before the festival starts. The Non-Runner No Bet Specials is a brilliant promotion that allows players to place ante-post bets without the usual risks attached. 

This is a great gesture that many sportsbooks offer their players during the Cheltenham festival. Essentially, the Non-Runner No Bet special acts as insurance for punters, which means that you will receive your bet stake back should your selected horses be non-runners in the races.

Tote Betting Specials

Another exciting thing that many sportsbooks usually offer punters during the Cheltenham festival is the opportunity to participate in tote betting. This type of offer and bet allows punters to select a series of winners across the day and put their stake into a prize pool with other players that participate. Once the races conclude, the tote racing pools will be split between the punters who correctly predicted the winners.

ACCA Insurance & ACCA Boosts

Instead of placing singles (i.e. single bets) on a bet slip, most punters like to pull together picks from different events into multiples, also referred to as parlays or accumulators. While this type usually returns a pretty massive return to players than single bets, the risk is higher as the bet would only return winnings if all the selected picks win. 

The ACCA Insurance and ACCA Boost are promotions that give punters an edge when placing wagers using an accumulator bet. The ACCA Insurance will return punters' lost stake as cash or free bet if a qualifying Acca fails by one leg, giving them a safety net. On the other hand, the ACCA Boost will pay a win percentage for successfully landing an accumulator bet. The more legs are in a winning accumulator bet, the bigger the bonus payout.

Faller Insurance

The simple fact about any sport, including horse racing, is that you never know what will happen during the event. The horse a punter backs could fall during the race, and if this happens, they will naturally incur losses on their bet. This is why faller insurance is a popular offer among horse racing enthusiasts. What this offer does is to return your stake as a free bet should your choice fall during the race.

Best Odds Guaranteed

The Best Odds Guaranteed offer is another type of offer that is common during the Cheltenham festival. This customer offer gives punters a little cushion, knowing that they will get the best odds available on their selection. When a player places a bet covered by the Best Odds Guaranteed offer, the bookie will settle the bet at a higher price if the selection wins at a larger SP (starting price) than the odds price you took. Similarly, if your winning selection scores at a lower SP than your initial odds, then the bookmaker will pay at the bigger original odds.

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🍀 How to Choose the Right Bookmaker 🍀

When you go online to place bets on football, tennis, or any sport available for betting today, you will discover hundreds of bookmakers offering betting services to punters. The same goes for horseracing and the Cheltenham festival. As a result, it can be difficult for punters, especially newbies, to find the best option for them to use to place bets during the Cheltenham festival. However, to find the best and right bookmaker to use, there are some essential things you need to consider. Highlighted below are some of those factors you should look out for:

Find a reputable and trustworthy platform: In order to enjoy the best possible experience during the Cheltenham Festival, you need a trustworthy gaming site with a solid reputation. After all, there is no point in placing bets on the festival events if you will not be able to withdraw your winnings due to playing at a dishonest and disreputable site. Some sites are known to sometimes renege on bet settlement with unwarranted excuses.

Find the top sites that cover the Cheltenham Festival Races: While horse racing is one of the most popular sports that you will find on most online sites, not all sportsbook brands offer the sport. As such, before you make any decision, you must ensure that the site you are considering offers wagering on horse races. It must also cover the Cheltenham festival events.

Find the best bookmaker offers for the Cheltenham festivals: Since you are looking to place wagers on the Cheltenham Festival, you might as well do so on a site that offers incredible incentives to new customers. So, find a site that offers generous offers for the Cheltenham festival.

 Find the platforms that offer the best odds: Odds determine the value of the potential winnings punters will make in the Cheltenham festival races. As a result, you need to consider the odds offered by each site to find the ones that offer the best odd prices or, at the very least, competitive ones.

Find a site that offers different bet types: As you will find with most sports betting, horse race betting comes with many different bet types that players can place. Naturally, the more bet types you can place during a horse race, the better options you can enjoy. So, find a site that offers a variety of betting options.

Look out for Available Features: Features like live streaming, bet builder, cashout options, and others add more excitement to the betting experience of punters. So, when you are looking for the best site to place bets on, you should look out for sites that offer as many features as possible.

🍀 Tips for Horse Race Betting during the Cheltenham Festival 🍀

Nobody can be 100% sure when betting on horse races, as you can never really tell what the outcome will be until the race is over.

Betting on horse races during the Cheltenham festival is no exception. However, there are certain things punters can do to increase their chances of picking a winner.

Thankfully, our team of betting experts at Irishluck have some knowledge in this area and can provide quality tips. So, here are some of the things you should watch out for before you go ahead to place your wagers on the races in the Cheltenham festival:

  • Track Record

    Something that you must never overlook when placing wagers on horse races is the horses’ track record. Looking up information like the performance record and winning record of a horse will help you predict the horse’s potential performance in the next race, which will naturally help you make accurate decisions.

  • Present Form

    It goes without saying that the horses in optimal health will have a good chance of winning a horse race event. So, before you make your selection, ensure that you check out the present form of the horses in the race.

  • Jockey

    Another detail on the list of things that punters must not overlook is the jockey riding the horses. This is because both the horses and jockeys riding the horse will determine the race's outcome. So, you should make sure that the jockey riding the horse you pick is an experienced jockey with a high level of skill.

  • Trainer

    The trainer of a horse can also make all the difference in the outcome of a horse race. So, make sure that you watch out for the trainers and owners too when making selections for your bet-slip.

Cheltenham Festival FAQs

The Cheltenham Festival is usually hosted over four consecutive days.

The Cheltenham festival is home to 28 world-class races, with seven races held on each of the festival’s four days.

You will find Cheltenham bonuses in most sportsbooks the week before or the same week as the festivals.

There are usually plenty of different offers available to both new and existing users of sportsbooks during the Cheltenham festival. This includes bonuses such as the likes of Cheltenham free bets, risk-free bets, money back specials, non-runner no bet, totepool specials etc.

Best Odds Guaranteed offer is pretty self-explanatory, and it simply means that a bookie is guaranteeing the best odds for the horse selected by punters. Regardless of which odds price the horse starts or finishes, you will be paid using the larger of the two odds.

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Siobhan AslettSiobhan Aslett

Irish Sportsbook Specialist

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