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When is 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. This year, the Cheltenham Festival will occur from the 14th until the 17th of March. 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.
How Popular is Betting on Cheltenham in Ireland?
Horse Racing was commonplace in Cheltenham even before the Festival started, 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, 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, calling the activity evil. This caused racing to change location, and between that and the economic downturn, racing had all but stopped in the mid-1840s.
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 and started hosting 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. This popularity continued well into 1902, hosting the National Hunt Festival in mid-April and the National Hunt Chase two years later. The National Hunt Chase moved 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.
This has led to the Cheltenham Festival becoming a highly anticipated and popular event, attracting many Irish jockeys, trainers, and horses to participate in these races. Millions are wagered at the festival each year due to this attraction, and the popularity is further displayed by the multiple promotions and special bonuses bookmakers offer Irish players during the Cheltenham Festival.
Biggest Cheltenham Races to Bet on
For punters looking at getting in on the action at Cheltenham, there are a few races that they should turn their attention to. Below we've pinpointed the top contenders, specifically the biggest Cheltenham races to bet on to make the most of your bets:
- Day One: The Champion Hurdle
- Day Two: The Queen Mother Champion Chase
- Day Three: The Ryanair Steeple Chase
- Day Three: The Stayer's Hurdle
- Day Four: The Cheltenham Gold Cup
Cheltenham Festival Full Schedule
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 each race day. Join us as we deep dive into the Cheltenham Festival schedule for this year's competition.
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:
|Start||Race & Grade||Distance||Type||Description|
The Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle Race - Grade 1
2m abt ½f
8 hurdle jumps, open to horses aged 4 +
The Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase - Grade 1
13 fence jumps, open to horses aged 5 +
The Ultima Handicap Steeple Chase - Grade 3
3m abt 1f
Handicap races open to horses aged 5 +, with 20 fences jumped.
The Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy - Grade 1
2m abt ½f
Prestigious featured hurdle race started in 1927, 8 flights to be jumped.
The Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle Race - Grade 1
2m abt 4f
Established in 2008, open to mares aged 4 +, with 10 hurdles jumped.
The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Race - Grade 3
2m abt 4½f
Restricted to 4-year-old juvenile hurdlers with 8 hurdles to be jumped.
The National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup (Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Steeple Chase) - Grade 2
3m abt 6f
Amateur riders race, horses aged 5 years +, with 23 fence jumps.
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:
|Start||Race & Grade||Distance||Type||Description|
The Ballymore Novices' Hurdle Race - Grade 1
2m abt 5f
The premier race during the Jump racing season for novice hurdlers, open to horses aged 4 + with 10 hurdle jumps
The Brown Advisory Novices’ Steeple Chase - Grade 1
3m abt ½ f
Open to horses aged 5+, with 20 fences to be jumped.
The Coral Cup Hurdle (A Handicap Hurdle Race) - Premier Handicap
2m abt 5f
Introduced in 1993, open to 4 years + horses with 10 hurdle jumps.
The Betway Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase - Grade 1
A featured championship race for 2-mile chasers, focuses purely on speed.
The Glenfarclas Cross Country Steeple Chase - Ungraded
A country course race open to horses aged 5 years + with 32 obstacles to jump.
The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Steeple Chase Challenge Cup - Premier Handicap
The oldest race dating back to 1864, open to horses aged 5 years + with 14 fence jumps.
The Weatherbys Champion Bumper - Grade 1
2m abt ½f
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.
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:
|Start||Race & Grade||Distance||Type||Description|
The Turners Novices’ Chase - Grade 1
2m abt 4f
Introduced to the festival in 2011, the Marsh Novices' Chase is open to horses aged 5 years + with 17 fences jumped.
The Pertemps Network Final (A Handicap Hurdle Race) (Listed)
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.
The Ryanair Steeple Chase - Grade 1
2m abt 5f
A feature race open to 5-year-olds +, run over a distance of 2 miles/ 4½ furlongs.
The Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle - Grade 1
Introduced in 1972, the Stayers’ Hurdle is a stamina test for hurdlers.
The Magners Plate (A Handicap Steeple Chase) - Premier Handicap
2m abt 4 ½ f
The Magners Plate is open to horses aged 5 + with 17 fences jumped.
The Jack de Bromhead Mares Novices’ Hurdle - Grade 2
One of the latest races at the festival open for novice hurdlers. Fillies and mares aged 4+ can participate, with 8 hurdle jumps
Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup (sponsored by the JRL Group) (0-145)
3m abt 2f
It is a handicap Chase race restricted to amateur jockeys and is open to horses aged 5+ with 21 fences to be jumped.
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:
|Start||Race & Grade||Distance||Type||Description|
The JCB Triumph Hurdle - Grade 1
2m abt 1f
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.
The McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle Race - Grade 3
2m abt 1f
It is a Grade 3 highly competitive handicap hurdle run open to horses aged 5 + and run on a course with 8 hurdles.
The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle Race - Grade 1
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.
The Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase - Grade 1
3m abt 2½ f
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.
The St. James’s Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Steeple Chase - Grade 1
3m abt 2½ f
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.
The Mrs Paddy Power Mares' Steeple Chase - Grade 2
2m abt ½f
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.
Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (0-145)
2m abt 4½ f
Introduced in 2009, it is the final race of the Cheltenham Festival. For conditional jockeys and horses aged 4 + and has 9 hurdles.
How to Bet on Cheltenham
Discover how to place bets on the races at the Cheltenham festival as we go through each step of the punting process with our step-by-step guide.
- Select a bookmaker with a credible reputation, ensuring the platform is properly licensed.
- Join the casino by creating an account. Usually, you'll be asked to provide generic personal information and link a payment method option.
- Choose your preferred bet type. With the help of some research or our below guide on the types of bets available, you can determine which bet suits you best.
- Decide on the horse you would like to place your stakes on. Take into consideration: past performances, the jockey, ground conditions, and race distance.
- Once you decide on the bet type and preferred horse, you can place a bet by entering the amount to bet and confirming.
- Sit back and watch the race to track your horse's performance. Any winnings will be awarded based on the odds of the bet placed.
- You can cash out winnings from the bookmaker account if you win the bet.
Best Betting Offers Available for Cheltenham
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
How to Claim Cheltenham Betting Offers?
As a highly anticipated event for horse racing fans, punters will find many exciting betting offers from bookmakers being promoted during the festival. To claim these Cheltenham betting offers, you can follow these short steps:
- Select your preferred bookmaker to place bets while watching out for different deals.
- Ensure you've created an account if you're new to the platform or log into your account if you're an existing member.
- In most cases, a deposit will be required to claim offers, so you should check the terms & conditions for any minimum deposit requirements.
- You can start placing bets once your deposit has been processed. Once again, confirm with the terms & conditions if you qualify for the bonus first.
- The bonus should automatically be credited to your account if you've fulfilled the T&C criteria. Contact customer support for further assistance if you still haven't received it.
- That's it! Depending on the bonus type, you can now use your bonus to place further bets or withdraw.
Ensure that you've carefully gone through the the terms & conditions of the offer to get the most out of your bets. Remember to play within your means, so bet responsibly and stake only what you can afford to lose.
How to Choose a Cheltenham Betting Site
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.
Most Popular Bets to Place at Cheltenham
Being one of the most popular horse racing festivals, Cheltenham attracts both novice gamblers and seasoned bettors. Some bets at Cheltenham tend to be more popular than others.
- Win: This bet is the most straightforward; punters bet on the horse they would like to win.
- Each Way: A mixture of the win and place bet, punters win if their horse places first or in a few of the top spots.
- Placepot betting: Punters stake bets on which horse will place in each of the first six races of the day.
- Lucky 15: Four horses and 15 various bets are combined to form this popular bet type.
It's important to understand that each bet has its own risk and potential reward associated, so doing extra research and betting responsibly ensures a fun, safe experience.
Irish Horses to Bet on at Cheltenham
- Al Boum Photo - A favourite among many punters, Al Boum Photo has won the Cheltenham Gold Cup twice in a row.
- Envoi Allen - With a track record of 11 unbeaten races, this horse poses a threat in the Marsh Novices' Chase.
- Monkfish - This year, Monkfish will compete in the Brown Advisory Novices' Chase following last year's win at Albert Barlett Novices' Hurdle.
- Honeysuckle - The unbeaten reigning titleholder of the Champion Hurdle, we think this mare has a good chance at defending her title.
- Chacun Pour Soi - Widely praised, this talented horse should be competing in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
How Lucky are the Irish at Cheltenham?
The Irish have had multiple successes at Cheltenham, constantly increasing their presence at the Cheltenham Festival. In fact, for the 2022 edition, a whopping 18 out of 28 winners were trained in Ireland and 15 horses were bred in Ireland. History has shown that the Irish can produce top-notch horses and trainers for global horse racing events. It's safe to say that the Irish dominate at Cheltenham, claiming several race wins and multiple honours. While luck might have something to do with these wins, the Irish are tough contenders having proved themselves a force to be reckoned with thanks to their track record at Cheltenham.
Which Bookies Offer Streaming for Cheltenham?
Most of the top operators will offer their own streaming service, however, we've listed a few for punters to get started. Check out the terms & conditions associated with the live streaming services.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
Where can I bet on Cheltenham?
At the top of this page, you can find recommendations for the best sportsbooks for Cheltenham betting. Our favourite at the moment is William Hill.
What horses to bet on at Cheltenham?
Our favourite Irish horses to bet on at Cheltenham are Al Boum Photo, Envoi Allen, Monkfish, Honeysuckle, and Chacun Pour Soi. These are only our opinions so make sure you also do your own research beforehand.
How does Cheltenham betting work?
Cheltenham betting works in the same way as horse racing betting. The main goal is to predict which horse will win or at which position, and then punters will place bets on these expected outcomes. We also go over the most popular types of bets in this article, so make sure you have a look at these too.
What kind of Cheltenham Offers will be available?
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.
When can I find Cheltenham free bet token offers?
You will find Cheltenham bonuses in most sportsbooks the week before or the same week as the festivals.
How many races are held at the Cheltenham Festival?
The Cheltenham festival is home to 28 world-class races, with seven races held on each of the festival’s four days.
How long is the Cheltenham Festival?
The Cheltenham Festival is usually hosted over four consecutive days.
What is the "Best Odds Guaranteed" (BOG) offer?
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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