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Thursday 19 April 2018

€1bn races will be 'biggest betting week in history'

Willie Mullins’s horses on the gallops at Cheltenham Racecourse on a preview day ahead of the festival meeting. Photo: PA
Willie Mullins’s horses on the gallops at Cheltenham Racecourse on a preview day ahead of the festival meeting. Photo: PA

Ryan Nugent

It's the €1bn races - with punters set to splash out in the hope of winning big as the Cheltenham Festival begins tomorrow.

Bookmaker Paddy Power is anticipating an incredible €1.13bn to be wagered across the industry over the course of the four-day festival, making it the biggest betting week in sporting history.

The Irish bookie says that just under half of this will be spent in Ireland alone - with around €452m set to be bet.

The massive figures will see punters making some 300,000 bets for every hour of the festival.

Paddy Power says the average amount spent on an individual bet is €13.50.

Over at the festival, Ladbrokes is making it odds-on that the number of pints of Guinness drank last year will be eclipsed.

Some 265,000 were purchased in 2017 and it's 4/6 for it to be more this time around.

In Dublin, the Licensed Vintners Association of Ireland says we're in for one of the biggest weeks of the pub trade of the year, as Cheltenham, St Patrick's Day and Ireland v England in the Six Nations all come in the space of a few days.

"It's a very significant week. It'll be right up there with Christmas week," chief executive Donall O'Keeffe said. "It's a much more urban thing. In Dublin certainly there's a lot of people watching the racing in the pub, checking the form, having a bit of lunch, celebrating their winnings or drowning their sorrows depending on how it goes."

But the rivalry between the Irish and English is going to kick-in long before the Grand Slam game kicks-off in Twickenham on Saturday.

Last year, the Irish claimed the Prestbury Cup, with 19 Irish-trained horses galloping to victory over the course of the 28 races.

We're favourites again this time around at 4/7, with champion jockey Ruby Walsh optimistic for another year of success.

Irish Independent

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