How to fully enjoy a flutter - and avoid financial ruin
As well as the great quality of the racing at the Cheltenham Festival, the sheer volume can be rather daunting. Here's a few tips to hopefully stop you from remortgaging the house.
1. Make the most of bookmakers' special offers
Play the field. Money-back offers, faller insurance, as well as significantly enhanced place terms and prices are just some ways bookies try to attract new customers. So sign up to a few new accounts to really make the most of their promotions.
2. Each way is the way forward
Give yourself a chance. The racing is so competitive and the fields are so big, being able to fall back on your horse placing is a must. Just make sure you get the best place terms on offer. Again, bookies will be competing for your business, so look for ª the odds and the most amount of places.
3. Course form is key
Don't underestimate experience. Former winners at the course during the season, but especially during previous festivals, are good to follow, with returning winners a frequent occurrence.
4. That means trainers too
Pay attention to the handler. Willie Mullins has enjoyed great success on the first day of the festival over the last few years, including three of the last four winners of the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle and all but one of those first home in the OLBG Mares' Hurdle since its inception in 2008. His horses are always going to be short prices, if not favourite, for those races. But take Paul Nicholls' record in the juvenile handicap hurdle: winner of the last two editions and trained the first two home last year.
5. Who's on a hot streak?
Confidence breeds confidence. Those with impressive strike rates recently include Mouse Morris, whose best chance is Alpha Des Obeaux in the RSA Chase, and Venetia Williams, who has enjoyed a successful spell that may well continue.
6. Spread your bets
It's a long week. So firstly, there's no need to bet in every race. There are 28 races to enjoy, which also means it's not worth panicking if the first day goes poorly. A festival can swing from financially ruinous to joyous in a few hours, so no shame in biding your time and riding out the losses.