Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide 2018

The Cheltenham Festival is the ‘Holy Grail’ of National Hunt racing. It may not get underway until March 13th 2018 but, as usual, the excitement relentlessly builds for weeks and months beforehand.

Best Cheltenham Betting Sites & Apps 2018

As leading contenders lay their credentials on the line in key Cheltenham trial races beforehand, Cheltenham Festival betting turnover, particularly ante-post wagers on the Championship races, builds and builds. Little wonder betting odds for Cheltenham week appear the moment the horses cross the line the previous year!

Come race week itself Cheltenham racecourse, will play host to 250,000 racegoers over the four day festival. Over 70,000 people are expected to attend the showpiece Cheltenham Gold Cup day and both on and off course Cheltenham Festival betting turnover will be stratospheric.

cheltenham gold cup winner

Jockey Robbie Power on Sizing John celebrates after winning the Gold Cup race on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival horse racing meeting at Cheltenham Racecourse in Gloucestershire, south-west England, on March 17, 2017.

Coinciding with this Cheltenham Festival betting orgy, bookmakers will be doing all they can to entice new business touting free bets on the Cheltenham Festival.

Amongst all the Cheltenham Festival betting guides, you can check back here anytime from now until March to find out the latest news, tips and betting information for the biggest week of the year.

Cheltenham Festival Races 2018

Here’s our run-down of the Cheltenham Festival dates…

Champion Hurdle Day – Tuesday 13th March

One of the key races of the Cheltenham Festival schedule is the Champion Hurdle and it is the headline event on Day 1 of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.

Those that bet on Cheltenham’s races every year will know this race is second in betting turnover only to the Gold Cup (Cheltenham Gold Cup Day is always on a Friday) and it features an illustrious list of previous winners including 2004/5 winner Hardy Eustace, three time winners Istabraq and See You Then and those brilliant dual-winners from the 1970’s Sea Pigeon, Monksfield and Night Nurse.

There has not been a back-to-back winner of the Champion Hurdle for 11 years though so defending champion Buveur D’Air may have her work cut out in 2018, especially with the return of 2015 winner Faugheen. And those looking for a Cheltenham Festival betting pointer should take note that five of the last six Champion Hurdles have gone to Irish-trained runners.

One of the most popular Cheltenham Festival dates, the days racing kicks off with the Supreme Novice Hurdle and the Tuesday Cheltenham race schedule also features the Festival Handicap Chase, Arkle Challenge Trophy and David Nicholson Mares Hurdle.

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Ladies Day – Wednesday 14th March

Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival schedule, labelled ‘Ladies Day’, features the Queen Mother Champion Chase, another of those level-weights Championship races where Cheltenham races betting goes wild.

Master Minded was an imperious dual winner of this contest in 2008/2009 as was Sprinter Sacre in 2013. The Nicky Henderson-trained chaser returned from injury to re-claim the Champion Chase title in 2016. Unlike the Champion Hurdle, the Queen Mother Champion Chase has not been an Irish free-for-all with just three of the past ten winners coming from the Emerald Isle.

In 2018, the Queen Mother Champion Chase will be all about the brilliant ALTIOR, who was a sublime novice and will take all the beating this year.

The Wednesday card at Cheltenham racecourse also features the Ballymore Properties Novice Hurdle (the opening race on the card), the Cross Country Chase (a race normally monopolised by Irish-trained runners), the massively competitive Fred Winter Hurdle and the curtain faller is the Champion Bumper.

Despite the limited form on offer in the Bumper this National Hunt flat race is one of the biggest Cheltenham Festival betting races.  There are always plenty of whispers, at least three ante-post gambles and often a winner that goes on to greatness. Cue Card being the most recent example.

St Patrick’s Thursday – 15th March

Cheltenham Thursday just happens to be St Patrick’s Day and features the Ladbrokes Stayers’ Hurdle, a three-mile level-weights championship contest won in 2017 by Nichols Canyon, who will be gunning to defend his crown against the likes of Unowhatimeanharry and the up and coming Supasundae.

Multiple winner Big Bucks gave this race some real credibility. The contest had steadily grown as the last century ended and by 2003, when Baracouda won it for the second time, the World Hurdle was starting to be taken seriously as a championship race.

That reputation was enhanced further by Inglis Drever who claimed the title three times (2005, 2007 & 2008) but the World Hurdle truly claimed its place amongst the highest echelon of National Hunt races when Big Bucks deservedly earned the title of ‘the greatest staying hurdler in history’ in taking the race for a four consecutive years.

The 2012 World Hurdle victory of Big Bucks was his 16th consecutive race win (sadly he was injured after his 18th successive win) and at odds of 5/6 he went off his joint highest price of those 16 race starts.

Supporting the staying hurdle elite cast is the Ryanair Chase – won last year by the brilliant Un De Sceaux – the JLT Novice Chase, the Kim Muir Challenge Cup, the Festival Plate (all for chasers) and two hurdle races: the Mares Hurdle and the Pertemps Final Hurdle.

Cheltenham Gold Cup Day – Friday 16th March

The curtains will come down on another memorable week on Friday, simply known as ‘Cheltenham Gold Cup Day’. The action will kick-off with the Triumph Hurdle – a race jockey Barry Geraghty has won four times in the past nine years – and is followed by two more hurdle races: the County Handicap Hurdle and the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle.

All of this before the biggest Cheltenham Festival betting race of them all, the Gold Cup.  It’s not only punters that want to win on the Gold Cup; there is no owner in the sport of National Hunt racing that does not want to claim this hugely important prize.

But it is no easy task, despite some of the greatest chasers in history winning this race recently – Kauto Star and Denman come to mind – no horse has won the Gold Cup in back-to-back years since 2002, 2003 and 2004 winner Best Mate.

If you have any money left at the conclusion of the Gold Cup you will then be faced with three big Cheltenham Festival betting conundrums:  The Foxhunters’ Steeple Chase, the Conditional Jockey’s Hurdle and the Grand Annual Chase. Good luck finding the winner’s in these, they are normally a minefield for punters so tread carefully!

Best Cheltenham Apps

If you want to know more about the Cheltenham Festival 2018, be it Cheltenham tips, offers of Cheltenham free bets, we suggest you have a scout through the android apps available as some excellent apps for betting have surfaced in recent years giving punters even more chance to win on this four date Cheltenham betting extravaganza.

Don’t forget new-age Cheltenham betting apps (and micro-sites from exciting bookmakers) do a lot more than simply accept bets and provide jockey’s colours. They are generally jam-packed with stats and facilitate live streaming of all the Cheltenham Festival racing action.

Cheltenham Betting Offers

As the Cheltenham Festival draws closer more and more bookmakers will be issuing many Cheltenham betting offers, Cheltenham free bets and concessions.

Unquestionably one or two firms will be handing out Cheltenham free bets on the opening race of the Festival on each of the four days. On race day look out for offers from Betfair and bet365 whose Cheltenham betting offers normally include a Cheltenham free bet every time you back a winner priced 3/1+ or 4/1+.

In the weeks leading up to the Cheltenham Festival 2018, make sure to look out for “Non-Runner No Bet” concessions trickling in from bookmakers, meaning you can place your bets in advance safe in the knowledge your stakes are safe if any of your selections don’t win!

Cheltenham Betting Sites

Cheltenham Betting Tips

Here are four long-range antepost Cheltenham tips, one for each race day…

Cheltenham Day 1 Tips

Last year’s Champion Bumper runner-up DEBUCHET is a hugely exciting grey horse and will be popular in the Supreme Novice Hurdle market. Keep an eye out for dark French import Annamix too, who is topping the early lists for the opener for messrs Mullins and Ricci.

FOOTPAD was extremely impressive at Navan and looks every inch an Arkle horse, while the returning FAUGHEEN is tipped to return to his best this season and prove the horse to beat in the Day 1 highlight race, the Champion Hurdle.

Cheltenham Day 2 Tips

Gordon Elliott’s very exciting SAMCRO is all the rage for Wednesday’s Ballymore Properties Novice Hurdle and if he continues to impress, will be a very short price on the day.

In the Queen Mother Champion Chase, ALTIOR will be very difficult to beat given a tremendous campaign as a Novice for Nicky Henderson. The Willie Mullins trained Min and defending champ Special Tiara can prove his chief dangers.

In RSA Chase – Penhill, Death Duty and Willoughby Court all look to have very interesting long range chances, with preference just got the first mentioned Willie Mullins trained runner, who was so good here in the Albert Bartlett at the 2017 Cheltenham Festival.

Cheltenham Day 3 Tips

The Grade 1 Ryanair Chase is one of two highlights on St Patrick’s Thursday and 2017 winner Un De Sceaux will be hard to keep out of the picture once again. This year, he could have the company of FOX NORTON, who is very talented and should stay this trip no problem, while the likes of Djakadam, Cue Card and Yorkhill could also run.

In the Stayers’ Hurdle, Nichols Canyon will be the horse to beat once again, but he could be vulnerable to an improving horse. It is too early to pick out of the likes of Supasundae, Penhill and other young stayers, but it will be fascinating to see how they progress through the winter months.

Cheltenham Day 4 Tips

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the Blue Riband event of the season and defending champion Sizing John is the horse they all have to aim at after his emphatic success in March.

Nicky Henderson’s Might Bite is very exciting as we know, but he is a bit of a head case. The forgotten horse could well be THISTLECRACK, who missed the Gold Cup in March but was so impressive in the King George and he could be the one to take the division by the horns this season. He is a top price of 6/1 with Betfair for top honours.


How to bet on Cheltenham

Betting on the Cheltenham Festival in this modern era is an exciting, innovative but ultimately simple, fast and secure experience.

Some of the very best bookmaker apps include big names like Paddy Power and bet365, who have led the way in making mobile betting as good as it can be. Whether you’re on course, in shop or betting on your phone, the best prices, markets and offers will always be just a few clicks away.

Last years’ Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air won the Day 1 big race at a starting price of 5/1, which meant if you put £10 on to win, you’d have won a cool £60 back.

Make sure to include the time of the race and the meeting, along with stake and horse name on your betting slips in shops. But if you’re playing via a mobile betting app, navigate your way to the Horse Racing section, where you will find all the Cheltenham Festival racecards and latest odds readily available.

Cheltenham Betting Sites

Here are some of the best options for Cheltenham Betting Sites:


One of the biggest online bookmakers and for Cheltenham Festival fans, their ITV Racing offer is one of the best around. If you back a winner at 4/1+ on any Cheltenham Festival race, bet365 will give you a free bet to the same stake on the next televised race!

bet365 have in-play betting for all Cheltenham races, including a ‘Cash Out’ service on singles and multiple bets. bet365 is without doubt one of the best sites to use during the Festival. (Click here to view Bet365 Cheltenham Offer)

William Hill

“William Hill High 5” is a fantastic offer which means if any horse you back during the Cheltenham Festival wins by 5 lengths or more, they will top up your winnings by a very cool 15% Bonus.

William Hill is also very well renowned for its headline offer for day one of the Festival, usually they give something like “Five each way places in the Supreme Novice Hurdle”, which givers punters a Golden chance to get some early cash in the betting bank by nailing some of that each way bonus money!

Paddy Power

Paddy Power will usually give “Money back if 2nd to SP favourite” on all or selected races at the Cheltenham Festival, but also look out for concessions such as “Faller Insurance”, which can play a big part across the 28 race 4-day Festival.


Coral is well known for its simple approach to offers, with industry leading ‘Price Boosts’ on the big days, you’re sure to enjoy Cheltenham if you bet at Coral bookmakers.

Look out for enhanced odds on some big name horses and of course, Coral also have things like ‘Best Odds Guaranteed’ and closer to the time, they will have a range of Enhanced Odds accas and Special Markets for you to browse for a Cheltenham golden nugget.


If you’re a new customer at Ladbrokes, Cheltenham is a great time to claim your £50 free bet from the popular high street giant.

Before the Cheltenham Festival, Ladbrokes will announce “Non Runner No Bet” on their ante-post markets, so make sure to look out for that, the easiest way being by following them on Twitter!

Ladbrokes offer great odds and a variety of Specials, Match Bets, Winning Distance markets and lots more, including Top Festival Jockey & Trainer markets to boot.


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