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How To Bet On The Cheltenham Festival 2023 – The Ultimate Guide

Dean Ryan for Bookies.com

Dean Ryan  | 22 mins

How To Bet On The Cheltenham Festival 2023 – The Ultimate Guide

$1,000 First Bet on Caesars

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Must be 21+ to participate. T&Cs apply.

The focus on the Cheltenham Festival has never been more intense than it is currently among horse racing fans.

A horse merely has to win a race during the early part of the season, or sometimes even the summer jumping months out of season, to be given a fanciful quote by the leading horse racing bookmakers for a race several months away at the Cheltenham Festival. Simply recognised as the Olympics of the National Hunt racing game, one week in March each year has become a constant focus for all involved with jump racing on UK betting sites, Ireland and even France.

Whether you see this as a good or bad thing for the rest of the horse racing betting calendar, or whether you pay enough attention to it at all outside of Festival week itself is immaterial; it’s fascinating and clearly here to stay, so lets embrace it and get stuck in with the ultimate guide to betting on the 2023 Cheltenham Festival.

People start talking about next year’s Cheltenham Festival before the completion of this year’s Cheltenham Festival, and, as odd at it sounds, it’s like watching a Premier League team win a small game in the FA Cup and then fancying them to win a Champions League final the following season. The hopes and dreams of finding a Cheltenham winner are not just harboured by the owners and trainers of a horse, they are often even more entrenched in the punters and bettors of the sport they love and hold dear. The sign of promise, the glimpse of potential with jumps horses as they embark on their careers is all about future endeavours. By that, it’s clear we mean can the horse win at this season’s Cheltenham Festival, and more importantly in which race?

When Is The Cheltenham Festival 2023?

This year’s Cheltenham Festival will take place at Prestbury Park, in the magical hills of Gloucestershire, south west England. The second Tuesday of March each year signals the start of the highly anticipated meeting that lasts four days and welcomes more than 400 horses during the week for 28 hard-fought races and attracts crowds of up to 70,000 people a day at the famous venue to decide champions and create legends.

The Cheltenham Festival 2023 starts on Tuesday 14th March and will conclude with Gold Cup Day on the Friday 17th March 2023. Let’s take a snapshot look at what’s in store this year with when, how and what to bet on during the Cheltenham Festival 2023.

Who Will Run on Day 1 at This Year’s Cheltenham Festival?

Constitution Hill will surely light up this years opening day of the Cheltenham Festival as a rock solid short price favourite for the Unibet Champion Hurdle. Last year's Supreme Novice Hurdle winner is undoubtadly the new star in UK and Irish Horse Racing and will not make backers rich at likely odds of 1/4 to collect the feature on Tuesday 14th March 2023.

The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle will get racing under way to the famous roar of the crowd, and with the likes of Facile Vega, Marine Nationale and Tahmuras potentially in the lineup, expect betting markets to be red hot as bettors work out the value of previous novice form in Ireland and England. Respective flag-bearers Jonbon and El Fabiolo look set to face off in the Arkle, there will surely be huge gambles in the Handicaps to keep an eye on and with the Mares’ hurdle usually an Irish banker and likely featuring Cheltenham heroine Honeysuckle, the first day will be done and dusted.

Day One Cheltenham Festival Tuesday 14th March 2023 Schedule:

Champions Day, featuring the Grade 1 Unibet Champion Hurdle.

13:30 UK Time Supreme Novices' Hurdle
14:10 UK Time Arkle Challenge Trophy
14:50 UK Time Ultima Handicap Chase
15:30 UK Time Champion Hurdle
16:10 UK Time Mares' Hurdle
16:50 UK Time Boodles Juvenile Hurdle
17:30 UK Time National Hunt Novices' Chase

Who Will Run on Day 2 at This Year’s Cheltenham Festival?

All eyes on day two at the Cheltenham Festival will be on Energumene, Edwardstone and Editeur Du Gite in the feature race of the day, the Champion Chase, which is raced over a blistering two miles and tricky fences where speed and then stamina for the famous Cheltenham hill win the day.

Ladies Day at the Festival is always a standout, with Delta Work strongly fancied in the the unique setting of a Cross Country Chase, while Gold Cup horses of the future will battle it out in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, and this year Gerri Colombe and The Real Whacker certainly fit the bill. Handicaps and the matter of the only flat race at the Festival, the Champion Bumper, round off the day in style.

Day Two Cheltenham Festival Wednesday 15th March 2023 Schedule:

Ladies Day, featuring the Grade 1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.

13:30 UK Time Ballymore Novices' Hurdle
14:10 UK Time Brown Advisory Novices' Chase
14:50 UK Time Coral Cup
15:30 UK Time Champion Chase
16:10 UK Time Cross Country Chase
16:50 UK Time Grand Annual Handicap Chase
17:30 UK Time Champion Bumper

Who Will Run on Day 3 at This Year’s Cheltenham Festival?

Perhaps the most exciting horse of the week, Shiskin, will capture the headlines on day three at this season’s Cheltenham Festival. The Nicky Henderson chasing star will bid to win a third Festival race as the favourite for the Ryanair Chase with Irish Betting Sites where he could face the Willie Mullins star Blue Lord in an almighty clash. For St Patrick’s Thursday and the themes of the day will be green, Guinness and Ireland will be hoping for plenty of luck on the day.

The Stayers Hurdle will feature the likes of Blazing Khal, two time winner Flooring Porter and new star Teahupoo. With the novice mares on display and the handicappers out in force in the gruelling test of a Kim Muir Chase and the Pertemps Final, a little bit of everything is guaranteed for those at the track and those watching from afar.

Day Three Cheltenham Festival Thursday 16th March 2023 Schedule:

St Patrick's Thursday, featuring the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase.

13:30 UK Time Turners Novices' Chase
14:10 UK Time Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle
14:50 UK Time Ryanair Chase
15:30 UK Time Stayers Hurdle
16:10 UK Time Paddy Power Plate
16:50 UK Time Mares Novices' Hurdle
17:30 UK Time Kim Muir Challenge Cup

Who Will Run on Day 4 at This Year’s Cheltenham Festival?

The feature day of the week is always Gold Cup Day at the Cheltenham Festival. Which horse can emulate previous champions like Denman, Kauto Star, Arkle, Best Mate and Desert Orchid? The roll of honour is a who’s who from the greatest steeple chasers of all time. This year, A Plus Tard will bid to retain his title as Gold Cup winner for Henry De Bromhead, while stable mate Minella Indo will try to reel him in this time after coming so close last season, the pair have shared first and second in the race for the past two years. Expect the challenge to be as deep as ever with Galopin Des Champs a new star for Willie Mullins, Protektorat, third last year for Dan and Harry Skelton, and Noble Yeats, a Grand National winner perhaps best of the rest for Emmet Mullins and team Ireland.

With the hunter chasers on show over the same Gold Cup track, trip and conditions, there is a sprinkling of magic on the day. The mares’ chase is recent addition, and pocket rocket Impervious will bid to go toe to toe with Allegorie De Vassy.

A hugely competitive renewal of the Triumph Hurdle where the highly anticipated clash of Lossiemouth and Blood Destiny is mouth-watering. The handicaps on show for Friday are as competitive as they come, with the Coral Cup and the conditional jockeys bringing the curtain down in the Martin Pipe as the sun sets on another Cheltenham Festival.

Day Four Cheltenham Festival Friday 17th March 2023 Schedule:

Gold Cup Day, featuring the Grade 1 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

13:30 UK Time Triumph Hurdle
14:10 UK Time County Hurdle
14:50 UK Time Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle
15:30 UK Time The Cheltenham Gold Cup
16:10 UK Time Festival Hunters' CHase
16:50 UK Time Mares' Chase
17:30 UK Time Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle

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Cheltenham Festival Free Bets

This meeting ranks as the true pinnacle of the jump racing calendar for the UK bookmakers and the Irish counterparts. Alongside Royal Ascot, the Punchestown Festival, Aintree and the Grand National, it’s the best time there is for horse racing betting fans to get a free bet by signing up to a new betting account with the leading bookmakers around. Here at Bookies.com, we will have them listed on our betting offers page, and you can be sure of enhanced prices, extra places for each-way bettors, price boosts, faller insurance and lucky 15 bonuses all week of the Festival itself. Having one online betting account is enough to bet across all 28 races as you wish during the Festival, but having access to several means you already start in front. With money back races each day, free bets and bonuses varying as sports betting and horse racing bookmakers compete for your business over the busiest four days of the racing industry and betting year, you can really take advantage.

Expect to see lots of exciting offers across the Cheltenham Festival with some of the most common as follows:

Money Back All Losers – There is one race a day where every losing bet is refunded, sometimes in cash but usually as a free bet up to a maximum stake for singles and win parts of each-way bets. Usually it’s the first race of the day, but with each operator competing for your business, it pays to shop around for risk free bets like these that increase your betting bank and options for four days at Cheltenham.

Extra Places - With large field handicaps and big fields the normal course of business at Cheltenham many leading sportsbook operators will offer extra places for each-way punters. This means you can finish outside of the traditional three places for races with more than eight runners or four places for races with 16 or more and still be paid as winner for your place part of each way bets. William Hill has been famous for this in recent years with seven places paid each way on the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, the first race on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival but expect to see several extra place races each and every day during the week with many different firms.

Money Back All Fallers or Faller Insurance - Horses fall at the Cheltenham Festival, and there is little worse than not getting a run for your money when in some cases you have been waiting for a particular race like the Gold Cup all year long. Money back fallers is a great concession during the Cheltenham Festival, which will see your stake returned as cash or a free bet should your horse fail to finish due to falling during the race. Stakes are usually limited so check the terms and conditions, but it means you won’t be left out of pocket if your selection can’t jump round the Cheltenham track.

Money Back Second to the SP Favourite - Finishing second at the Cheltenham Festival to a well-backed favourite can hurt when you’ve picked a horse at a good price but just come up short in the finish. Betting offers like money back if second to the starting price favourite are a great way to play bigger priced horses with the bookmakers in the knowledge that losing to the favourite but beating the rest will at least see your stake returned. Again the amount of the refund will be subject to sensible limits and will be either in cash or more likely free bets.

BTTC – Bet Through The Card – New customers to some of the leading horse racing betting sites will be delighted with a Bet Through The Card sign up offer for any day of the Cheltenham Festival where the registration of an account and a bet placed on the first race of the day at the Cheltenham Festival will result in being given a Free Bet of the same value often £10 or equivalent on each of the remaining six races that day. These are always sought after and expect them to be very popular this year and every Cheltenham Festival.

Money Back Seconds – Just like the money back second to the SP favourite explained above, this is a stronger Cheltenham concession again with any second-place selection receiving a refund of your stake up to a certain amount and either in cash or free bets so you can go again in the following race.

When to Bet on the Cheltenham Festival

If you are looking for the best value, the deepest and most competitive markets and odds for any race at the Cheltenham Festival, then the morning of each day and the actual week itself is clearly the time to get involved. New customer sign up offers across the online betting markets wherever you reside are competing heavily for your custom, and the usual sign up and welcome bonuses are enhanced, and made specific for the Cheltenham Festival to make sure you get the best reward for your initial spend. Many regular horse racing bettors and punters will have already placed bets on the races in advance, this is known as ante post betting or futures markets, but that comes with the risk that should your horse not show up for the race you have backed them for, your bet is lost and no refunds will apply.

The day of the race, in the moments before the race itself will give you clarity of the runners and riders, the most recent form, the weather and conditions and the market confidence in your selections or lack of. These are all crucial components in deciding the best bet for the race but also making sure you are betting in the most competitive markets for value and competition.

Popular Cheltenham Festival Betting Markets

Check out our horse racing betting page for all the information on the types of bets you can place on the sport and the differences between them like Lucky 15s, Patents, Trixies and more, which will help you with your choices come Cheltenham Festival week. However, with 28 races across four days, it is important to realise the length of the meeting, the action that is still to come and pace your week accordingly.

The most common market is the win market for each race, while alongside each race will be the option to bet without the favourite (removing one horse completely), betting on a horse just to place, betting on a horse just to win or betting a selection each way. Many betting sites will allow bets on horses not to win, not to place and lots more, so it really pays to find betting offers that suits your interests and needs best ahead of the Cheltenham Festival.

Best Cheltenham Festival Bets

Finding the best bets at the Cheltenham Festival is as complicated as you wish to make it. Hours can be spent studying form, watching replays of previous races, reading reams of stable tours, watching hours of Cheltenham Festival preview nights and generally trying to find an edge among all the noise as the horses finish their preparations and race entries are confirmed and jockeys are booked. With the state of the ground, known as the going, the final part of the puzzle to fall into place, the best bets of the Cheltenham Festival are probably only becoming clearer as the day itself or the actual race time approaches. That said there are some very simple points to keep in mind when picking your best bets of the Cheltenham Festival week.

  1. Will my horse like the conditions of the race?
  2. Has the horse previously performed well on the likely going they will face today. If the ground is described as soft for the Cheltenham Festival, has your selection previously won or placed under similar conditions? If so, this is a positive sign, and if not, this is an unknown and not what you want when finding the best bets of the day. Similar questions should be asked in terms of the trip they are racing over today; have they tackled the same trip before and how did they perform?

  3. Has my selection run well at Cheltenham before?
  4. Previous success or smart performances in defeat at the Cheltenham Festival are a fantastic guide to future performance at the same meeting each year. There are certain demands placed on a horse at this meeting that are different to usual race days. The size of the crowd, the peaking of fitness in the spring, the ability of a trainer to target the right races and the unique demands of the testing track are all factors, and if you find a horse that has excelled at Cheltenham before, they are more likely than most to do so again.

  • Am I getting the best odds?

Finding the best odds for your bet at the Cheltenham Festival is important. With so much competition for business, the prices of horses prior to race time will fluctuate a lot, so having access to several accounts online that cover the Cheltenham Festival and all the races with multiple offers and concessions is crucial to getting the best value and reward for your spend during Cheltenham week.

  • Should I follow a tipster during the Cheltenham Festival?

This is a good strategy if you haven’t the time or the patience to start wading through hours of study for each race in advance and want an expert opinion without all the hard work. There are many tipsters online, some better than others and all aiming to unearth the best Cheltenham Festival bets every year. We only use tried and test tipsters on Bookies.com and you can catch their thoughts and best bets of each day at this year’s Cheltenham Festival on best horse racing bets page here. There is never a guarantee of success, and you should only bet with funds you can afford to lose. Luck is a huge element in all forms of gambling, no matter how much time and effort you put in to predicting results.

Ante Post Cheltenham Festival Betting

Betting on the Cheltenham Festival before the week itself is known as ante post betting. Markets for each race are often live even before this year’s races have been run, and such is the demand and expectation ahead of Cheltenham, most online bookmakers are offering Cheltenham betting all year round. Ante Post betting comes with the risk that your selection may not run, but often comes with the reward that should they run, you have secured a better price for the risk you took in getting a bet placed a long time in advance.

Nowadays, online bookmakers offer Non Runner No Bet ante post markets from around the end of January until the Festival itself, which gives you early access to all the markets and prices but with the knowledge that you will receive your stake back if they don’t run or that a non-runner in a multiple bet will be classed as void rather than a loser. Be sure to check when placing ante post bets on the Cheltenham Festival that you are happy with the ante post rules or the NRNB options available.

Cheltenham Festival Placepot

Many small stake bettors and punters will enjoy the huge pools that the Tote Placepot builds too during Cheltenham Festival week. Picking a horse to place in each race is a fun way to get involved through the day with the first six races on each day being part of the placepot. You can choose one horse in each race or several in each creating a perm ticket almost akin to a lottery ticket. A placed horse in each race from your permed selections or your single placepot line can return huge dividends depending on how many people also manage to do the same. You don’t need to be a Tote customer or on the course on the day to place these bets – many of the leading horse racing bookmakers available from this site will allow you to enter the pools via their betting platforms and apps. Check out our horse racing betting page to find one that suits you.

Cheltenham Festival Jackpot

Just like the placepot, the Jackpot is a small stakes large wins style bet option for the Cheltenham Festival. However, it’s much harder to land as you will need to find the winners of the first six races within your jackpot perm or single line to win! That would be something special and often this bet rolls over if some outsiders have landed the races that day to create even bigger interest as the week goes on.

Where Can I Watch the Cheltenham Festival?

Sporting TV stations around the world will cover the biggest races at the Cheltenham Festival, and in England it’s a big part of ITV’s regular sporting coverage with leading former champion jockeys Sir AP McCoy, Ruby Walsh and Mick Fitzgerald among the pundits on duty. RacingTV will cover each and every race on its subscription channel offering. Leading bookmakers will also live stream each and every race like bet365, 888sport, Paddy Power and more so be sure to have them on side when you are out and about or at work and not able to relax for the day in front of the big screen. Restrictions on whether you can watch without placing a bet are sometimes in place, but the best sites just require you to be logged in and perhaps have a funded online account.

Exclusive bet365 Cheltenham Festival Promo Code

Use BMCOM50 for the best Bet365 bonus code this Cheltenham Festival to secure your place with one the best betting sites in the industry. Add the code BMCOM50 when registering to receive up to £50 (€, $ or other local currency) in free bets for this year’s Festival at Cheltenham and enjoy live streaming, multiple markets and tools such as each way extra, cash out and extra place races with price boosts.

Global Betting Options for the Cheltenham Festival

If you’re not sure if you can bet on the Cheltenham Festival where you live, then be sure to check out your location of residence on our international betting sites page where every betting jurisdiction is reviewed and explained to ensure you know what you can and can’t do when it comes to betting legally online.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the Cheltenham Festival?

Prestbury Park, Gloucestershire, is the home of the Cheltenham Festival. Thousands of bettors flock there each year for the biggest week of racing in the National Hunt season March. Millions more watch the action in Gloucestershire on TV or while keeping an eye on their wagers on betting streams.

What is the Cheltenham Festival?

The recognised Olympics and pinnacle of the UK and Irish jump racing calendar for horse racing betting fans and competitors. There are 28 races over four days with over 400 horses competing, making a racing extravaganza that you don’t want to miss.

When is the Cheltenham Festival 2023?

This season’s Cheltenham Festival will take place over four days of racing, 28 races in total between Tuesday 14th March and Friday 17th March 2023. The days are split into the Champions Day, Ladies Day, St Patrick’s Thursday and Gold Cup Day.

Is Cheltenham going to change the Festival to 5 days?

It is well rumoured that the current four-day Cheltenham Festival will become five days in the coming years, with the meeting expected to extend to 30 races from the current 28 races and run into a Saturday. However, this remains unconfirmed at this time.

What is the best Cheltenham bookmaker?

Famous names like Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral all have longstanding connections with the Cheltenham Festival, and you can read all about them on Bookies.com where we review their current offerings and sign up bonuses ahead of the Cheltenham Festival.

Can I go to the Cheltenham Festival?

Thousands of people, upwards of 60,000 a day attend the Cheltenham Festival each year. 2023 will enjoy full crowds after the Covid-19 pandemic, and tickets are available from the Jockey Club website in the UK, with many different hospitality options available for those who prefer private suites with fine food and drink while taking in the action.

What is the dress code at the Cheltenham Festival?

There is no formal dress code for the Cheltenham Festival – it is an outdoors event so the best advice is to dress warm and appropriately for the conditions. Unlike Royal Ascot and other racing venues, the requirement to dress formally or wear ties and certain attire does not apply.

About the Author

Dean is respected tipster, journalist and broadcaster on sports - mainly horse racing. Having featured across radio, TV and podcasts, his betting knowledge is developed over decades in the gambling industry across a number of different publications and platforms. You will usually find him on social media discussing Tottenham Hotspur or the Cheltenham Festival.