It can become a frenzy to attract new business for bookmakers during the Cheltenham Festival. Out of the 20 turnover races during the year at least 10 of those races take place at the Cheltenham Festival. The meeting gets extensive coverage in the racing and national Press and the fixture is shown live on ITV. Due to contracts with subscription-based broadcasters, the channel can only show five of the seven races on each card. Even so all 28 races attract huge betting interest and bookmakers strive to achieve the biggest market share. Some compete on odds and betting limits at the Cheltenham Festival while others use promotions to attract new customers and maintain the loyalty of existing ones. Two of the most common offers related to the Cheltenham Festival are enhanced odds and extra places. These offers are race-specific and they are heavily promoted in the media.
Cheltenham Festival Enhanced Odds
The betting markets are competitive for individual races at the Cheltenham Festival. There is a feature race on each day of the meeting and these Grade 1 contests attract the most betting, in terms of the number of bets and stakes. There is no hiding place with odds comparison sites and the major bookmakers publicize their prices. There is rarely much variance in the odds offered by the major firms, so some enhance odds for a selected runner. For example, Buveur D’Air is the odds on favorite for the Champion Hurdle at the 2019 Cheltenham Festival with all bookmakers. If any firm boosts the price to Even money it will attract an influx of bets. However, stakes are usually limited at the enhanced price. That means bets will be settled at the boosted odds for the maximum stake and any stake over that will be subject to the regular odds. This kind of price boost will be on offer for several races at the next festival.
With competitive markets for most of the major races at the Cheltenham Festival, there can be some value in seeking out the best each-way bets. There are industry standard place terms that apply depending on the number of runners and the type of race. Each way bets are settled at one quarter or one fifth the odds and there are two to four payout places. The handicaps attract big fields at the festival and bets are settled for the first four places. The odds are well-publicized on TV and in the Press. Some bookmakers offer an extra place for the major races but still apply the standard place terms. This concession applies to many of the big Saturday handicaps during the season, but it attracts most interest when an extra place is on offer at the Cheltenham Festival. The big field handicaps are attractive for punters because there is usually no short price favorite. An extra place adds to the value of each way bets which are popular during the Cheltenham Festival.
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