March 15th-18th 2016
UPDATED – Day 1 of the festival, live from the course. The Clerk of the Course confirms the going is “good to soft, soft in places”
Recommended Cheltenham bookie: with £25 free for the festival!
The Cheltenham Festival 2016 is almost upon us, and this year promises to be an absolute cracker! It’s a fantastic time for a bet on the horse racing, particularly given the number of enhanced odds specials the bookies are churning out. With this in mind we’ve got together with the top bookies to bring you all the offers, both during the build up and throughout the festival itself.
Cheltenham Festival 2016 Specials
The inside track in 2016 is that the bookies really are going to be pulling out all the stops here. It’s a massive week in the racing and betting calendar, and this year we will be bringing you some unprecedented offers. If you’re looking for a decent price to spice up the festival, then make sure you keep checking this page!
Above you’ll already have seen some of the early specials, but there is a lot more to follow.
Cheltenham Festival 2016 betting
As the countdown to Cheltenham festival shows, there aren’t many days to go now! Underneath the clock you’ll note a subscription box where you can join our mailing list for Cheltenham enhanced odds direct to your inbox:
Cheltenham 2016 betting
So what’s the early festival betting looking like? Further down the page we have a preview of each of the four days of the festival, with a look at the key races and runners.
Cheltenham multiples and accas
Having proved incredibly popular last year, one of the offers you can expect to see plenty of during Cheltenham 2016 week is the enhanced multiple. This is a big favourite with the punters, as you can see some absolutely massive odds when you roll up just a couple of selections. Last year saw a 20/1 treble, we’ll bring you details of all of these this time round too.
We’ll be featuring all the enhanced multiples on this page along with the any other bookie specials in the lead up to race week. Once the racing actually starts you can expect regular updates on this page and our homepage, but the best way to ensure you don’t miss out is to join our mailing list above for the latest prices direct to your inbox.
Cheltenham Festival 2016 schedule
Key race preview
As in previous years, we’ve had our horse racing expert compile a guide to the key days, looking at the big races, the runners and the jockeys.
Cheltenham Festival day one – Champions Day
It all kicks off on Tuesday 15th March, with the first day of the festival “Champions Day” – this is where some of the legends of racing will be paraded before the passionate crowd. It’s sure to stoke up the atmosphere before the racing proper begins.
The highlight of day one is the Champion Hurdle, although last year’s winner Willie Mullins’ Faugheen won’t be available to defend the title. However, the sensible betting in this open field, will likely still be on a Mullins’ horse, with Nichols Canyon among the favourites. The early prices show him amongst the front runners, currently available at around 11/2.
Cheltenham Festival day two – Ladies Day
The second day is the most glamorous day of the festival, it’s Ladies Day. This is the day where style is queen and the fashionable outfits and hats will be on show all around the course. After all, Cheltenham on Ladies Day really is the place to be seen.
The highlight of the racing itself is the Queen Mother Champion Chase. This year sees two previous champions in Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy return, and there’s likely to be heavy betting around the pair and whether they’ve still got enough to win this. But it will be tough for them, the field is headed by strong favourite Un De Sceaux, with Vautour second in the bookies running. The latest prices for this huge race can be found here, it looks set to be a cracker!
Cheltenham Festival day three – St Patrick’s Thursday
Day 3 of the festival falls on St Patricks Day. This means it’s party time! An excuse to dress up and enjoy the Irish theme, you can certainly expect the Guinness to be flowing in a festive atmosphere.
On the course the racing will continue, with the crowd likely to be hoping for some Irish winners, especially in the two big races of the day, the Ryanair Chase and the World Hurdle. Look out for the Thistlecrack, trained by Colin Tizzard in the World Hurdle, it’s a strong favourite currently available at 6/5. Click here for the latest prices before the off.
Cheltenham Festival day four – Gold Cup Day
As you probably know, Cheltenham certainly saves the best for last. Friday 18th is Gold Cup Day, the climax of a superb festival, and one of the biggest races in the sporting calendar. This year looks set to be another corker.
The big race itself is scheduled for the off at 15.30 and a number of runners are in with a decent shout here. See below for the main runners and their current prices.
Gold Cup odds and runners 2016
The current field of 22 horses will take the famous course just after 3pm with the race scheduled for a 3:30pm off. Current prices are below, but obviously these will change in the run up to the race, so please click here for the latest prices. Remember that if you are placing an early bet on the big race you’ll also get non-runner no bet for the Gold Cup.
Don Cossack 4/1
Cue Card 5/1
Don Poli 5/1
Smad Place 10/1
Road To Riches 16/1
Valseur Lido 16/1
Carlingford Lough 20/1
Sausalito Sunrise 25/1
Many Clouds 33/1
Champagne West 40/1
Sir Des Champs 40/1
O’Faolains Boy 50/1
Irish Cavalier 66/1
Morning Assembly 66/1
On His Own 66/1
Boston Bob 100/1
The Giant Bolster 100/1
Back in the paddock all eyes will be on Willie Mullins, who will fancy his chances of a big winner, with Vautour, Don Poli and Djakadam all expected to be in with a shout of giving him the winner in the festival’s main race.
Cheltenham festival – archived previews
If you are interested in the form from previous years our preview for the last meet is below. It’s interesting to look back and see how our man did!
Supreme Novices Hurdle
The festival kicks off with the supreme novices, and as is so often the case, it is a Willie Mullins trained runner who dominates the ante-post market. Douvan has been billed as the real deal in the build up to the festival and from his two runs to date he could hardly have been more impressive. An easy win at Gowran Park on debut was followed by a stylish victory in a grade two at Punchestown in January. With Mullins saddling the winner in the last two renewals, there is likely to be plenty of support for Douvan (currently 2.90). Ante-post backers should also be able to take comfort from Mullins recent comments, where stated he expects the Cheltenham hill to be the making of his five year old.
Next in the market is Nicky Henderson’s French import L’ami Serge, a horse who since making the trip across the channel, has shown a level of ability which means he shouldn’t be taken lightly. A winner in each of his three contests in Britain thus far, including when running out a 14 length winner in Sandown’s grade one Tolworth Hurdle last time out. Having tackled each of his races with minimum fuss and shown all the qualities required of a supreme winner, at current odds of 5.00, Henderson’s charge is likely to attract plenty of market support.
The showpiece event on day one and the Cheltenham faithful look set for another cracking renewal.
Last year’s winner Jezki goes again, and despite excelling in the race 12 months ago, the seven year old has turned in several below par performances since then. There is a sense surrounding last season’s victory that everything dropped right for the horse and given the opposition this year there are doubts that he can retain his crown. For those who are hopeful of a return to his Cheltenham best, he can be backed at odds of 7.00.
For all to see, this year’s renewal seems to be all about two horses. The Willie Mullins trained Faugheen and The New One trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies.
Faugheen has been imperious since making a winning debut back in May 2013 and has stretched his unbeaten run to eight. Having announced himself as a top class act when convincingly winning the Neptune at last season’s festival meet, Faugheen has gone from strength to strength, notching a further three impressive wins – two at grade one level. Having answered every question asked of him to date, coupled with his impressive previous Cheltenham run, Mullins seven year old is hard to oppose and even at the short price (2.40) is a tempting bet.
However, the value bet looks to be The New One. Twiston-Davies stable star was a desperately unlucky third in this race 12 months ago, after the falling Our Connor largely hampered The New One in the back straight, taking him multiple lengths back in the field. Albeit too late in the day, Twiston Davies’ charge flew up the Cheltenham hill to secure a fast finishing third. Having won at Cheltenham three times previously, The New One is something of a course specialist and is known for coming up the hill in strong fashion. At current odds of 4.50 it is The New One who gets the nod to take the race and make up for last year’s hard luck story.
Queen Mother Champion Chase
This year’s champion chase looks stronger than those of recent years and appears to have no fewer than three chief contenders: Sire De Grugy, Dodging Bullets and Sprinter Sacre.
Starting with Dodging Bullets. Paul Nicholls gelding has proven that he’s no back number. A pair of grade one wins in December and January, beating the returning Spinter Sacre in the latter, illustrated just how far Dodging Bullets has come. With three wins at Cheltenham already under his belt, Nicholls’ seven year old is sure to be one of the key protagonists here. Currently sits at 6.50 in the ante-post market.
Next up there’s last season’s victor, Sire De Grugy. Trained by Gary Moore and ridden by son Jamie Moore, Sire De Grugy took the 2013/2014 season by storm, winning in six of his seven races, including four grade ones. Injury prevented Moore’s stable star from getting this season off to an ideal start, and it wasn’t until February that he was seen in a race. Probably needing the run after a lengthy absence, the gelding – despite travelling well – jumped tentatively before blundering and unseating three from home. However, last time out he appeared back to his old self, when winning convincingly at Chepstow. At current odds of 4.50, Sire De Grugy is a horse whose proven he can beat just about anyone, if back to his best it wouldn’t be surprising if he were to go very close.
This leaves Sprinter Sacre. Nicky Henderson’s chaser was once a formidable force and until falling victim to major injury back in December 2013 was unbeaten in ten chase starts. His return to action this season was not perhaps the one everybody expected, however connections were said to happy with his progress. A grade one winner on no fewer than seven occasions (including this race in 2013), if returning to near his old form then there is no doubt that he’s the one they all have to beat. At current odds of 3.70, Sprinter Sacre looks the one to be on.
JLT Novices Chase
The opening race might not be the main event on day three, but it’s a big deal nonetheless. This season’s premium event for novices over the minimum trip looks a fairly open one on paper and there could be plenty in with chances.
Both Apache Stronghold and Valseur Lido have enjoyed solid first campaigns over fences for their respective yards. And having both scored a victory over one another already this season, the score stands at 1-1. At ante-post odds of 6.50 and 7.50 the pair can be expected to run well.
The Paul Nicholls trained Ptit Zig is another who has enjoyed a largely successful novice campaign over fences and at current ante-post odds of 4.50 is well fancied. Having won the grade two BetBright novice chase over C&D back in January – powerfully going clear up the hill – Ptit Zig has to be a clear danger.
At the head of the market is Willie Mullins Vautour. Undoubtedly the novice hurdler of the season last year, the six year old hasn’t quite settled into life over fences in the same manner this term; however, he has set a solid platform for which to build on. Just as he improved when tackling Cheltenham for the first time as a hurdler, the home of jump racing can just as equally be the making of the gelding as a chaser. An unstoppable force coming up the hill in last year’s supreme novices, Vautour can thrive again. At ante-post odds of 3.90, he looks the bet.
The main event of the meeting comes on the fourth and final day, and just as it always is, fans should be in for another exciting renewal.
Previous winner’s Lord Windermere and Bobs Worth both look likely to line up again, and if bringing their top game can run well this time around at relatively big odds. While Carlingford Lough (ante-post odds of 10.00) – one of the Irish Contingent – looks to have a chance on some of his strongest form.
Elsewhere there is Many Clouds who has excelled this season and thus has emerged as a live contender. Oliver Sherwoods’ star has enjoyed a top season so far, having won all three of his outings since reappearing in early November. His victories at Newbury in the Hennessy and at Cheltenham last time out were particularly impressive and has given the eight year olds credentials some real substance and as the ante-post market shows (current 9.00 second favourite) he’s certainly one to consider. The one worry may be that all of his top form has come of soft or worse ground.
Meanwhile, at the head of the market, Silvianaco Conti comes into the race as a leading contender for the third year running. Having fell back in 2013 and been run out of the race late in the day last year, can Paul Nicholls gelding make it third time lucky.
The nine year old has certainly been back to his best, taking the spoils on his latest two outings. Firstly running on well at the finish to cosily take the Betfair Chase at Haydock, before jumping his rivals into submission when taking the King George Chase on Boxing Day. There is however, a concern over his ability to be at his best around Cheltenham. From his three outings there thus far he is yet to win or finish second. There is no question that in terms of both prestige and number of wins at the highest level Silvianaco Conti is the biggest player in the race. But, his poor form at Cheltenham is cause for concern and at odds of 4.50 he looks short enough.
It is on this basis, that the best bet looks to be one of the Irish. Road To Riches (ante-post price 10.50) for trainer Gordon Elliot Has impressed this season and has also established himself as one of the chief protagonists.
Elliot’s charge has been on an upward curve this campaign, and may not have stopped yet. Having won his latest two outings in good style, firstly a wide margined victory at Down Royal, before following up with a win at Leopardstown in late December, asserting well near the finish beating last season’s gold cup runner up – On His Own.
Having been aimed at this race, connections have spoken well about his chances and everything seems to have gone to plan. At the prices, Road To Riches looks worth the bet to continue progressing and can announce himself on the biggest stage.