For many horse racing punters in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the Cheltenham Festival is the undisputed number one betting event of year.
The four-day meeting is packed with graded races and high-class handicaps, each of which offer bettors the opportunity to go head-to-head with the bookmakers.
While making a profit is not easy given the competitive nature of the racing at Cheltenham, there are ways you can improve your chances of ending the meeting in the black.
With that in mind, we look at some of the best horse racing betting strategies you can use to boost your hopes of beating the bookies at the 2024 Cheltenham Festival.
Focus on the Favourites in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is one of the most eagerly anticipated races in the calendar as it traditionally opens the meeting on the first day.
It was notoriously difficult to predict during the early party of the 21st century, with big-priced winners a common occurrence in the Supreme.
However, ten of the last eleven winners have been priced at odds of 9/1 or less – a statistic which suggests it now pays to focus on the horses at the head of the market.
Top Irish trainer Willie Mullins has an excellent record in the race, winning it on seven previous occasions during his illustrious career.
Mullins and Elliott are the Trainers to Follow
The balance of power between horses trained in the United Kingdom and Ireland has shifted dramatically in recent years.
That point was demonstrated to perfection at the 2023 Cheltenham Festival, with Irish-trained runners winning 18 of the 28 races staged.
Mullins was responsible for six of those as he claimed the leading trainer title for the fifth consecutive year and tenth time overall.
Irish counterpart Gordon Elliott is the only trainer to prevent Mullins from winning the prize in the last 11 years, highlighting why they are the men to follow at the Cheltenham Festival.
The Gold Cup is a Race Where Trends Matter
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the blue riband event for staying chasers and is a race where historical trends can really give you an edge against the bookies.
For example, 17 of the last 23 editions of the race have been won by horses aged 7-8. Every winner this century had already won a Grade 1 heading into the race.
The King George VI Chase at Kempton and the Savills Chase at Leopardstown are generally the key trials for the race, with most previous winners participating in one of those events.
Irish trainers have been the dominant force in the Gold Cup in recent years, winning seven of the last eight editions of this prestigious race.
Bet Each-Way in the Handicap Races
Nine of the 28 races at the 2023 Festival were handicaps and they each provided extremely tricky puzzles for punters to unravel.
The starting prices of the winners perfectly demonstrate that point – 6/1jf, 18/1, 9/1, 22/1, 9/1, 20/1, 10/1, 33/1 and 6/1 – which is why punters must bet each-way in these events.
Many of the handicap races at the meeting have big fields, which means you will be paid 1/4 the odds if your selection finishes in the first four.
With some bookmakers paying out on extra places in selected races, each-way betting in Cheltenham Festival handicaps can be the route to a tasty profit.