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Cheltenham Festival 2018

Cheltenham Festival is the biggest event on the hunt season calendar, one of the most prestigious events in world horse racing and the racing punter’s undoubted highlight of the year! Attracting over 250,000 racegoers and more than £650,000,000 worth of bets each year Cheltenham Festival is known as the Greatest Show on Turf with good reason, but what’s all the fuss about?

When is Cheltenham Festival 2018?

The meeting is held each year over four days in March, usually coinciding with St Patrick’s Day on the 17th. The 2018 Cheltenham Festival will take place between Tuesday 13th and Friday 16th March.

What is the Format of Cheltenham Festival?

The format of the festival has changed over the years to allow for more races and there are currently 28 races in total, with seven races taking place on each of the four days. The first race of the day starts at 1:30pm and the final race goes off at 5:30pm. Each day has one Championship race and the second day is designated Ladies Day, where tradition dictates that ladies dress to impress with expensive outfits and outlandish hats.

What are the Big Races to Look Out For?

Undoubtedly the most famous of the festival’s races is the Cheltenham Gold Cup which takes place on the final day at 3:30pm. This is the most valuable non-handicap chase in Britain and is second only to the Grand National in terms of the number of bets it attracts. Other notable races include the Champion Hurdle on Day One, the Queen Mother Champion Chase on Day Two and the Stayers’ Hurdle on Day Three.

Who is Going to be at Cheltenham Festival?

The prestige of the Festival ensures it’s a veritable Who’s Who of the racing world and even racing novices would recognise some of the household names likely to be involved. Jockeys of note include stalwart of Cheltenham glories Ruby Walsh whilst trainers that may be of interest to the casual punter include Willie Mullins, Jonjo O’Neill and Paul Nicholls.

If thoroughbred owners are your thing perhaps the most famous of them all would be HRH Queen Elizabeth II and our reigning monarch often has several horses involved over the course of the festival. Meanwhile football fans will know the likes of Brighton & Hove Albion chairman Tony Bloom along with his great rival Matthew Benham, chairman of Brentford FC – both of whom have enjoyed success entering horses at Cheltenham in the past.

Beyond the famous faces of the racing world, Cheltenham Festival also attracts numerous names from the worlds of music, movies, sports and TV so celeb spotters can enjoy keeping an eye out for their favourite stars dressed to the nines whilst quaffing champagne. Among the crowd at last year’s festival were Zara and Mike Tindall, Lily Allen, Katie Price and Carol Vorderman.

How Do I Pick a Cheltenham Winner?

Our top tip would always be to do your research. There’s a reason you see so many punters squinting over a form guide before parting with their cash. Learn to read the stats and you can arm yourself with valuable data to help with your decision on which horse(s) to back. Some races favour different horses depending on the distance and the conditions so make sure you keep on top of the going (e.g. soft, medium or firm etc.) and match that with horses that tend to perform well over that distance in those conditions.

Sometimes you’ll find particular stables and trainers are in good form, which can hint at some good options to back, and similarly certain jockeys will always be in the running given their experience and the pedigree of the horses they’re paired with.

Of course on occasion winning horses at Cheltenham can buck the form guide and surprise everyone – after all it wouldn’t be half as exciting if the favourites always won. You could be just as successful picking a horse simply because you like the name as much as by selecting one based on statistics and form.

Which are the Horses to Watch at Cheltenham 2018?

Popular English gelding Thistlecrack was an early favourite for the Gold Cup at last year’s Cheltenham festival but was ultimately unable to participate due to injury so his fans will hope this is his year and he remains hotly tipped for this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup on Friday 16th March.

Another hot property in the Gold Cup is Willie Mullins trained Yorkhill who won the Novices’ Hurdle at last year’s festival, ridden by champion jockey Ruby Walsh. Making the step up to the Gold Cup for the 2018 festival Yorkhill is sure to receive plenty of backing by punters in the know.

Cue Card, Outlander and Tea for Two are some of the other notable entrants in the prestigious Gold Cup race and if you’d like to take a look at the latest odds for these and all of the other horses participating be sure to check out the latest Cheltenham Gold Cup ante post betting.

Away from the Gold Cup there will be much interest in the Sun Bets Stayers Hurdle on day three where winner of last year’s Spa Novices’ Hurdle Penhill will be doing battle with the hotly tipped Unowhatimeanharry who was unlucky to finish third in the same race last year.

You can find early odds on all the big races at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival in our racing futures section.

I’m New to Betting on Horses, What do I Need to Know?

Don’t worry, we all have to start somewhere. It can be daunting at first getting your head around the terminology used in race betting and understanding how an each way bet works, let alone what is meant by a Trixie or a Heinz! Thankfully we are on hand to offer a helping hand so just pop on over to our helpful guide: Horse Racing Betting Explained, and you’ll be betting like a pro in no time!

Just be sure you never forget the golden rule: only bet what you can afford to lose and as soon as the fun stops: STOP. Sun Bets are committed to responsible gambling.

Anything Else I Should Know?

Whether you’re an old hand with the horses or a racing newbie, Sun Bets should be your number one destination for Cheltenham Festival betting. You’ll find daily promotions every day of the festival and we’re proud to offer best odds guaranteed on all races – which means that if you’ve placed a bet on a horse who starts at a better price than we’ve given you, Sun Bets will pay you out at the greater odds! This applies to any bets placed after 9am on the day of racing and essentially means you never need shop around for the best odds, because we’ll always pay the best price!

How Does the Sun Bets Cheltenham Bank Builder Promotion Work?

Glad you asked! This epic promotion rewards your betting on a selection of races in the run up to the festival, with a £2 free bet credited to use at Cheltenham for every £10 staked on qualifying races. This means you can steadily build up a free bet bank balance to use once the festival begins in March!


Have we whet your appetite yet? If you can’t wait for Cheltenham Festival 2018 to get going why not take a look through all the latest racing betting and remember, if you’ve not signed up to Sun Bets already new customers can enjoy €/£20 worth of free bets just for placing a €/£10 bet on any horse race. See full terms here and happy betting!