The meeting could see more than £300 million gambled on it, boosting industry-wide turnover across the week to a recession-busting £500 million in total.
Bookies fear many of the well-fancied favs will roll in this week, costing the layers a fortune. Reigning big race champions Hurricane Fly (Champion Hurdle), Sizing Europe (Champion Chase), Big Buck’s (World Hurdle) and Long Run (Gold Cup) are all hot favourites for their respective races.
An opening day treble of Sprinter Sacre, Hurricane Fly and Quevega currently pays over 3/1 while repeat wins for Hurricane Fly, Sizing Europe, Big Buck’s and Long Run over the four days is over 12/1.
“The Cheltenham Festival is one of the most important meetings of the year as far as we’re concerned, and certainly one of the busiest, with over £300 million likely to be wagered on the 27 races across the UK betting industry. The popularity of this meeting is also likely to have a positive knock-on effect on the rest of our business, which could feasibly see total turnover over the next week reach £500 million, proving how resilient gambling is as a leisure pursuit,” explained Coral’s David Stevens.
“On the downside, we can’t remember a Festival where so many fancied horses were in action, especially in the big championship races, and these reigning champions, along with the likes of Quevega and Sprinter Sacre, will be written on thousands of betting slips next week. Wins for all these hot favourites would ensure bookmakers endured their most painful payout since Frankie Dettori went through the card at Ascot 16 years ago, a day that saw £40 million returned to punters,” said Stevens.
“It’s fair to say we are approaching this year’s Festival with more than a little trepidation, as the age-old battle between bookie and punter is likely to rage fiercely over the next four days, hopefully we’ll still be standing at the end of it!” added Stevens.
**Stan James Champion Hurdle
8-11 Hurricane Fly, 5-1 Zarkandar, Binocular, 9-1 Rock On Ruby, 10-1 Oscars Well, 20-1 Overturn, 33-1 Zaidpour, 40-1 Brampour, 66-1 Celestial Halo, 100-1 Kalann
**Champion Hurdle Betting Without Hurricane Fly
5-2 Zarkandar, Binocular, 7-2 Rock On Ruby, 6-1 Oscars Well, 8-1 Overturn, 14-1 Zaidpour, 25-1 Brampour, Celestial Halo, 100-1 Kalann
**Irish Trained Winners
6-4 8 – 10, 13-8 11 or more, 15-8 7 or fewer
**Biggest Festival winning SP
13-8 Under 33-1, 33-1 – 40-1, 7-4 Over 40-1
**Aggregate Festival Winning Distances (Max 30 lengths a race)
6-4 103 – 127 lengths, 13-8 128 or more, 15-8 102 or fewer
**Aggregate Winning Distances (Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, World Hurdle, Champion Chase)
13-8 15 – 20 lengths, 21 or more, 7-4 14 lengths or fewer,
**Championship race with the biggest winning distance
11-8 Gold Cup, 7-4 Champion Chase, 7-2 World Hurdle, 5-1 Champion Hurdle
**Championship race with the shortest winning distance
13-8 Champion Hurdle, 2-1 World Hurdle, 3-1 Champion Chase, 4-1 Gold Cup