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Grand National Runners

The most legendary Grand National runners

By | Horseracing, The Grand National | No Comments

The Grand National has showcased many legendary horse and jockey teams throughout history. Victories snatched at the last second, outsiders surprising the nation – there is rarely a sure thing at the National.

When an exceptional horse meets an exceptional jockey, magic can happen.

Click here the Grand National Runners for 2018 

Red Rum and Brian Fletcher

No tale of legendary Grand National winners can forget Red Rum, the greatest Grand National winner of all time. Red Rum holds the record for the most Grand National wins of any horse, storming to victory in 1973, 1974 and 1977 and coming in second in the intervening races.

Red Rum

Ridden to victory by Brian Fletcher in 1973, Red Rum pulled off one of the most spectacular wins in race history as he came from fifteen lengths behind at the last fence to beat Crisp by three-quarters of length.

Fletcher again rode Red Rum to victory the following year, although for his historic third win Red Rum was partnered with jockey Tommy Stack after Fletcher had a disagreement with trainer Ginger McCain.

Glenside and Jack Anthony

In 1911, gelding Glenside was entered for the race and given a price of 20/1. Very few punters thought the horse had much chance of success, being blind in one eye and described as ‘broken-winded’ the previous year.

Torrential rain made for a treacherous course and caused many falls, but young jockey Jack Anthony kept Glenside up and running. Glenside came from behind and managed to win by a fairly comfortable 20 lengths.

Jack Anthony would go on to become one of the most celebrated jockeys of his day and win the National two further times, on Ally Sloper in 1915 and Troytown in 1920.

The Colonel and George Stevens

By the time he came to ride The Colonel, jockey George Stevens was already making a name for himself as one of the greatest Grand National jockeys of all time.

Stevens came to the field in 1869 with three previous wins under his belt, on Freetrader, Emblem and Emblematic in 1856, 1863 and 1864 respectively. Partnering The Colonel, George Stevens cemented his position as in Grand National history as he rode the horse to victory in two consecutive years, 1869 and 1870.

To this day Stevens remains the record holder for the most Grand National wins for any jockey ever.

Mr Frisk and Marcus Armytage

Mr Frisk may only have won the Grand National once, but his 1990 victory ridden by Marcus Armytage broke the record for the fastest win time ever.

The duo completed the race in just 8 minutes and 47.8 seconds, and were the only team to win the race in under nine minutes ever until Many Clouds just scraped in at 8 minutes and 56.8 seconds in 2015.

Mr Frisk and Armytage went on to take home the Whitbread Gold Cup just three weeks after their National win.

As one of the most prestigious events in the racing calendar, it is no wonder that the Grand National has attracted some of the most dynamic horse-and-jockey duos in the business over the years.

A condensed history of UK horse racing

By | Horseracing, Introduction to Horse Racing | No Comments

Horse racing is possibly one of the oldest sports in the UK, with recorded races dating back to around the 12th century. English knights returned from the crusades, bringing with them noble Arab horses to breed with domesticated English horses. The result of this breeding was the thoroughbred, which is the horse still used in racing to this day.

Horse racing as a spectator sport began under the reign of Charles II and became a professional sport in the early years of the 18th century, when Queen Anne opened several racecourses, including Ascot.

From the days of Charles II to the present day, we’ve put together this timeline of horse racing in the UK:

  • 1660-1685 – King Charles II begins to race two horses against each other at a time in open fields or on private courses. Prizes begin to be awarded to winners. Newmarket becomes the first UK venue for horse races.
  • 1702-1714 – Under Queen Anne, horse racing evolves from a two-horse match sport to professional races involving several horses which spectators could bet on. Several dedicated racecourses are opened and Ascot is founded by the Queen in 1711.
  • 1750 – The Jockey Club is established among the horse racing elite at Newmarket.
  • 1791 – An Introduction to a General Stud Book is first published by James Weatherby.
  • 1793 – Weatherby begins to use the General Stud Book to record the pedigree of every single foal born to a race horse. Thoroughbreds can all be traced back to one of three ‘Foundation sires’ – stallions Byerley Turk, Darley Arabian or Godolphin Arabian. These records are still kept.
  • 1815 – The five ‘classic’ races of British horseracing are established: the 2,000 Guineas Stakes, 1,000 Guineas Stakes, Epsom Oaks, Epsom Derby, and St Leger Stakes.
  • 1839 – The first widely recognised Grand National takes place at Aintree. The aptly-named winner Lottery is ridden to victory by jockey Jem Mason.
  • 1866 – The National Hunt Committee is established
  • 1928 – The Tote is established as the only UK organisation entitled to run pool betting on racing.
  • 1947 – The first use of the photo finish happens in the 1947 flat season.
  • 1950s and 1960s – Television follows on from newspapers in popularising horse racing.
  • 1961 – Betting shops away from the racecourse are legalised. More than 10,000 open up across the UK in the first six months.
  • 1965 – Starting stalls are first introduced for flat races.
  • 1973-1977 – Perhaps the most famous racehorse ever, Red Rum makes history by winning the Grand National three times in five years. Red Rum won in 1973, 1974 and 1977 and came second in 1975 and 1976.
  • 2000 – The first online betting shops open, allowing punters to gamble on horse racing from the comfort of their own homes.

Horse racing is the second most-watched televised sport in the UK after football. With history as a professional sport in the UK dating back more than three centuries so far, it would seem that the popularity of horse racing is still not waning.

What is the dress code for the Grand National?

By | Horseracing, The Grand National | No Comments

Prestigious horse racing events are often as much about style as they are about the racing. Ladies and gentlemen alike often don their best and most glamorous outfits for a day at the races and the Grand National is no exception.

Many racecourses have a dress code, especially in the premium enclosures. The Grand National dress code is fairly open to interpretation but there are a few rules to be followed.

Dress code at the Grand National

The Grand National is held at Aintree Racecourse, which has no official dress code, although smart outfits are much preferred and most people opt for this.

Throughout the weekend of the Crabbie’s Grand National Festival there are one or two items that are vetoed, however. No-one will be permitted entry in any form of sports clothing and fancy dress is also not allowed.

The Steeplechase Enclosure

The Steeplechase Enclosure is only opened on the final day of the Grand National Festival weekend and here the rules are more relaxed. While there is still no fancy dress or sportswear allowed, spectators can wear pretty much anything they’re comfortable in.

Other enclosures

With no strict official dress code, it can be tricky to know what to wear. Typically, men will at the very least wear a jacket and tie, though many wear suits and some will even go the full works with top hat and tails.

For the ladies, most opt for a formal or semi-formal dress. Too much flesh on display is not really appropriate, although there are no hard and fast rules for this like at Royal Ascot. Hats are of course optional, but many people see race day as a chance to break out the headgear with a fancy hat or fascinator.

Many ladies choose the glamour of high heels over the comfort of flats, although later in the day those sensible among the crowd can be seen slipping off the stilettos and donning the flip-flops.

Ladies’ Day

Thursday at the Grand National Festival is Ladies’ Day, the day where style really comes to the forefront of the weekend festivities.

As well as big feature races such as the Melling Steeplechase and the Topham Steeplechase, the hunt is on for the most stylish racegoer and there are some pretty spectacular prizes.

2015 winner Toni Salters was presented with a brand new Mini Roadster courtesy of the people at Aintree and a £6,000 package of prizes from the shopping and leisure complex Liverpool One, which included a monthly booth in the luxurious Palm Sugar Lounge and a monthly gift card for £250.

Whichever day of the festival you choose to attend, think smart formal or smart casual and you won’t go too far wrong. Racing events are great opportunities to experiment with the season’s latest fashions, but the main event is the racing after all.

Would you like to know more about the grand national? Check out our Grand National guide for 2018 here

The Cheltenham Festival Day 2, Ladies Day: Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle

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Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle

The  Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle takes place on the left-handed, turf-surfaced Old Course at Cheltenham over a distance of 2m 5f. It is the opening race on day two of the annual Cheltenham Festival.

Horses are required to jump ten hurdles and can enter from four-years-old and upwards. The weight carried is set at 10st 12lb for any four-year olds and 11st 7lb for five-year olds and above, with a 7lb allowance for mares and fillies.

Last year’s renewal was won by Willoughby Court, who was ridden by David Bass and trained by Ben Pauling. Connections won £71,875.50 for their victory out of a total prize fund of £125,000.

The 2018 contest sees chances throughout the field, although Samcro is highly-fancied to land a first success in this renewal for trainer Gordon Elliott.

As ever, the race marks the start of Ladies Day on Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival. The starter will waive the runners off at 1:30pm on Wednesday 14th March 2018.

Find out the latest  Ballymore Novices Hurdle odds at Ladbrokes

History of the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle

The race is registered as the Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle, in honour of the creator of the original festival.

However, it has been known under a variety of different names over the years due to sponsorship. Currently the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, this race began life known as the Aldsworth Hurdle in 1971.

From 1974 until 2006 the race came under the guise of the Sun Alliance Novices Hurdle due to sponsorship from Sun Alliance (which was later Royal & Sun Alliance).

Ballymore Properties took over sponsorship for the following three years before Neptune Investment Management offered their support in 2010. Their sponsorship lasted seven years until Ballymore resumed their association with the event for the 2018 contest.

Race Records

No single horse has managed to achieve victory here more than once, although several winners have gone on to bigger and brighter things at the Festival including Faugheen (Champion Hurdle 2015) and Simonsig (Arkle Challenge Trophy 2013).

The record for leading jockey is held by Ruby Walsh. The 38-year-old has been aboard four winners of the race, most recently with Yorkhill in 2016. He’s one ahead of Charlie Swan who enjoyed three successes with Danoli in 1994, Urubande in 1996 and Istabraq in 1997.

Walsh’s success has gone hand in hand with that of trainer Willie Mullins. The Irishman has four winners under his belt in this renewal – Fiveforthree in 2008, Mikael d’Haguenet in 2009, Faugheen in 2014 and the aforementioned Yorkhill in 2016. Mullins is one ahead of rival Nigel Twiston-Davies, who has trained three winners.

Neptune Novices’ Hurdle Trends

  • Only one of the last 40 winners have been aged six or over.
  • 14 of the last 22 winners were aged exactly six-years-old.
  • Irish-trained horses have won six of the last 10 renewals.
  • Nicky Henderson has won this race just once from 26 attempts.
  • Willie Mullins has accounted for four of the last 10 winners of this race.
  • Only three of the last 12 SP favourites have claimed victory.
  • Even Dawn is the longest-priced winner at 40/1 in 1972.
  • 31 of the last 32 winners of the Baring Bingham had finished first or second in their previous start.
  • Two of the last 17 victors had previously won the Tolworth Hurdle in the same season.


The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle is an exhilarating race for novice hurdlers aged four and above, ready to make a big impact at Cheltenham for the very first time.

Success in the renewal is often the indicator of a true top-class hurdler. Istabraq won the 1997 renewal before going on to claim a hat-trick of Champion Hurdle successes. More recently Faugheen claimed the 2015 Champion Hurdle as well as a whole host of other major successes over sticks.

Walsh and Mullins have proved the dominant pair over the last decade. The duo have teamed up to enjoy success on no fewer than four occasions over the past ten years.

Novices Hurdle Winners

  • 2008: Fiveforthree – Ruby Walsh
  • 2009: Mikael d’Haguenet – Ruby Walsh
  • 2010: Peddlers Cross – Jason Maguire
  • 2011: First Lieutenant – Dave Russell
  • 2012: Simonsig – Barry Geraghty
  • 2013: The New One – Sam Twiston-Davies
  • 2014: Faugheen – Ruby Walsh
  • 2015: Windsor Park – Davy Russell
  • 2016: Yorkhill – Ruby Walsh
  • 2017: Willoughby Court– David Bass
Cheltenham David Nicholson Mares Hurdle

The Cheltenham Festival Day 1, Champion Day: OLBG Mares’ Hurdle

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OLBG Mares’ Hurdle

The OLBG Mares’ Hurdle is one of the newest races to be introduced at the Cheltenham Festival. Inaugurated in 2008, the race was originally intended to be a seventh race on the final day of the Festival, Gold Cup Day. From 2009 onwards it has been the fifth race on Day One – Champion Day.

The race was originally named in honour of legendary jockey and trainer David Nicholson, who passed away in 2006. Nicholson’s impressive record included five wins as a jockey at the Cheltenham Festival. When he retired to become a trainer he entered 17 winning horses in Cheltenham races.

The race was held on the New Course in 2008 but since moving to Day One has been run over the Old Course, with a race distance of two miles, four furlongs, and with horses leaping nine hurdles.

Hot favourite for the 2018 Mares’ Hurdle is the defending champion, Apple’s Jade. Gordon Elliott’s star fought off Willie Mullins’ duo of Vroum Vroum Mag and Limini to win.

The two former names will square off again for the 2018 renewal in what looks an exciting battle.

Cheltenham David Nicholson Mares Hurdle

Quevega, Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins

The OLBG Mares’ Hurdle has been dominated by three characters throughout its short history – horse Quevega, jockey Ruby Walsh and trainer Willie Mullins. Although the race was won in 2008 by Jason Maguire on the Donald McCain Jr trained Whiteoak, the famous trio would go on to take victory for six consecutive years.

When Ruby Walsh and Quevega entered in 2009 they were billed as the favourite and given short odds of 2/1. Over the following years, the consistent success of the pair caused those odds to be shortened even further, to 6/4, 5/6 and 4/7 in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively and to 8/11 in 2013 and 2014.

In the 2015 year, Quevega was retired and Ruby Walsh fell on Annie Power after being priced the 1/2 favourite. Another horse from the Willie Mullins stable, Glens Melody, took victory ridden by Paul Townend.

In 2015 year Quevega was retired and Ruby Walsh fell on Annie Power after being priced the 1/2 favourite. Another horse from the Willie Mullins stable, Glens Melody, took victory ridden by Paul Townend.

David Nicholson Mares Hurdle riders

Race Information

The fifth race on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival, the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle follows on from the day’s feature race, the Champion Hurdle.

The race is open to fillies and mares aged four and above, with four-year-olds carrying a weight of 10st 10lb and those aged five and over carrying 11st 5lb.

Run on the Old Course over 4,023 metres with nine hurdles, the prize pot for the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle stands at £110,000.

Statistics and Trends

  • The fastest winning time goes to Quevega in 2010 when she finished in 4 minutes and 45.4 seconds.
  • 8 of the last 10 winners have been favourite or 2nd favourite.
  • The longest price for a winning horse was 20/1 for Whiteoak in the inaugural 2008 running.
  • Willie Mullins has trained all but two winners in ten renewals.

Despite the narrow field of victories since its inception, the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle is a hotly-contested race, with each horse and rider team eager to be first past the post. It is part of what makes Day One at Cheltenham such a thrilling experience for racers and spectators alike.

You can find all your 2018 Cheltenham OLBG Mares’ Hurdle odds  at Ladbrokes.

Cheltenham Arkle Challenge Trophy jockeys

Arkle Challenge Trophy

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The Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy

The Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy is the second race of the Cheltenham Festival Day 1. A National Hunt steeplechase run on the Old Course, this race is the foremost novice minimum distance chase on the seasonal calendar.

It is open to five-year-old horses and above and run over a distance of around two miles.

Arkle Challenge Trophy

The Arkle Challenge Trophy was introduced in order to pay tribute to the legendary Irish thoroughbred racehorse Arkle.

Arkle famously won the prestigious and challenging Cheltenham Gold Cup on three consecutive years from 1964-1966; in honour of his achievements, the former Cotswold Chase was renamed the Arkle Challenge Trophy.

Until 1980 the race took place on the second day of the Cheltenham Festival, moving in that year to its current slot as race two on Day One.

There have been four sponsors of the Arkle Challenge Trophy, the first being Waterford Castle from 1991 until 1993. Guinness sponsored the race from 1994 until 1999, followed by the Irish Independent newspaper from 2000 until 2011. Current sponsors the Racing Post took over in 2012.

There have been several winners of the Arkle that have later gone on to win the Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase, the most prestigious two-mile steeplechase on the calendar. These include Sprinter Sacre, who took home the Queen Mother in 2013.

Footpad is the hot favourite for the 2018 Arkle Chase. The Willie Mullins-trained star won the Irish Arkle at the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown this year.

His nearest challenger that day – Petit Mouchoir – is the second favourite for the Cheltenham renewal.

The Course

The Arkle Challenge Trophy takes place over what is known at Cheltenham as the Old Course.

Thought of as slightly easier than the New Course due to being a little shorter, the Old Course is nonetheless challenging for horse and jockey alike. Open ditches and a water jump combine with an undulating course structure to create unique challenges requiring a fine balance of pace and stamina.

There are thirteen fences that must be jumped during the two-mile duration of the Arkle Challenge Trophy. Making all races at Cheltenham particularly challenging is the undulations in the turf and the fact that all courses feature relatively steep inclines and declines at various points.

Arkle Challenge Trophy Trends

  • Five of the last six winners have been the odds-on favourite.
  • The top jockey in terms of this particular event is Barry Geraghty, with four wins.
  • Nicky Henderson is the most successful trainer with six winners.
  • Eight of the last 27 winners have gone on to win the following season’s Champion Chase.
  • Willie Mullins has trained two of the last three winners.
  • Six-year-olds and seven-year-olds are the most successful horses in this race.

This novice race helps get the Cheltenham Festival started, making Day One a thrilling and challenging day for newcomers to the world of competitive horse racing. If you’re after a really exciting flutter, this is the race for you.

Recent Winners

Over the last 10 years, the Arkle Challenge Trophy has been dominated by trainers Nicky Henderson and Willie Mullins, who have won five of the last 10 renewals.

Of the jockeys, Barry Geraghty has three victories, with Ruby Walsh with two. The last ten winners are as follows:

  • 2008: Tidal Bay – Denis O’Regan
  • 2009: Forpadydeplaster – Barry Geraghty
  • 2010: Sizing Europe – Andrew Lynch
  • 2011: Captain Chris – Richard Johnson
  • 2012: Sprinter Sacre – Barry Geraghty
  • 2013: Simonsig – Barry Geraghty
  • 2014: Western Warhorse – Tom Scudamore
  • 2015: Un De Sceaux – Ruby Walsh
  • 2016: Douvan – Ruby Walsh
  • 2017: Altior – Nico de Boinville

Find out more about Cheltenham betting at Ladbrokes!

grand national runners 2018

2018 Cheltenham Festival Dates

By | Cheltenham Festival, Horseracing | No Comments

Are you ready the roar? The Cheltenham Festival is the greatest horse racing festival of them all. And one of the UK’s biggest and best sporting events of the year.When is Cheltenham? The 2018 Cheltenham Festival kicks off on Tuesday, March 13th and finishes up on Friday, March 16th.

The schedule takes in top-class racing over four days and 28 races in total, beginning with Champion Day on Tuesday and ending with the Gold Cup day on Friday.250,000 punters are expected to fill the 67,000 capacity course over the four days, with nearly £4.6m in total prize money to be won.

If you’re not lucky enough to be in attendance, you catch live coverage of the big races from 1:30pm on ITV every day.

Tuesday 13th March – Champion Hurdle Day

Cheltenham Festival Day One will see Buveur D’Air (4/9) and Faugheen (5/1) duke it out in the Champion Hurdle. There’s also a cracking Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Arkle to look forward to.

1.30 p.m      Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (2m 1/2f)

2.10 p.m      Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase (2m)

2.50 p.m     Baylis & Harding Affordable Luxury Handicap Chase (3m 1/2f)

3.30 p.m     Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (2m 1/2f)

4.10 p.m     Mares’ Hurdle (for the David Nicholson Trophy) (2m 4f)

4.50 p.m     National Hunt Chase (4m)

5.30 p.m       Novices’ Handicap Chase (2m 4 1/2 f)

Wednesday 14th March – Ladies Day

Cheltenham Festival Day Two is traditionally known as Ladies Day. It sees a cracking renewal of the Queen Mother Champion Chase, including a battle between Altior, Min, and Douvan.

1.30 p.m     Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (2m 5f)

2.10 p.m     RSA Steeple Chase (3m 1/2f)

2.50 p.m      Coral Cup (2m 5f)

3.30 p.m     BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase (2m)

4.10 p.m     Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase (3m 7f)

4.50 p.m     Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (2m 1/2f)

5.30 p.m Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Open NH Flat Race) (2m 1/2f)


Thursday 15th March – St Patrick’s Day

Cheltenham Festival Day Three is traditionally known as St. Patrick’s Day, falling on Ireland’s national holiday. However, this year, St. Patrick’s Day is actually on Saturday, March 17th.

1.30 p.m         JLT Novices’ Steeple Chase (2m 5f)

2.10 p.m        Pertemps Final (Handicap Hurdle) (3m)

2.50 p.m        Ryanair Chase (2m 5f)

3.30 p.m       Stayers’ Hurdle (3m)

4.10 p.m       Byrne Group Plate Handicap Steeple Chase (2m 5f)

4.50 p.m     The Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (2m 1f)

5.30 p.m        The Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Steeple Chase (3m 1f)


Friday 16th March – Cheltenham Gold Cup Day

Cheltenham festival day four, and the final day of the Cheltenham Festival sees the renewal of the most prestigious race of the entire festival – the Gold Cup. It looks a keen contest between Might Bite, Native River, and Sizing John.

1.30 p.m         The JCB Triumph Hurdle (2m 1f)

2.05 p.m         The Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (2m 1f)

2.40 p.m         The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Registered As The Spa Novices’ Hurdle) (3m)

3.30 p.m         The Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup (3m 2f) (3m 2 1/2f)

4.00 p.m         The St James’ Place Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup  (3m 2 1/2f)

4.40 p.m         Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (2m 4 1/2f)

5.15 p.m         Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Steeple Chase (2m 1/2f)

Check out for all Cheltenham odds at Ladbrokes!

how to place a bet on horses

How to place a bet on horse races

By | Betting Guides, Horseracing, Introduction to Horse Racing | No Comments

Betting on the horses can be a fun and exciting past-time, provided you only bet what you can afford to lose. There are three main ways to bet on the horses – at the track, in a betting shop or online, and each is slightly different.

With any bet, however, it often pays to shop around to get the best odds for your selection by comparing different bookies, shops or websites before making your final decision.

How to bet on horses online

To place a bet online you will usually have to open an account, but once you do you will be able to place your bets from the comfort of your own home with all the information you need at your fingertips.

One advantage to online betting is that the minimum stakes are often a lot lower than at the racecourse or in the betting shop. Be sure to read the terms and conditions before you sign up.

You need to know what the minimum deposit and withdrawal amounts are, if there are any maximum payouts, whether they accept your preferred credit or debit card, and any other rules that might affect your decision.

As an added incentive, many online bookmakers offer deposit match schemes for your first deposit, such as make a £10 bet and get another £10 bet for free.

Whether you prefer to size up the different bookies by the trackside or decide between the horses online, placing a bet on a horse race is easy. Whatever form your receipt takes (an email or a betting slip), keep a tight hold on it – you might need it if your horse performs well!

Placing a bet in a betting shop

To place a bet in a betting shop you need to collect a slip. These are usually stored on counters or in wall brackets.

Fill in the slip with the name of the racecourse or meeting, the time of the race you wish to bet on, the name of your selected horse, the amount you wish to stake and the type of bet that you are placing.

You then hand this to the cashier and receive a receipt, often a photocopy of your slip. You will need this in order to collect your winnings if your horse comes in, so hold onto it carefully.

Placing a bet at the racecourse

There are usually lots of bookies at the racecourse and they will all be set up in a row close by one another. This makes it easy to wander up and down to find the best odds for your bet.

Once you have made your selection and found the best odds, simply approach the bookmaker and state clearly the number of the horse, the type of bet you wish to make and the amount of your stake. Remember that each-way bets are double, so if you ask for a £2 each-way bet it will cost you £4.

Bookies at the racecourse only take bets for the next upcoming race so you will have to go back each time, but you won’t need to state which race you want to bet on. Be sure to hang onto your ticket as that’s the only way you can claim your winnings.

Other than at the Tote, you will usually only be able to place win and each-way bets with most bookies. There will be a minimum bet, which is usually £2 but some bookies will take £1 bets – if so, they will advertise this.

Horse racing odds explained

Horse racing takes place up and down the country every day of the year apart from Christmas Day.
Racing can generally be split into two seasons – the jumps and the flat. All-weather racing, on the other hand, goes on all year round.
To work out which bet you want to make, you’re likely to want to look at four main factors.

  • The form of the horse
  • The type of ground
  • The distance
  • The Class of the race

These four elements will make a difference to the price of a horse before the start of a race.
Horses can be stepped up or down in distance which then alters the stamina they require in order to win a contest.
Likewise, a sharp change in the weather conditions can dramatically alter the odds of a horse. A horse that prefers running on Good to Firm is going to be longer odds if the ground has been confirmed as Heavy.
Finally, the Class indicates the level a horse is running at. If a horse that has won in Group or Graded company (the highest level) steps down in class, their odds will likely shorten.

Weights, especially in handicap races, should also be considered.

Types of horse racing betting

There are several different ways you can bet on horse racing.

The most straightforward of these is picking an outright winner. If you place £10 on a horse at 4/1 and it crosses the line first, you win £50 (£40 winnings, plus your stake).

Each-way betting is another popular way of staking on races. It involves placing two wagers on the same horse in a single bet. A £5 each-way bet consists of £5 on a horse to win and £5 on a horse to place, creating a total stake of £10.

This way, even if your horse fails to win, you could still get a return on your bet if it finishes in the runner-up positions.

If your selection comes home in the place positions you will be paid out at 1/4 or 1/5 of your horse’s original odds. This is often dependent on how many horses run in the race.  Bigger renewals like the Grand National offer more places and more chances to win for speculative punters.

Forecast betting involves picking the 1st and 2nd horse home. This can be straight, reverse or in any order.

You can also pick horses to go into a traditional win accumulator, although with horse racing there are also variations available.

A Trixie consists of three doubles and a treble, while a Yankee has four selections with 11 separate bets; six doubles, four trebles and a straight four-fold.

Canadian, Heinz, Lucky 15, Lucky 31 and Lucky 63 are other variants that comprise a multitude of different bets within them.

Would you like to bet on one of the biggest horse racing events in the UK? Check out our complete guide with all information and betting tips for Grand National 2018

Cheltenham Festival crowds Racecourse

The Cheltenham Festival guide: Which day is right for me?

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The Cheltenham Festival is a National Hunt meeting that takes place over four days in March each year and is one of the highlights of the horse racing calendar. Each day has its own unique character and revolves around its own championship feature race.

To help you decide which day is best suited to you, we’ve put together this guide to the individual events and characteristics of each of the four days.

Day One (Tuesday) – Champion Day

Opening day of the Cheltenham Festival is named for the feature race of the day, the Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy.

While the Gold Cup is billed as the most prestigious event of the Festival, it can be argued that as a whole opening day is the most exciting, with seven important races and the tangible air of anticipation as spectators await the opportunity to let go the famous ‘Cheltenham roar’ to cheer their selections on.

The day is bookended by two novice races – the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase. Each of these races acts as a showcase for up-and-coming young horses who may one day take the racing world by storm. There are plenty of opportunities for socialising on opening day, with many bars and restaurants on-site.

Day Two (Wednesday) – Ladies’ Day

Ladies’Day at the Cheltenham Festival is one of the most stylish yet fun days in the entire racing calendar. Known for being slightly more colourful and extravagant than its Royal Ascot counterpart, Cheltenham Ladies’ Day is all about style and glamour.

Often attended by celebrities and even royalty, the feature race of Ladies’ Day is the Betway Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase – the lady herself often attended throughout her life. Cheltenham has a reputation for being one of the most social festivals of the jumps racing season and Ladies’ Day is the highlight of the event in these terms

Cheltenham Festival Racecourse Archway

Day Three (Thursday) – St. Patrick’s Day

While Day Three of the Cheltenham Festival certainly does not always fall on St. Patrick’s Day, the honorary title is still bestowed to the Thursday. Highly popular with Irish visitors and the reason the Guinness Village was established, Day Three has an atmosphere all its own.

World-class racing is combined with live music and entertainment, and the social opportunities are tremendous. The day’s feature race is the Ladbrokes World Hurdle, where horses such as Big Buck’s and Baracouda have made names for themselves. The Ryanair Steeple Chase is also an important race, and is often seen as a stepping stone to the following day’s Gold Cup.

Day Four (Friday) – Gold Cup Day

The Cheltenham Gold Cup day is ranked only just behind the Grand National in terms of iconic and prestigious jumps racing events and it is from this race that day four of the festival takes its name.

While every day at Cheltenham is special in its own right, the Friday sees the cream of the crop in terms of horses. Legends have been made here, from Arkle to Kauto Star, Golden Miller to Best Mate and more.

While this demanding race dominates the schedule, there is still plenty to see throughout the rest of the day. Annual members and club ticket holders can then finish off their festival in style with some live music in the Final Flight bar.

Whichever day you choose, excitement and some of the best racing in the world is practically guaranteed.

Check out for the latest Cheltenham gold cup odds at Ladbrokes!

The Cheltenham Gold Cup race 2018

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Cheltenham Gold Cup

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is one of the sport’s biggest prizes. Second only to the Grand National in terms of prize money, the Festival’s premier race pits the cream of the racing crop against one another over fences on the final day of the Festival.

Last year’s renewal was won by 7/1 shot Sizing John under the guidance of Robbie Power for Irish trainer Jessica Harrington. The seven-year-old defied the odds to finish ahead of favourites Djakadam and Cue Card. It proved to be his middle Gold Cup success, in-between winning the Punchestown Gold Cup and the Irish Gold Cup. He is the only horse to have achieved the feat.

The 2018 Gold Cup will see Sizing John defend his crown on 16th March 2018. He will go up against runners including Might Bite, Native River and Road to Respect.

Get all the latest Cheltenham Gold Cup odds at Ladbrokes!

Race Information

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is a Grade 1 National Hunt steeplechase for horses aged five and over. The weight restrictions are 11st 8lb for five-year-olds, and 11st 10lb for horses aged six or over; there is an allowance of 7lb for mares.

The number of participants ranges from fewer than 10 to more than 20. It’s acknowledged as the most important non-handicap National Hunt event.

The length of the course is 3 miles, 2½ furlongs (5,331 metres) and it has 22 fences, including a challenging downhill jump. The course has a long run-in stretch.

The purse for this race is a whopping ££625,000, with the winner taking home £355,937.50.

Race History

The Cheltenham Gold Cup was first run in 1819 as a three-mile flat race at Cleeve Hill, not far from today’s location. The prize fund was 100 guineas.

In 1924, the first jumps were added to the race, which moved to what is now the Old Course at Cheltenham. In the early days, the Cheltenham Gold Cup didn’t have quite the prestige that it does today; people tended to think of it as a trial for bigger-name races. In 1959 the race moved to the venue’s New Course, and a new era of the Gold Cup began.

The first company to put its name to the race was Pipe Champagne in 1975. They were followed by The Tote in 1980 which lasted up until 2003, after which point the race became known as the totesport Gold Cup.

Timico began sponsorship of the event in 2016 and will remain as principal sponsors until at least 2019.

Trainers, Jockeys and Horse Records

The most successful horse in Cheltenham Gold Cup history is Golden Miller. The Irish-bred raider won five consecutive races between 1932 and 1936.

Arkle also enjoyed significant success in the Festival showpiece. Tom Dreaper’s runner won a hat-trick of Gold Cups in 1964, 1965 and 1966 to write his name into the record books. Dreaper is also the most successful trainer in the history of the event with five victories. Three of those came with Arkle, while the other two were secured by Prince Regent in 1946 and Fort Leney in 1968.

Jockey Pat Taaffe combined with Dreaper for four of those victories to hold the record for the Gold Cup’s most successful jockey.

Michael Dickinson gives Dreaper a run for his money in terms of the most remarkable achievement in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. In 1983, the top five finishing horses were all his – a feat which has never yet been equalled.

Golden Miller’s owner, Dorothy Paget, trumps them all, with seven Cheltenham Gold Cup wins under her belt. She won five times with Golden Miller in the 1930s, along with Roman Hackle in 1940, and Mont Tremblant in 1952.

Jim Culloty is the most successful jockey since the turn of the millennium thanks to three straight victories aboard Best Mate in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Paul Nicholls has trained four winners since 1999 and will likely saddle another runner in the 2018 edition.

Race Trends and Statistics

The horse most likely to succeed in the Cheltenham Gold Cup is an experienced and high-ranking chaser – although the 2015 victory was amazingly taken by the novice Coneygree, who had only ever started three races over fences.

  • 13 of the last 15 winners had run at Cheltenham before.
  • Nine of the last 15 had an OR of 150 or higher.
  • Eight of the last 15 winners have been SP favourite.
  • Seven of 15 had won over fences at Cheltenham previously.
  • Five of the last 15 winners have been Irish-trained.
  • Five of the last 15 winners had their last race in the King George VI Chase.
  • Only one runner has ever won at odds of 100/1 – Norton’s Coin in 1990.
  • Only two winners since 1953 has been under the age of seven – Mill House (1963) and Long Run (2011).

Cheltenham Gold Cup Winners

  • 2008: Denman – Sam Thomas
  • 2009: Kauto Star – Ruby Walsh
  • 2010: Imperial Commander – Paddy Brennan
  • 2011: Long Run – Sam Waley-Cohen
  • 2012: Synchronised – Tony McCoy
  • 2013: Bobs Worth – Barry Geraghty
  • 2014: Lord Windermere – Davy Russell
  • 2015: Coneygree – Nico de Boinville
  • 2016: Don Cossack – Bryan Cooper
  • 2017: Sizing John – Robbie Power

As one of the most prestigious and hotly-contested races in the National Hunt calendar, the Cheltenham Gold Cup is a real crowd-pleaser, with everyone in attendance at the Festival eager to guess which horse will earn a place on the elite list of Gold Cup winners.