Horse Racing

What Is Ante-Post Betting & How to Bet With It On The Cheltenham Festival

Native River Cheltenham betting

What Is Ante-Post Betting?

With just a few months to go before the start of the Cheltenham Offers bonanza, most bookmakers are already betting on many, if not all, of the races taking place during the four-day extravaganza. A small number of firms including bet365 and Paddy Power are currently going non runner no bet on the championship races while Sky Bet offer the same concession on all 28 races.

Having a bet at the Cheltenham Festival before the final declarations are made (this is when ante-post rules cease to come into play and stakes are returned on any non-runners) comes with a serious wealth warning however if placing a bet with those bookmakers applying ante-post rules. As, if your selection fails to run in the race specified, you have lost your money. On the other hand it is possible to obtain outstanding value both price-wise and with possible advantageous place terms if you follow a simple set of rules before parting with your hard-earned cash.

How To Take Advantage Of Ante-Post Betting:

  1. Make sure the horse you want to back is an intended runner in the race quoted. Any information from connections (trainer, jockey owner) via social media, racing press etc can help greatly in assessing where a particular horse will be aimed at the festival.
  2. Find out if your selection has more than one entry at the festival. Many horses will be given multiple options during the four days with connections waiting as late as possible before deciding which race to go for. This particularly applies to Irish-trained horses as the likes of Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott will both be sending powerful teams to Prestbury Park. The former, for instance, had one horse a few years ago who was given an entry in six different races at the festival.
  3. The likely ground conditions. In the run-up to the festival the clerk of the course will be giving regular updates on what the going is likely to be for the opening day. This information has a massive influence on where many horses will run at the festival. Some will prefer soft ground while others will be better suited by more lively conditions. For example a horse entered for the 3m RSA Chase but wanting soft ground may end up running in the 4m National Hunt Chase if the going was deemed too fast, therefore the latter race would play more to the horse’s proven stamina.
  4. Horses prone to injury problems. Over the next two months a number of fancied contenders will be ruled out of the festival due to a serious or minor injury. While it is impossible to predict the wellbeing of any horse at a particular time some have a significantly more fragile profile than others. Try and avoid horses that have a history of suffering minor problems or have been absent from the track in the past with a serious injury. At some point this is likely to resurface once again.