Heading to Cheltenham for the races, and fancy a flutter or two? After hosting many VIP horse racing events we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves…
The Festival at Cheltenham Races is the cream of the crop when it comes to Jump racing, with the finest horses and most talented riders turning out for a chance at the cup. And of course, you can be a winner too. Make sure the going is good with these pro-tips from our team.
1. Know the form
Some early-morning reading of the Racing Post will give you the ‘form’ – i.e. the past performance of the horses racing that day. See which ones have been strong contenders in recent races to help you place bets.
The Post publishes race cards for the day’s events, giving a snapshot of each horse’s form. Numbers 1-9 show where a horse has previously finished a race inside the top 9. Horses with a 0 by their names finished later. You’ll also see some letters, which indicate if the horse fell (marked ‘F’) or if they refused a jump (‘R’) or even unseated the jockey (‘U’ or ‘UR’). Other letters to look out for are ‘D’, which show a winner over the same distance, ‘C’, showing a win on the same course, and ‘BF’ – beaten favourite, a horse pegged as a winner who performed worse than expected.
If you’re hosted at The Festival in Cheltenham by Corinthian Sports, you’ll find copies of the Racing Post in your suite on arrival, so you can browse the form over your complimentary morning coffee.
2. Keep track of the steamers and drifters
You’ll hear these terms during your day at the races, and they’re well worth getting acquainted with if you’re after a win.
• A steamer is a horse who is getting a lot of bets and whose odds are getting shorter coming up to the race. A favourite to win.
• A drifter is the opposite – a horse who is getting few bets and whose odds are lengthening.
• You might also hear about sleepers – these are horses who have a surprise change of fortune and come into favour after starting as drifters.
You can keep track of the steamers and drifters and how much they move during the day by looking online. There’s a handy summary at BetMover.com
3. Get the edge with a professional tipster on board
When you book one of our hospitality packages, you’ll have access to a professional tipster who can give you an expert opinion on the races ahead. Perfect for answering any questions you have on the day, or giving you a second opinion on your choices for bets. This service is also great for first-timers who would like to have a flutter but aren’t sure where to begin.
4. Tap into the Tote
The Tote is a bit like a lottery for horse racing. You pool your bet with others and get a share of the winnings if you’ve backed a successful runner. You can bet to win, or to place (where you’re not sure the horse will win but are confident it will place in the race.) Or go ‘each way’ – a combination of win and place bets.
The Tote gives you the excitement of betting on a race without committing too much money – the minimum bet is usually £2. How much you receive after a win depends on how many people are in the betting pool.
To take part in Tote betting, you can visit one of the branded Tote betting points around the course. Or if you’re visiting as a Corinthian Sports guest, you’ll have access to private Tote facilities in your suite.
5. Use your eye
If you fancy yourself as a bit of a ‘paddock watcher’ you can pick your favourite based on what you see. The runners will take a turn in the parade ring before each race, and if you’re visiting with us, you’ll have a superb view from your Corinthian Sports suite balcony which overlooks the paddock. Picking by eye isn’t an exact science, but some things to look out for are:
• Muscle tone – horses with muscular hind legs and rear ends are thought to be powerful runners
• Coat and eyes – a shiny coat and bright eyes show a horse is in good health
• Nervousness – if the horse looks anxious, sweats a lot or is pacing around nervously, it might be using too much energy before the race begins
• Walking pace – some people think that a quick, efficient walking pace indicates that the horse will also be a fast galloper
6. Track the odds
You can look online and watch the bookies’ odds at the venue to see who the favourites are. Make sure you’re familiar with both fractional odds (eg 4/1 – four to one) and decimal odds (eg 5.00).
With fractional odds, the number in front is how many units you’ll get for every 1 unit of your stake. So if you bet £5 at 4/1, you’ll receive £5 x4 or £20.
Sometimes fractional odds are ‘odds on’ – this is where the horse is very likely to win. If your horse is ‘four-to-one odds on’, it’s 1/4 – so your £5 bet will get you £6.25.
Decimal odds are a bit easier to understand – the number simply shows how much your stake will be multiplied by if your horse wins.
Fancy booking your team a race-day to remember? See what’s on offer from Corinthian Sports
Date: 12th-15th March 2019
Location: Cheltenham Racecourse
Take a look at our other hospitality packages