SUCCESS BREEDS SUCCESS FOR THE FAMED CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL

Long before the term Brexit had entered the lexicon and before the birth of the Euro, the importance of the Cheltenham Festival in England was easy to gauge. That’s because the value of the Irish punt would plunge in the days before the fabled race meeting would get underway.

Avid Irish racegoers would buy so much sterling that the value of their own currency would fall, noticeably, as thousands of jumps racing fans would make their annual pilgrimage to Prestbury Park with pockets bulging with British sterling.

In 2019, the Cheltenham Festival is bigger than ever; it consists of four full days of racing and 28 individual races run from March 12 through March 15. But this success story is not just based on the number of races and prize-money, which now surpasses £4.5 million. In 2019, the Cheltenham Festival gates will see a footfall of over 250,000 people over the four days of racing. The final day, Gold Cup day, will be the most popular.

In each of the past six years, it has been an Irish trainer who has claimed the distinction of “leading trainer” and both 2017 and 2018 saw more Irish-trained winners at the festival than domestically handled runners. Even the leading jockey has been Irish for the past 11 years.

These facts help when identifying the best Cheltenham betting angles. If a horse is Irish trained, it needs to be taken with the utmost seriousness, as Ireland was responsible for fewer than 30% of all runners in the past two years but more than 60% of the winners in 2018 and nearly 68% in 2017.

The Cheltenham featured races for each day are: Gold Cup on Friday, Champion Chase on Tuesday, Champion Hurdle on Wednesday, and Stayers Hurdle on Thursday. And while French trainer Francois Douman staked his claim to many of these showcase races in the late ’90s and early 21st century, all Festival races have become a straight Ireland vs UK showdown in the past two decades.

Most Cheltenham betting tips & previews 2019 will headline one horse, Altior, as the favorite for this year’s meeting. Handled by champion trainer Nicky Henderson,  Altior won all five of his hurdle races and is also unbeaten in all 12 of his chase starts. As he has swept all before him and beaten every conceivable rival, unsurprisingly the 9-year-old is top-priced 4/9 to win the Champion Chase for a second consecutive season.

Another home-trained horse, Buveur d’Air, is also attempting to retain his crown in 2019. That being the Champion Hurdle and he too is favorite to win for Nicky Henderson. As Paisley Park is favorite for Emma Lavelle in the Stayers Hurdle, all is looking good for the British home defense in 2019, albeit the online bookmakers disagree and their betting odds predict that Ireland will be the most successful nation at Cheltenham for a third consecutive year.

With a strong economy, Cheltenham 2019 looks set to surpass all previous records in terms of betting turnover, attendance, and even television viewership, thanks, in part, to ITV Racing which has injected fresh life into racing since it regained broadcast rights of the sport in January 2017.

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