It's silly season with the bookies again and, frankly, if you can't make a profit from them now, then I fear you never will! In today's post, I'll take you through what I think are a couple of amazing offers, and tell you how I plan to play them.
I've also got news of some Cheltenham preview videos, and of a live preview taking place tomorrow night, featuring yours truly. Ahem.
OK, let's start with the bookie offers. And the first thing to say is that, finally, many bookmakers are now 'non runner no bet'. This concession is massive, and basically means that if your horse doesn't run - or worse, doesn't run in the race you backed him in - you'll get your stake money back.
So, for instance, one (excellent) way to play this is to back horses in their least likely engagement. If they don't run, you'll get your cash back. If they do, they will shorten greatly in the betting for that race.
The most obvious example of this is probably Peddlers Cross, who looked nailed on to go for the Arkle, but then connections were thinking about the Jewson (a slightly longer distance novices chase).
However, last season's Champion Hurdle runner up is still entered in this year's Champion Hurdle. And he's 40/1 with betVictor, non runner no bet!
Now, look, he probably won't run in the race. But if he doesn't, you get your cash back. If he does, he's going to be about 12/1 or 16/1, surely. Perhaps even shorter. Then you can trade him on Betfair for a free bet at 25/1 or thereabouts, or simply gloat to your mates that 'you knew'. 😉
There are plenty like this. Boston Bob has dual engagements, and you could back him in both, knowing you'll get money back on one and he'll shorten a point in the other when he's a confirmed runner.
Grands Crus is a further example.
Help yourself, it's not often you have a hold over the bookies!
The following bookies are already non-runner no bet (NRNB) ALL races at the Festival:
bet365, skybet, totesport, betVictor, Blue Square, Paddy Power, 888sport, Ladbrokes, and Corals.
Now then, two stand out bookie offers this morning.
The first is from William Hill, who don't 'do' concessions, but do offer best price on more horses than anyone else these days.
True to form then, they're offering punters 5/4 about Hurricane Fly for the Champion Hurdle today. Use the link below to register an account or, if you have one already, to get some odds against about a horse is best priced 4/5 elsewhere and generally as short as 4/6.
Oh yes, and Hills are Non Runner No Bet on this event, so if the Fly did fail to turn up for any reason, you'd get your cash back! 🙂
The other standout bookie offer is Paddy Power's annual jaw-dropper. No, I'm not talking about the trans-gender advert which has caused such a storm.
But, rather, something a bit more punter-friendly. Here's the deal...
If you bet a horse (or horses, hint) in the Arkle Trophy, and Sprinter Sacre wins, Paddy will refund you up to £100/€100.
Now, if you don't immediately grasp what that means, let me show you. Paddy currently bets on the race like this:
Sprinter Sacre - Evens
Al Ferof - 3/1
Peddlers Cross - 7/2
Cue Card - 7/1
Menorah - 10/1
It's my contention that the rest don't count. So, in essence, if you share my belief that only one of this quintet can win the race, then you're in good shape.
Taking an even money chance out of a 118% book (which this roughly adds up to) means you can 'dutch' the other four for a free bet.
Specifically... take your £100 and divide it as follows:
Al Ferof - £36.33
Peddlers Cross - £32.29
Cue Card - £18.17
Menorah - £13.21
Now, if Sprinter Sacre wins, you get your £100 back. If any of the other four win, you win £45.32.
But it gets (potentially) better. If - as looks increasingly possible - Peddlers Cross runs elsewhere, you'd also get your £32.29 stake back on that one, which you could either reinvest across the remaining trio of Al Ferof, Cue Card and Menorah, or just keep hold of.
Of course, if something at a big price trumps these five, then that rather scuppers things. But they'll be betting 33/1 bar on Betfair on the day, so you could take the Peddlers refund (if applicable) and cover the rags.
Make sense? Here's how that looks, using my bet this morning as the example!
Click below to join me and take advantage of
(offer applies to new accounts - who also get a free bet - and existing accounts)
So there's two ways to give yourself a real chance of kicking the Festival off with a profit on the Tuesday, courtesy of the bookies.
Obviously, they want you to be betting with them that week, and you're far more likely to do that if you've had some gratis gravy from them, than if you haven't.
My take is that, if you're betting that week anyway (and I'm pretty sure you will be!), then take these offers!!!
And, if bookies offers are your thing, then I've got another good reason for you to take advantage next week. More on that then. 🙂
Next, and some of my racing chums have been having a bit of a video jaunt recently, looking at a bunch of the bigger Festival races.
The learned trio of Ben, Cathryn and JP gathered at Cheltenham racecourse itself to whizz through nine races, and you can watch the vids for free here.
I think they're pretty good myself - what do you reckon?
And finally, as they say, I'll be heading North and East tomorrow night, as the Cheltenham Preview Night roadshow gets a new member of its cast... me!
Yes, for the first - and possibly last! - time, I will be seated at the top table sharing my thoughts on the Festival.
The event is at the Revelstoke Hotel, Bridlington, and starts from 8pm. Full details below:
The Star Sports Cheltenham Festival Preview Night
With guests: trainer Brian Ellison, Tony Stafford (racing manager to Raymond Tooth), Kristian Strangeway (professional gambler), Russ James (jockeys agent), Matt Bisogno (horse-racing.ie/geegeez.co.uk), Cathryn Fry (jpfestival.com) and Luke Tarr (Star Sports). Hosted by Graham Orange.
Charity raffle with a chance to win a stunning limited edition framed print of Big Buck's, signed by Ruby Walsh.
All proceeds to Cancer Research UK/Niall Hannity, who rides in the St Patrick's Day Derby at the Festival.
Discounted rates on overnight stays at revelstokehotel.co.uk
To book ring Tony McCormick on 07737 885463 or email email@example.com
If you're in the area, do come along and say hello! (Please be gentle with me - it's my first time...)
Right, I'm off to do my homework for tomorrow...
p.s. if you haven't joined in the poll yet, it's here: