Cheltenham Festival Horse Racing By Jon Ivan-Duke

Cheltenham: AP McCoy's Tips + Betting Info

It’s the biggest betting week of the year as the four-day Cheltenham Festival kicks off on Tuesday, with William Hill predicting bookmakers will take over £350million in wagers. 

“Cheltenham Festival is the most important annual event for bookies, worth more than the Grand National and Royal Ascot combined,” said William Hill spokesman Jon Ivan-Duke.

Sir AP McCoy is an ambassador for William Hill and he says although he was tempted to come out of retirement, he won’t be getting back in the saddle for this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup.

McCoy: “You do sometimes think when you get on a nice horse like More Of That, ‘I could ride another Gold Cup winner if I rode him’ but even though I’ve had a lot of bangs on the head, I’m not stupid enough to come back.

“It’s better to have people ask ‘why did you retire?’ rather than ‘why haven’t you retired?’.”

More Of That is McCoy’s pick for this year’s Gold Cup which takes place on Friday, with the 20-time Champion Jockey providing daily selections for William Hill.

The feature on the opening day is the Champion Hurdle, a race that AP McCoy won three times.

“My dark horse for the Festival would be My Tent Or Yours in the Champion Hurdle. I think he has a good each-way chance in a race where Petit Mouchoir and The New One will be ridden positively. I think the one to beat is Yanworth given what he’s achieved. He’s won on two tracks that didn’t suit his strengths and Mark Walsh got off him the other day after schooling and said that he jumped brilliantly.”

Cheltenham Festival Top Facts – William Hill

  • William Hill will turnover approximately £60million on this year’s Cheltenham Festival
  • Across the bookmaking industry more than £350million will be wagered on the four-day meeting
  • Cheltenham Festival is the busiest horse race meeting of the year – for comparison it is roughly three times bigger than Royal Ascot (Flat racing’s biggest event).
  • The busiest race is the Cheltenham Gold Cup, where William Hill take at least 10,000 bets per minute
  • William Hill’s ‘High 5’ offer (if a horse wins by 5 lengths or more, you get a 25% win bonus if you backed the winner or money back if your horse finished 2nd) has resulted in turnover on horse racing increasing by 20% this National Hunt season. This can also, in part, be attributed to William Hill’s sponsorship of ITV Racing 
  • William Hill will have around 150 separate markets for each day at Cheltenham Festival, but £7 of every £10 wagered will be ‘on the nose’ win bets. Cheltenham punters really do have an ‘all or nothing’ approach to the Festival, which is why it has been referred to as the annual ‘Battle between Bookies and Punters’
  • William Hill’s worst result at the moment is Might Bite in the RSA Chase, who has been backed to 5-2 favourite from as big as 20-1 in December.
  • The one bookies fear most from Willie Mullins’ yard is Un De Sceaux in the Ryanair Chase. He’s currently 5-2 but could start a lot shorter
  • In the Cheltenham Gold Cup, three horses currently share favouritism at odds of 7-2: Cue Card (Trainer - Colin Tizzard), Native River (Trainer - Colin Tizzard) and Djakadam (Trainer - Willie Mullins)

Jon Ivan-Duke and Rupert Adams from William Hill will be on track at Cheltenham for all four days of the Festival.