How The Cheltenham Declaration Changes Benefit Punters

How The Cheltenham Declaration Changes Benefit Punters

Notable changes huge for punters getting the early prices…

After the BHA announced landmark changes to the Cheltenham Festival surrounding the declaration times and how many races a horse can be entered to, we’ve put together a brief overview of how this will benefit us punters. The classic 24 hour declaration period has now been ditched and horses will now have to be declared 48 hours before a race, apart from the major championship races which include The Stan James Champion Hurdle, OLBG David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle, Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase, Ryanair Chase, Sunbets Stayers’ Hurdle and Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup. Along with this, horses will now only be able to hold entries for one race at the festival, something which is set to really shake up the antepost betting and that’s the first thing which we will take a look at.

Antepost Betting

Lets be honest, there’s nothing more excruciating than getting a big price on a horse antepost, seeing it get backed in then it runs in a different race. And vise versa, there’s nothing more satisfying than backing a horse at a tasty price, seeing it backed in then hosing up to win you a whole load of wonga. But all of this is about to change. Apart from the major championship races, you’ll almost certainly know which race your favoured horse is going to be running in. Obviously on some occasions horses are pulled from the festival completely but as it’s the pinnacle of the national hunt season, if a horse is entered in to the festival and is fit come race time, it usually runs. With you now having a far better idea of where your horse will run, it will however impact the odds massively. Most of the time leading up to Cheltenham, owners and trainers of key horses will play mind games with the bookies. A trainer might drop a massive hint that a horse with multiple entries will run in a specific race to bring the odds down and boost it for the other races, then run it in another race. It’s like a big game of poker. So with the new law restricting horses to just one entry in the festival, bar the major championship races of course, it will make the antepost markets far clearer. The best thing about this however will be when bookies go non runner no bet. This again is usually like a game of poker with the bookies against one another with none of them wanting to give too much away. However when one bookie goes non runner no bet, most will swiftly follow. This usually happens around January.

Reserve System

One of the things which will now be included in all handicaps at the festival is a reserve system, most notably used by the HRI. This will mean that horses who don’t quite make it into the final decs will still have an opportunity if another horse pulls out prior to the 1pm cut off time the day before the race. This will ultimately mean that once the final markets are released, you will be able to get a better price on your horse if it’s a reserve as the chances are it won’t run. The only disappointing thing about this is the time of the cut off time. It could potentially result in far smaller fields with trainers pressured to make a final decision quicker then really in theory they should have too.

More Time To Bet After Decs

This carries us through to our final point of betting time after the decs. With now two days to bet on the specific race instead of one, it’s only going to make betting more fun. This will make it easier for the punters to see betting patterns and to try and figure out where the trainers and connections are putting their money. Cheltenham Festival is notoriously one of the biggest weeks in sporting calendar and most punters choose to take it day by day but with the new rules and restrictions, you will now no doubt see far more people choosing to spread their major bets over multiple days.

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