• Which Bookmaker?



    I remain a small punter. Tenners, twenties, an occasional fifty and a one'r five times a year. But never on the Flat. I am not averse to Lucky 15s and to scouring Oddschecker looking for best prices. If all that is beneath you or you bet in big numbers then this bit is not for you.


    Remember. Racing papers, sponsored podcasts including The Final Furlong, TV stars such as Ed Chamberlain, Dave Nevison, Matt Chapman et al can ill afford to criticise individual bookmakers. Even now that the gaming machines are down at a £2 max.


    On this page you have the 2020 Offers as they materialize and Gstats 2019 Bookie Review and Awards.


    2020 Bookmaker Festival Offers - Check T&Cs

    2019 BOOKMAKER AWARDS ( & personal tactics).


    2020 Offers, Concessions and Views.


    2nd January - BETFRED first to dip the toe with NRNB the four championship races




    What Happened in 2019


    Mon - As far as I can see, the mighty Ladbrokes are offering you a max score free bet back if SP fav wins Supreme. And that is the sum total of Day 1 for them. Don't bother.


    Sunday - WHills join the game - Seven places in the Supreme.


    5th March - Betway back with the free bet up to £10 if loser first and last race each day. Never understand why these races?


    5th March - Boylesports back with free bet if 2nd or 3rd to SP fav all races. Meant to wean you off from backing the jolly. With Boylesports especially, check T&Cs.


    3rd March - Big boys joining in. Ppowers, up to a tenner, free bet back if your first bet finishes 2nd, 3rd or 4th in any race Day 1. Corals will double your winnings in cash up to £25 first bet, first race each day.


    25th Feb - Ladbrokes, Corals, bwin join the NRNB team. Make sure you check.


    22nd Feb - Skybet return with their max £20 cashback (real cash this time, not just a free bet) if your first bet loses on the first race each day. A very decent concession.


    Not trying to teach you to suck eggs but check each race on https://www.oddschecker.com/Cheltenham-Festival It is only then you will see the extra places and who is NRNB and BOG.


    21st Feb - Bookies love NRNB because we will never take the money out of our account but punt it on something else.


    21st Feb - Handicaps out. Be careful with antepost. Overround on all h'cap books until day of race will be 500% plus. If you get a great price NRNB BOG, fantastic. But on the day there will be more places on offer. All handicaps in 2018 paid at least 5 places, some 6. Skybet tend to be the Masters.


    15th Feb - Skybet announce no more Money Back 'as a Free Bet' which isn't money back, its just another go. They say from now on Money Back means Money Back, cash. Like that.


    10th Jan 2019 - Skybet are NRNB BOG all races. A fine offer.


    Bookies early (i.e. in the morning) - Betfair Late (just before the off). Overrounds on the Pricewise tables in the morning close to 100% (thanku Matt Tombs). Average SP overround for G1s in the last three years 120% for the 14 G1s, for the 10 handicaps each year it averages about 133%. It stands to reason that the best prices will be before lunch. William Hills and BET365 well known for standing prices for longer than most over these four days. Best to try and get most of your stuff done before lunchtime with a backup tank each day?


    If you fancy a fat one and no one else likes it/thinks you have lost the plot completely, wait until just before the off before taking a price on Betfair. And I am talking in the final minute as they circle at the start. It is only then that bookies are really pushing out the outsiders and desperate to balance books. Their ad says it all. Since 2008 94% of winners returned bigger on Exchange SP than bookies, and that's with the 5% commission taken off. Hard to argue with that. Also for a fat one, check the Tote, but it rarely returns bigger than Betfair Exchange and you obviously have to wait for the result to see what you've got.


    BETFRED, TOTESPORT only online bookies to give triple odds one winner in Lucky 15s. But BOG does not apply. Do not do this bet with PADDYPOWER online. NO bonus given for only one winner. Only given in shops. Quite mean and hard to believe that they even offer punters a Lucky 15 bet. The bonus is what it's all about?




    2018 Review and Awards


    The 'Best Offer' Trophy - Close thing this year but again the award is taken by Skybet for their money back as a free bet if your first bet lost in the first race on each of the four days. Down from £25 in 2016 to £20 in the last two years. We made full use of it because it sticks in your head. I know its not money back and its just another go and all free bets had to be used by the end of the Festival but its ok. A Tesco. Every little helps. Eased the Getabird and Apples Shakira pain a little for some.

    What wins it for Skybet were the places. Apart from the Supreme and the Triumph, in 17 of the 19 races where extra places were offered, Skybet were the best or equal best. Out on their own with six places in the Close Bros and Mildmay, five in the Bumper and GC. Joint best provider with six in the Pertemps, Coral and County.


    Commended - William Hill stole the glory from Ladbrokes by offering to double your winnings in cash on win and place bets up to a value of £100 in the Supreme. Ladbrokes announced their offer a few days earlier, similar double winnings in Supreme but only as a free bet up to £50. Hills only announce their big Day 1 offer on the Monday night and on the Pricewise pages. Don't compete on places, but do compete on price. They have that High 5 nonsense where you get 15% extra in free bets in your bet wins by 5l. Sure. Both Lads and WHill try to sell that booster thing where your bet increases by 1/8 point if you hit a coloured button. Exhilarating. Gone are the glory days when Paddy would adorn his funny tin hat and we would all construct books for real money back if the fav won the Supreme.


    The 'Its All Too Confusing' Salver - Winner - Paddy Powers - Less and less given back every year. Free bet up to a tenner if SP Fav wins any of races Day 1 was half the £20 that was returned in 2017. But that didn't continue throughout the Festival despite the Racing Post reporting they were doing it for all 28 races. No, Wednesday, just if Samcro won, Thursday, just the first four races, Friday, just if Apples Shakira won. Getting a bit sneaky, now, Paddy.


    The 'Also Rans' included

    Corals - The only high street firm to put that ad early in the RP Buveur D'Air 50/1 to £1 for new accounts etc. Not the week for that. Offered £25 as a free bet if your horse lost in the Supreme. Free bet up to £25 any fallers. The Tescos.

    Betway - Max free bet of £10 if your horse loses in the first or last race. Why those?

    Boylesports - Free bet if 2nd or 3rd to the SP Fav or faller at first or last fence. Again too difficult. You won't remember. Its slighty better than their usual 2nd to SP fav but its just a take on the usual con. No horse has ever been trained to finish second or third to the SP Fav unless in a four runner race when the jollie is 1/3. Oh, that's the race where the offer doesn't apply. An offer to tease you from backing the jollie.

    Ladbrokes made a big deal of guaranteeing multiple bets BOG between 1000 and 1330 hrs each day. But T&Cs in the small print below will tell you that's only to £1k max. Skybet were going BOG all Festival races from mid January. 24 hrs a day. No mention of restrictions on ny multiples that I could find.

    Betfred, Stan James, Betfair Sportsbook, Betvictor - No change from a normal Saturday. Very shrewd. BetVictor maybe working a bit harder in 2019 but Bet365 do little or nothing to entice us. They match the exchange prices with the front few and that's about it. They know that the vast majority of us will not shop about but stick to our usual habits, so why the need to give any extra freebees away?


    THE 'BOOKIE OF THE WEEK' GOLD CUP - SKYBET, the only major firm who work hard on the week and look as though they are competing for our money.


    I personally think that internet bookies are now so concerned with margins and knocking back winning punters that value has started to return to those punters who bet on course. Hard to believe but we do see it turning an a small on course firm.


    In 2016 the Paddypower/Betfair Combo grossed £330 million in the first three months of the year from all gambling. Goodness knows how much it is now. They stated in their stock market report that £250 million of that was taken in four days in the middle of March. 7th March 2018, just the day this Festival when Racing pages and sites are somewhat busy with the Tuesday Six Day Declarations, they release 2017 results. Operating profit of £372 million. I'm just surprised they don't release the figures on Gold Cup day itself.


    On this week of all weeks, make them bookmakers work for your cash.






    My personal betting strategy for Cheltenham 2019 - In the last 8 Festivals and since doing Gaultstats.com I have made £5500 profit. That's just under £700 a festival, and yes, no fortune. Last year was well in front until Gold Cup day when I then went mad on the ill fated Sir Erec and took a daft and expensive position on the Betbright Cup (or whatever it is now). Didn't cover the draw. Serves me right. However, I do consider myself fortunate if I am due a 'mare. Would win more if I cut back on the antepost. But hey ho.


    Tactics - In the week before the Festival, I go to Grahams Preview Night in the Europa Belfast. Tends to be an excellent and well run evening. David Casey and Gordon Elliott are always informative and interesting. I take the whole pre Cheltenham week off work making stats grids for each race from the 6 day decs. Takes forever but once in a while something odd will materialise. No antepost betting on handicaps. The price has probably already gone and there is every likelihood you will get bigger and/or more places on the day. Listen to Kevin Blake and Rory Delargy on The Final Furlong. Well worth the time spent. Mr Blake seems to have the respect of the Irish trainers, Willie, Gordon, Henry. They talk to him and he works for Joseph. Different bits of info. Rory's knowledge is encyclopedic and he's a lovely lad.



    Each Festival Day - (Nerdy stuff but we all have our own way.) Trust my stats grids. But be flexible enough to react to what is happening/momentum. Don't treat each race as a separate event. (Yeh, that's simple). Try to listen to very little during the week itself. Ignore beaten favourites last time out and course winners when punting in the handicap hurdles. (Coral Cup 2019, ouch). Actually consider the selections of Tom Segal and Paul Kealy in the RP. Kealy is less of a scattergun but Segal's record has improved over the last two to three Festivals. Also look at Tony Calvin, Betfair. He does like to tip contrary ones, which I like. Bit like himself, really. Write at the top of each RP racepage which bookie gives most places and those other daft offers. Its the only way I will remember. Bet ew with the firm that gives most places, usually Skybet. I can't see how 1/4 four places is ever better than 1/5 five places. It has worked for me in 2019, especially for ew doubles and trebles. Remember that Free bets usually only last 24 hrs in Cheltenham week. No more than three beers before the first race (but feel free to keep topped up throughout the afternoon).

    More importantly, have the good grace not to ruin everyone else's time if/when it goes txts up. After all we are on holiday. This year Eugene, Steve and I spending the week in North Down, my turn. Laptops, TVs and a decent constitutional walk every morning to The Imperial and back. We will try, but not too hard, to avoid the dreaded seasonal GO SEA*



    Remember, if you are at Cheltenham, and even if you're not, have fun.


    And please don't forget to give






    *Groundless Optimism Syndrome Encouraged by Alcohol

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Wealth Warning.  Any decisions made (or not) or the basis of any information in this site are the sole responsibility of the reader.  There is no obligation on me to follow my own advice.  I take no responsibility for (but am keen to hear of) any factual errors.  (Bgault01@gmail.com, @gaultstats). Previous years ‘stats on stats’ would suggest we may identify a decent priced winner from manageable groups every three or four races.  I tend to improve as a tipster as the week goes on, possibly too worried on the Tuesday.  It is believed that Savello (2014 Grand Annual) took from Golden Chieftain (2013 3m hcap chase) the record for breaking the most stats in a race.  Stands now at 8.  Cole Harden equalised with 8 in the 2015 World Hurdle.  Remember, after you have cursed/laughed at me and given up totally on trends, they will come back to bite.  Always happens.  Usually on Gold Cup Day. Oh yes, and if you're called Rory Delargy, you can't win the quiz too often.

Beware GO SEA - Groundless Optimism Syndrome Encouraged by Alcohol.  A Cotswold condition very common at this time of year.