• Which Bookmaker?

    I will always be a small punter. Scouring Oddschecker for best offers and prices. If all that is beneath you or you bet in big numbers, then this bit may not be for you.


    I hope here to have the 2024 Offers as they materialize. But I find it much harder now. There really are very few differences between them all. For obvious reasons you are unlikely to find any constructive feedback views on specific bookmakers on any sponsored Podcast, TV Racing Channel or Racing publication.

    Remember, this week of all weeks, try to make them bookies work for your cash.

    BetMGM are a suspicious new firm (maybe it's just me). New Customer Offer Bet £10 get £60 back in free bets ( 4 x £10 Horse Racing Singles 2 x £10 Accas (doesn't say which sport). Might be ok if it works though I cant find the rules about getting your money out should you be fortunate.


    Skybet - £5 back as cash if your horse loses in the Supreme. Be careful how you opt in. Only a Tesco but because of tax reasons the heady days of free £20 note are gone. Fair enough.


    Skybet have ceased their free no expiry £6 horseracing bet if you spend £30 a week. Loved this cos I just hoarded them up over the 12 months and used them as an ante post tank. Now it is 2 x £3 free ones to be used on racing accas with a six day expiry. That's that fun over.


    From @falbrav - Corals offer - place a £5 bet ante post on cheltenham this week(by Sunday 11.59pm) and get a free £5 bet to use at Cheltenham tue to fri - opt in required.


    Betfair Sportsbook - Free Multiples offer every day of the Festival - I don't get them so check t&cs


    26th February - A nice Tesco (every little helps) from WHills. A free £5 bet every Cheltenham Raceday from the 26th Feb. Got this wrong initially so make sure you check T&Cs. The Epic Boost thing once a week thing and NRNB also help.


    Rory Delargy - 'nothing to be gained from backing early on the handicaps. Prices by and large better on the day.' Very true. Especially ew. At least 6 places available for every handicap on the day. Skybet 8 places 2022 the Coral, Pertemps and County Hurdles. Neil Channing @senseichanning has even changed his tune. 'now think it can now do no harm to wait to noon plus before committing cash to bookmakers.'


    2024 - Tote - Do £100 in bets each week, get a free tenner each week for the Festival. Not for me. Wouldn't normally do £100 a month on the Tote.


    2024 - WHills the first to go NRNB. Also the Epic Boost thing where a horse for any race can be backed at double the price. It's only a fiver but both concessions together worth considering.


    NRNB says Paul Kealy 'This concession has its place and a few weeks in advance it can be quite useful, but the chances are if you placed a bet in the two weeks leading up to the festival you struck a bad-value one. There will of course be the occasional steamer on the day, but the closer you get to the festival the less appealing the concession is because the bookies are still betting to around 200 per cent or more so they have readily allowed for a stack of non-runners. On the day you'd have been able to get better odds and better place terms than just a few days earlier – and you'll know what the ground is. Let's try not to fall for it. '


    During Festival week check place terms at https://www.oddschecker.com/ But you know that. Check your BOG terms. If there are any left.


    There aren't that many left to give you BOG. W Hills went in November. Skybet only on races where they don't give extra places. Betfair Sportsbook gone. Check T&Cs. Some don't make it that easy to find out (until you think you have won a few quid). Again, if your account has been restricted, this may not apply. Click here for On Line Betting Guide. Things may be different in Festival week.  




    Be advised, some bookies will change place terms during each day in order to compete with others.


    If doing placepots check out www.tote.co.uk. Try and do it at least one before midnight for next day's racing. Check their promotions but Tote sometimes give free bet to a tenner should it go down in the first leg. Win prices also will match SP. Free placepots being given out on their site every week. Minimum pool guarantees. Also tote + where if you're lucky enough to win, they increase your return by 10%. They have that Beat Benson Competition thing with is free, fair and fun. Trifecta/Jackpot rollovers to Uttoxeter Midland National the Saturday. And no chance of being restricted! A firm certainly getting involved in the marketplace.


    I wrote on the 10th March 2021 - BET365 yet to produce anything, any freebie or concession. I'd suggest that BET365's computer tells them that we are creatures of habit. 'They will bet with us anyway, so why bother? They tend to stay the same as any Saturday.' But, bless her, Denise does pay a lot of tax. In 2022, 365 started to throw free fiver bets out on each Festival day. To 'eligible customers.' They will make a big thing of matching prices of Corals Ladbrokes etc. Yes, they're all in it together. But if nobody moves, then nobody moves.


    I'm far from a big punter but even I rarely bet on exchanges until no sooner than 15 mins before the off. That's when things will be different than the internet bookies.


    Click on oddschecker.com at 6pm the instant after the Pricewise selections are released online most days and you can watch the prices shrink. All bookies shrink prices if they think they are about to be knocked over, not always because they have taken a lot of cash. Segal selections tend to be well punted Day 1. The longer he goes without a winner, the less frantic it becomes. Also, they will be cut in the evening/morning but both Kealy and Segal selections regularly drift in the afternoon, especially on the exchanges.




    So what does all this it prove for the small punter? Well, first of all, it seems that if you are taking anything less than five places in Festival handicaps, you need to be seen to. That can't help on-course bookies. For me, each-ways don't make a big difference until in doubles and trebles. If I back a horse each way, I will also back it to win on the exchanges so that the place part becomes more of just a saver. £5 each way on a 20/1 third 1/5 the odds will pay you £25. 6/4 to your tenner. If you had had another losing £5 at 25s on the exchanges you are still a tenner ahead. If your fine selection had won you would be collecting £260 as opposed to £130. Each to their own.



    For extra places, you have to check Skybet first. That five or six bookies on the left hand side of Oddschecker will give you a steer as to what you should do. The only race in the 2023 Festival that Skybet was outgunned was when Powers/Sportsbook went four places in the Triumph. Their prices will be slighty shorter, mind you, especially on the mid range horses. Them's the choices.





    Things I Like To Remember


    Seems silly, but keep checking throughout each race day. Things change, not only prices.


    There will usually still be 150 6 day Entries in the Martin Pipe. Outsider of field priced at 33/1. That is at least a 500% overround. Unless NRNB and BOG and you 'get on' early, I would wait. On the day itself, in 2020 there were 6 places on offer from Skybet. In the morning the winner Indefatigable was 50/1, Outsider of field Mill Green 80/1 all afternoon, finished 6th. Nine times out of ten you'll get better win prices on Betfair Exchange. But you know that.


    This happens to me every year. I think there is antepost value and then the BETFAIR Exchange day of race win market will go up with the 48 hr decs. Whoosh. I am always amazed at what real value is. That's what happens with miniscule exchange overrounds.


    Bookies early (i.e. in the morning) - Betfair late. Overrounds on the Festival Pricewise tables in the morning close to 100% (thank you Matt Tombs). I know that there will already have been a lot of changes in those boxes but it stands to reason that the best bookmaker prices will probably be before lunch. WHills 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 afternoon for the machine? Especially if you can still get BOG. Bookmaker Prices rarely drift that much in the afternoon.


    Pricewise Tables in Racing Post - 2022 only 6 of the 28 winners were returned at a bigger SP than what could have been taken in the morning. Even with deductions for NRs which always favours the punter. You might not have got rich on three of them. Honeysuckle 8/11 from 8/13, Brazil 10s from 9s (though 19s on Betfair), Bob Olinger a more than fortunate 6/5 from 11/10. The other three were Maries Rock 18s from 12s, Commander Of Fleet 50s from 40s and The Nice Guy, 10s in the morning returned 18s. The biggest SP winning plunge of the week was Delta Work in the X Country 7s to 5/2 fav when the rains came. In 2021 only 8 winners returned an SP bigger than the Pricewise Tables. They were Vintage Clouds, Jeff Kidder, Galvin, Heaven Help Us, Sky Pirate, Flooring Porter and Gallopin Des Chaamps. Only one on Gold Cup Day. The final three winners on the Thursday, The Shunter, Telmesomethinggirl and Mount Ida all halved in price from what you read at breakfast time. At the 2020 Festival only 5 winners returned an SP bigger than early prices shown in those Racing Post boxes. They were Shishkin, Ravenhill, Aramax, Sire du Berlais and It Came To Pass. Betfair SPs of those five were also a lot bigger than returned industry SPs.


    Betfair Exchange Win Book Late - Just before the off and I mean as they are circling the start. This doesn't change. If you fancy a fat one and no one else likes it/amongst friends it's known as 'Gault's 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. It is only then that the layers are really pushing out the outsiders and keen to balance books. Betfair 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. If you haven't the time, take the Exchange SP on your Hail Mary. It Came To Pass 2020 Foxhunters Betfair SP 225, Industry SP 66s.


    Remember bookies love NRNB because we will never take the money out of our account but punt it on something else.


    And finally, and once again, try and make them bookmakers work for your cash. In the 2019 Ladbrokes/Corals list of biggest betting races in the UK, 11 of the top 20 places were filled by Festival Races. All seven of the races on Gold Cup day made it into the top 20, the lowest rated being the Martin Pipe in 19th. Only one Royal Ascot race, their Gold Cup, made it into the top twenty. And Ascot got all these extra handicap races in 2021 to help the levy? Such bollox, I ask you... 



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



    Remember Groundless Optimism Syndrome Encouraged by Alcohol. Never changes. Even at home. To paraphrase @icyestretro on twitter, 'you wouldn't drink that much on a Tuesday night and then drive the kids to school on the Wednesday morning. What makes you think you'll be any better at working out the Coral Cup?' Love it.