The Cheltenham Festival is commonly referred to as “the greatest show on turf” for a good reason. It is one of those sporting events that attract the attention of punters and non-punters alike, as well as sporting fanatics and those who rarely pay attention to the newspaper's back pages.
Every year when Cheltenham rolls around, betting sites go out of their way to entice novice gamblers to take a chance and experienced punters to pony up just a bit more than they otherwise might. To that end, established and new bookmakers trot out many innovative betting schemes, including Free Bet offers for new customers that allow them to place their Cheltenham bets risk-free.
In this guide, we’re going to take a look at the top Cheltenham Festival 2023 betting sites, provide some tips on making smart bets, answer some frequently asked questions about the festival and more. Let’s get started.
Cheltenham Festival 2023 New Betting Sites
Let’s look at the best horse racing betting sites and Free Bets for 2023.
To take advantage of the 888sport Cheltenham Free Bet offer, you must sign up with the bookmaker the week before the festival. Every new customer will be eligible for 60 in Free Bets, 40 of which must be wagered on Cheltenham 2023. To take advantage of this offer, you must be a new customer, make a minimum first deposit of at least 10 and place a bet with minimum odds of 1/2 (1.50). Once your first qualifying bet has been settled, the Free Bets will be credited to your account and must be used within 7 days.
Bet365 have a Cheltenham Free Bet offer where new customers can bet 10 and receive 50 in Free Bets in return. To take advantage of this incredible offer, you must open a new account with bet365 during the 2023 Cheltenham Festival. Remember that the Free Bet amounts are not returned as part of any winnings and that your Cheltenham Free Bets must be used within 7 days of being issued.
Regarding Free Bet Offers for new customers, the Betfair Cheltenham Free Bet Offer is right up there with the best. Betfair is calling this promo their “Grow your roar” campaign, which will run from late February to the start of the Cheltenham Festival 2023. Here's how it works. During each of the three weeks leading up to the festival, you bet 20 and receive 10 in Free Bets that you can then use to wager on the Cheltenham Festival itself. New customers only.
Cheltenham Festival betting sites are tripping over each other to attract new customers, and this Betfred Free Bet Offer is a good example of that. Betfred will gift you 60 in Free Bets when you open a new account and make your first bet a 10 wager on horse racing. Imagine what you could do with 60 in Free Bets the day Cheltenham gets underway! Just remember to use the promo code TELE40 when signing up and to place your first bet within 7 days of opening your account.
If you like the idea of getting back 3X the amount of your initial wager in the form of Free Bets you can use on Cheltenham, BetUK have an offer you can’t refuse. Just open a new account in the days leading up to the opening of the Cheltenham Festival 2023, make an initial deposit of at least 10, make a first bet of 10 with odds of at least 1/2 (1.50) and you will receive three 10 Free Bets in return to use on Cheltenham.
BetVictor goes one step further than BetUK in its efforts to snag new customers wanting to participate in this year’s Cheltenham action. Just open a new BetVictor account before the festival, make sure your first bet is for at least 10 on horse racing with odds of 2.00 or greater, and you’ll receive three 10 Free Bets to use on Cheltenham plus a 10 Slot Bonus to use in their casino. You need to place a qualifying bet within 7 days of opening your account, and once issued, the Free Bets expire in 7 days.
If you’re looking for a simple way to acquire some Cheltenham Festival 2023 Free Bets, consider Betway’s new customer Free Bet Offer. All you have to do is open a new account, make a minimum deposit of 10 and place your first bet with odds of at least 1.75. Do that, and your account will be credited with a 10 Free Bet you can use to get in on the Cheltenham action. Remember you’ll need to make your deposit using a debit card, and your Free Bet expires 7 days after being issued.
Paddy Power gets to the point with their Cheltenham 2023 Free Bet Offer. All you have to do is open a new account, enter the promo code “YSKWDY”, and make your first bet a Cheltenham wager. If your bet loses, Paddy Power will refund the value of your bet with up to 20 in CASH. Use the 20 to place another bet, or withdraw it and buy a couple of pints at the pub, up to you. Remember that your first deposit must be made using a debit card.
New punters won’t have to seek out the best new betting sites to get in on the Cheltenham action. All they have to do is go to Sky Bet, open an account, deposit at least 5 using a debit card and place a 5 bet on horse racing. As soon as that bet is settled, regardless of the outcome, you’ll receive one 5 Free Bet for every day of the Cheltenham Festival, plus a bonus 5 Free Bet to use however you want. That’s 25 in Cheltenham Free Bets for placing a single 5-wager. Not bad.
William Hill has enhanced their normal new customer promo just for Cheltenham week. If you sign up in the days before Cheltenham 2023 and make a first bet of at least 10, William Hill will credit your account with 30 in Free Bets. Of course, there are always T&Cs, and in this case, they stipulate your first deposit must be made with a debit card, your first bet must be a odds of 1/2 (1.50) or greater, and your Free Bets will be issued after your initial qualifying bet has been settled.
Cheltenham Festival 2023: Main Events
There is no shortage of world-class horse racing action at the Cheltenham Festival. This year there will be 28 races scheduled across four days (with 14 of those races being Grade 1 National Hunt races) and more than 4.5 million in total prize money up for grabs. That said, each day will have one Champion Race that attracts most of the most attention. Those races are:
Tuesday: Champion Hurdle
This is the premier championship race for two-mile hurdlers. Honeysuckle has won it the past two years with Rachael Blackmore in the saddle, but last year’s finish went right down to the wire. Will someone else break through this time, or will Blackmore put the finishing touches on a hat trick in 2023?
Wednesday: Queen Mother Champion Chase
The Queen Mother Champion Chase is considered by many to be the most prestigious race for two-mile chasers and always attracts a ton of action at the betting window. It is open to horses five years and older and is run on the Old Course at Cheltenham. Last year’s winner was Energumene, with Paul Townend in the saddle, and they will be back again in 2023 to see if they can get lightning to strike twice.
Thursday: Stayers’ Hurdle
The three-mile Stayers’ Hurdle is open to horses four years old and older and is run on the New Course at Cheltenham. Flooring Porter, trained by Gavin Cromwell, has won the race the past two years and will be back again in 2023, hoping to gain the hat trick. Unlike last year, where Flooring Porter ran away from the field, Cromwell’s charge is slated to face stiff competition this year.
Friday: The Cheltenham Gold Cup
This National Hunt race, considered second only to the Grand National in terms of importance, represents the climax of the Cheltenham Festival. The race comprises 22 fences spread out over 3 miles, 2 ½ furlongs and is open to horses five years old and older. Last year’s winner A Plus Tard with Rachael Blackmore aboard, will be back in the gate in 2023, hoping to repeat but will face stiff competition from the likes of Galopin des Champs and Stattler.
Using Your Free Bets for Cheltenham Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4
Looking for the best way to use your new customer Free Bets at Cheltenham? Consider the following, which represent some of the most popular types of wagers placed on days 1, 2, 3 and 4.
Day 1 at Cheltenham is Champion Hurdle Day and a chance to establish your wagering prowess for the coming days. Typically punters gravitate toward the best odds guaranteed and Non-Runner/No Bet options on Day 1. The best new betting sites know punter tendencies and shape their offerings accordingly. For instance, Sky Bet offer Non-Runner/No Bet on all Day 1 races.
On Day 2 at Cheltenham, the Queen Mother Champion Chase takes centre stage, and betting sites shift their emphasis accordingly. Enhanced odds tend to be big on Day 2 and are typically easy to spot. Just navigate to the Cheltenham page on your betting site, and the enhanced odds offers will usually be prominently displayed. T&Cs are usually limited to enhanced odds wagers which only adds to their attractiveness.
Day 3 of Cheltenham is highlighted by the running of the Stayers’ Hurdle on the New Course. Experienced punters gravitate toward acca boosts on Day 3. Acca boosts are a great way to enhance your potential earnings to an insane degree. New punters might want to play things a little safer by opting for boosted odds which most betting sites will offer on many of Cheltenham’s 28 races.
Day 4 is when events at Cheltenham come to a head. An analysis of Day 4 betting activity at Cheltenham suggests that punters let go of any strategy that might have guided their wagering through the first three days and just go for it. If there’s a trend to be discerned from Day 4 activity, Money Back Specials appear to be a popular choice.
Choosing a Horse to Back At Cheltenham Festival 2023
No novice punter will master the art of picking winners at Cheltenham after reading a guide online. Nonetheless, if you use the following tips, you'll likely improve your odds of cashing in on the Free Bets you earned by opening a new account with an online bookmaker.
Tip 1: Focus on the trainers
The jockeys get most of the attention, but a champion horse would not be a champion horse without a world-class trainer. So, if you are trying to decide which horse to bet on at Cheltenham, make a note of the trainer. If their name is Willie Mullins, Nickey Henderson or Paul Nicholls, you’re looking at a well-trained horse who should have a reasonable chance of ending up in the money.
Tip 2: But don’t overlook the jockeys
Right now, two names are on everyone’s tongue as we prepare for Cheltenham 2023. They would be Rachael Blackmore and Paul Townend. Both have enjoyed copious success at Cheltenham in recent years, and each is lauded for their strategic awareness, ability to meld with the horse, and competitive fire seemingly.
Tip 3: Consider the horse’s form heading into Cheltenham
Previous performance does not guarantee future success, but if a horse has been going gangbusters in the weeks leading up to the festival, you would be ill-advised to ignore that. Of course, you never know when a long shot might race to the fore like a bolt from the blue, but a hot horse is often a good bet to wind up in the money.
Tip 4: Be aware of market movers
Cheltenham is one event that attracts as many novice gamblers as it does experience punters. Because of that, odds tend to be very fluid, with horses constantly gaining and losing favour with punters. For that reason, it could be useful to note which horse attracts attention as you get closer to post time.
Tip 5: Experience matters
Cheltenham presents significant challenges for even the most well-trained horse. The hectic pace, numerous jumps, and the punishing hill up to the run-in have combined to get the better of otherwise outstanding horses for generations. For that reason, horses with previous experience at the festival can often have a significant advantage over horses that appear for the first time. So keep that in mind when using your Cheltenham Festival 2023 Free Bets.
Tip 6: Be patient
People with little knowledge of horse racing or Cheltenham can do themselves a favour by not jumping in with both feet (or both Free Bets) on Day 1 of the festival. That applies to experienced punters as well. The smartest course of action is often to be patient and monitor the early results. Note who wins on Day 1 because an early victory can often give a rider a huge confidence boost that carries over into Days 2, 3 and 4 of the festival.
Tip 7: Make use of the information superhighway
Nowadays, information is king, and more information has never been available about every conceivable subject, including horse racing in general and Cheltenham in particular. So in the days leading up to the festival, put the internet to work for you by researching the horses and riders slated to appear at Cheltenham Festival 2023. Many Cheltenham Festival betting sites have page after page of information on participants, along with expert picks for every event. And don’t forget sites like Racing Post and Timeform.
Tip 8: Trust your gut
Regarding betting, there is no such thing as a guarantee. Even the most sophisticated AI prediction model cannot foresee an injury or a rider simply having a bad day. And let’s face it. If you spend time checking out all the Cheltenham predictions, you’ll see that the “experts” don’t often agree on anything. So what to do? Trust your gut, that’s what. If you’re about to use one of your Cheltenham Free Bets, but a little voice inside is uncomfortable with the selection, wait. The old saying goes, “When in doubt, don’t.”
Tip 9: Pace yourself
If you took advantage of some Free Bet offers for new customers and acquired some Free Bets for the Cheltenham Festival, don’t rush to use them all. Maybe place a single wager on Day 1 to get your feet wet and then use the information you gathered from watching other races to inform the wager you make on Day 2. If you’re lucky enough to cash in on one of your Free Bet wagers, relax and take the same patient approach to the rest of the festival. After all, you don't want to burn out and be without options when The Cheltenham Gold Cup rolls around on Friday.
What is the Cheltenham Racing Festival?
The Cheltenham Festival is the largest National Hunt meet of the season and attracts the biggest names in the sport from the UK and Ireland. The festival comprises 28 races spread over four days in mid-March every year. Like the Triple Crown in the US, Cheltenham garners attention from racing and non-racing fans drawn to the history and pageantry.
Each festival day features a different Champion race, with Day 4 culminating in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The four-day festival saw record attendance numbers in 2022, with more than 73,000 per day. However, complaints about overcrowding led organisers to impose an attendance cap of 68,500 per day starting this year (2023) and going forward.
When is the Cheltenham Festival Held?
The Cheltenham Festival is typically held during the third week of March and often coincides with Saint Patrick’s Day. The Cheltenham Festival 2023 will commence on Tuesday, March 14 and run through Friday, March 17, which also happens to be Saint Patrick’s Day this year.
What is a Free Bet?
A Free Bet is a contemporary manifestation of the age-old notion of “house money”. It is a gift extended to new or existing customers by the house (the owners of the online betting site) to reward them for opening an account or to acknowledge their loyalty to the site. When the customer meets certain deposit or betting requirements, the online bookmaker credits their account with a certain amount of house money that can be used to place future bets. The Free Bet amounts, however, cannot be withdrawn as cash and do not figure into any winnings produced by a successful wager.
What happens if a bet I made with a Free Bet wins?
The same thing happens if you win a bet with your own money. Your account is credited with your winnings, and you’re free to do what you want with those winnings. However, the Free Bet amount is not included in the winnings, and once you use that house money, it is gone for good.
Who offers Free Bets for Cheltenham?
All the top UK sportsbooks offer some form of Free Bet promo related to the Cheltenham Festival The best Cheltenham bookmaker offers provide 40, 50, even 60 and more in Free Bets that can be used to get a taste of the Cheltenham action. You might wonder why they do that. But the reasoning is both simple and sound.
Every business must attract a steady flow of new customers, even bookmakers. The best time for bookmakers to do so is during major sporting events like the World Cup or, in this case, the Cheltenham Festival because that’s when most people are paying attention. The bigger the audience, the better the sportsbook’s odds of finding new customers.
Can you cash out the Free Bet amount?
In a word, “No”. Free Bets aren’t ever really yours to cash out. When you receive a Free Bet, what’s happening is the bookmaker is saying you’re good for that amount. It’s a calculated loss. The sportsbook assumes that they know that if they give a little now, they’re likely to get a lot back in the long run. Free Bets are just another kind of house money.
Can I use a Free Bet on anything?
All Free Bets come with strings attached. Some come with more strings attached than others. What you can and cannot use your Free Bets on will be laid out in the T&Cs of each website. Some will require you to use them only on a particular event at particular odds, while others will let you use them on almost any sport they cover. Free Bets almost always have expiration dates as well, so if you don’t use them within X number of days, they expire.
What is Non-Runner No Bet?
It is not uncommon for a horse to be a late scratch. The owner decides at the last minute to withdraw their horse from a given race. Often a horse is pulled from a race after people have already bet on it, in which case they lose their stake. When a race is designated Non-runner/No bet, you can rest easy knowing that if your horse is scratched at the last minute, you can regain your stake.
What does best odds guaranteed mean?
Sometimes people place a bet on a horse at certain odds then the odds change for the worse, and they have to accept the lower odds. However, if the bookmaker offers the best odds, everyone is guaranteed the maximum payout even if they placed their bet at lower odds.
Where can I find results for the Cheltenham Festival 2023?
All the best new betting and long-established sites have dedicated Cheltenham Festival pages displaying results from all the races.