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Cheltenham Festival Dominates Top Betting Races

It’s renowned for being the biggest week in jump racing, and now the newest statistics have revealed that the Cheltenham Festival is becoming an ever bigger deal to betting shop customers, too.

Leaping to the very top of the turnover leaderboard, the festival accounted for 25 of the top 40 betting contests in 2018, up from 20 in 2017 and 15 in 2013.

The growing dominance of top quality National Hunt racing was also emphasized by these latest figures, with only 10 of the 40 races being flat contests, compared to 16 the year previous.

The favourite pick for once-a-year punters and more of the most popular races

It’s no secret that the Grand National has long been a favourite for once-a-year punters. It’s the race that sends people who fancy a flutter to sites like Oddschecker, to find the best welcome bonuses for those in search of a bookie and desirous of placing a bet. With this a given, it’s little wonder it took top spot.

But it was not the only race at the Cheltenham Festival to rank highly. Second place went to another of its offerings – the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup – with the Investec Derby coming in third. These were among six festival events to place in the top 10 in 2018.

Interestingly, only three of the events 28 races failed to make it into the top 40 – proof, if ever it was needed, that the popularity and importance of one of racing’s biggest draws continues to grow relentlessly.

As expert Simon Clare explains: “Now when we talk about mass market events, only the Grand National is bigger than the Cheltenham Gold Cup day. All seven Cheltenham races that day are in the top 32.”

Jump racing takes the lead

The popularity of the Cheltenham Festival goes largely unremarked upon because it is such a widely recognised reality. What has, however, shocked many people is the rate at which jump racing is overtaking flat in terms of its audience appeal.

Indeed, the list went a long way toward illuminating a new trend: the growing mass market betting popularity of top-class jump racing generally. This was indicated by the presence of 16 National Hunt contests in the top 20.

Despite this, flat racing was not entirely absent from the list, with all five British Classics earning a place in the top 40. One result that was unexpected, however, was the declining popularity of the Oaks, which fell from 11th place in 2017 to 36th.

Conversely, the Arc, which barely ranked the year previous was propelled to 11th place in one fell swoop, likely because of both the presence of Enable – a bona fide racing superstar – and extensive ITV coverage.

Tell us, which of these statistics surprised you the most?