AHEAD of the Cheltenham Festival starting on Tuesday, bookies are predicting that it’ll be the biggest betting week in sporting history – expecting more than £1billion in bets across the industry. That amounts to 300,000 bets an hour this week, with more than 70% of punters betting on Ruby Walsh – who’s finished as the leading jockey at Cheltenham on 11 occasions.
The horse the bookies fear most is Footpad, the 5/4 favourite for Tuesday’s Arkle Chase. If the much-fancied horse wins the race, he’ll trigger the biggest pay-out of the week for bookmaker Paddy Power.
Spokesman Paddy Power said: “I didn’t sleep much last night – it was like a grown up’s Christmas Eve.
“This week will be carnage around the Cheltenham Festival, with it proving the biggest betting event of the year. If Footpad wins on Day One, it could turn into a very long – and expensive – week.”
OTHER CHELTENHAM STATS
£1billion Expected amount of bets during the Cheltenham Festival
300,00 Expected number of bets per hour during Cheltenham
5/4 Odds on ‘bookie slayer’ Footpad winning Tuesday’s Arkle Chase
70 Percentage of bettors who have backed Ruby Walsh
£12 Average bet during Cheltenham
In other Cheltenham news, DOUVAN has been cut to 5/2 from 4/1 for the Ryanair with Ladbrokes after connections said he was likely to be redirected there instead of the Champion Chase. UN DE SCEAUX has drifted out to 5/4 from evens as a result.
Nicola McGeady of Ladbrokes said: “Although we have shortened Douvan for the Ryanair, punters aren’t willing to risk backing him yet until a final decision has been made. If Douvan is confirmed for the race, then we expect his odds to shorten further.
Elsewhere, SAMCRO has been backed into 8/13 from 4/6 for the Ballymore.
If you fancy a change from Cheltenham and backing four-legged fancies you could always switch to an online casino to try your luck.
Back with Cheltenham and William Hill are gearing up for their busiest week of the year with the festival kicking off this Tuesday. William Hill alone expect to take £50 million and predict an industry turnover in the region of £250 million.