Horse racing desperately needed a huge pick-me-up after two years of struggle due to the Covid-19 restrictions, and it certainly got to Prestberry Park last week when more than 280,000 people landed on the racecourse for the 2022 Cheltenham Festival.
The capacity crowd was treated to four days of exceptional racing, with many historic moments created along the way.
Not everyone was happy, however, as many leading online betting sites are preparing their white flags as the hosts of a fairly compelling choice in some of the main races. Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Rachel Blackmore was once again the hero of the week as she won the feature race on the fourth day in a dazzling fashion at A Plus Tard, her glorious fifteen-length win over Honeycomb before her champion Hurdle. Blackmore was, in fact, the first jockey of the century to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and champion hurdle at the same meeting, and while no one would hate him at this magical moment, bookmakers feared after his history-making achievement.
All in all, Cheltenham had less than a dozen favorites last week, although there were some positive moments for bookmakers, most notably the Tiger Roll Cross failed to get the fairy tale ending after finishing second in the country from Delta Work. Chasing. Another welcome result for the betting firms came when Queen Mother Champion Chase came to Odds-on favorite Shishkin after eight fences were pulled, with Nicky Henderson in charge rain-soaked soil having obvious problems.
These were just two of the few lights of hope for the bookies which was a great celebration for Ponter. That’s what the crowd wanted, and for four days the bookies may have beaten a bit, in the long run it will do wonders for the sport in general. Many of the best betting sites were promoting special offers for the festive season, and punters were spending their lives taking advantage of the many free bet bonuses, cash-back offers, price increases, and increased space in the main race.
For bookmakers, the busiest week of the year has now come and gone with some healthy profits with many happy customers. Cheltenham, as always, has given us a varied mix of results that will satisfy all different types of punters, with many strong favorites winning strongly and a handful of upsets for those looking for big price winners. Punters and bookies will now be looking to the Grand National and we will be able to make some more history on April 9 at Aintree.
At the end of the day, everyone has won!