Bookies facing challenge to stimulate Festival betting interest
As bookmakers face up to the challenge of stimulating betting interest on some of the Cheltenham Festival’s biggest betting races, Coral today opened betting on how many winners Willie Mullins will train at this year’s event and make between seven and nine winners their 11/8 favourite.
Mullins is just 13/8 with Coral to train ten or more winners, and 11/4 to train six winners or less.
Money continued to pour today on Mullins being crowned Champion Trainer in Britain forcing Coral to cut his odds again to 4/5 from 10/11, having been Even money yesterday.
“Never before has one trainer dominated all the conversations and all the betting activity in the build up to the Cheltenham Festival to the extent that Willie Mullins is doing right now. Every bet we are striking is on him or his horses and in many of the races ante post interest has stagnated due to the stranglehold his horses have on the markets“, said Simon Clare, Coral Spokesman.
“Whilst it is always a privilege to see great jump racehorses strut their stuff, the betting markets at Cheltenham thrive on competition, choice and opinions, and the presence of so many odds-on or short priced odds-against favourites in the big races at Cheltenham is likely to depress punter interest, and therefore turnover on these events,” added Clare.
“The opening day which is normally the most hotly anticipated for punters is probably the main concern for bookmakers as even the Mullins’ four-timer (Min, Douvan, Faugheen and Annie Power) is just under 8/1, which reflects how short priced these favourites are”, said Clare
“The challenge for bookmakers is to come up with innovative markets and offers to reignite punter interest in these races as we get closer to the Festival, but given what a bun-fight Cheltenham has become in recent years, I’m sure punters won’t be disappointed,” concluded Clare.
The Champion Chase and the Champion Hurdle were last year the 6th and 7th biggest betting races of the whole year in Coral betting shops, with the Supreme and the Arkle, 22nd and 29th in the list respectively.
** Willie Mullins Trained Cheltenham Festival Winners 2016
11-8 Seven to Nine, 13-8 Ten or more, 11-4 Six or less
** NH Trainer’s Championship
4-5 Willie Mullins (from 10-11), 11-10 Paul Nicholls (from Evens)