Your A to Z Guide for the Cheltenham Festival
Racing Editor for bettingexpert. Always searching for winners "against the crowd" and trying to find the value.
Email : stephen at bettingexpert.com
With Cheltenham starting on Tuesday, BettingExpert's racing guru Stephen has produced an A-Z guide to the greatest festival on earth.
A - Atmosphere : The Festival is sold out every day from Tuesday through to Friday and there is nowhere in the world to match the excitement and sense of anticipation that builds up before the first race.
B - Bookmakers : For many the results at the festival determines the success of the whole year. For smaller independants it is there "chance" to field much more money than normal and pray for results at a venue that has a history for suprises in the fiercely competitive races. For the big firms, their traders bonuses and shareholders dividends are hugely dependent on these four days.
C - Cross Country Race : Not everyones cup of tea and the race in the middle of the course is usually controversial with riders regularly taking the wrong course.
D - Drink : The alcohol consumed over the four days is a huge part of what is effectively a giant beano.
E - Entertainment : Several Irish bands keep the crowd entertained before, during and after the days action.
F - Food : Cheltenham has several restaurants and fantastic catering facilities to deal with the huge crowds.
G - "Good" ground : Created after many months of watering and weather watching by clerk of the course Simon Claisse.
H - Hurricane Fly : The reigning champion hurdler is odds-on to defend his crown and carries the hopes of a nation.
I - In running : A small army of track players descend to the course bidding to take advantage of a much bigger than usual "stay at home" audience watching pictures several seconds behind real time.
J - Jumping is the name of the game : Horses are faced with the stiff Prestbury fences at a pace they are not used to in much bigger fields than in the build up.
K - Kauto Star : The veteran Champ has a huge fan club bedecked in scarves and T-Shirts supporting their hero.
L - Long Run : Defending champ hasn't impressed all in the build up to the Blue Riband but is still the one they all have to beat.
M - Money : Traditionally the Irish save up all year to smash into their fancies in a titanic battle with the layers. Estimates suggest over 500million will be wagered over the four days.
N - Nicholls : The champion trainer has endured a trying few months with coughing in the yard and injury problems surrounding some of his Ditcheat team. However, everything seems to be coming right at the right time and he is has a fantastic team lined up again.
O- Odds : For once Betfair is not dominant as a vibrant on-course market full of some huge opinions and players.
P - Prestbury Park : The beautifully panoramic course itself provides a backdrop unrivalled in the world.
Q - Quevega : The Irish Banker will carry the hopes of a nation as she bids for another victory in the David Nicholson hurdle.
R - Ruby Walsh : The best jockey of his generation rides the meetings banker in Big Bucks in the Stayers Hurdle.
S - Simonsig : Henderson´s top class novice is another short priced lump on job for many in the Neptune.
T - Tactics : With huge fields the norm and races run at a far faster pace than normal, the race-riding skills of the top jockeys shine through time and time again. Patience is usually a virtue with the races beginning a long way from home and the hill taking its toll.
U - Underpriced : The front end of the market is usually overbet with a massive crowd latching onto "names" unrelated to how short a price they may be. The value tends to lie away from the obvious if you can find it!
V - Vibrant : The Betting Ring will be buzzing as thousands of punters clamber to pile into their selections.
W - Wagers : with punters such as JP McManus sure to play in massive size, the wagers struck on-course dwarf anything seen in the rest of the year.
X - X-Rated : The fences have been modified in recent years and all will be hoping that X-rated falls will not cast a shadow over proceedings.
Y - Youth : In the handicaps in particular it pays to side with less exposed, younger rivals carrying less weight than their older foes.
Z - Zzzzzz : Will be required by all concerned after an exhausting four days of 27 top class races!!
You can follow Stephen on Twitter @stephenh61
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