The 2021 Cheltenham Festival will go ahead as usual this year, but with no fans in attendance this year.
Cheltenham Racecourse welcomes one of the biggest events on the British race calendar between 16-19 March this year in what will be a unique event.
Prize money for this event is second only to next month’s Grand National in the United Kingdom. The Gold Cup alone offers £625,000 to the winner.
However, the event usually attracts around a quarter-of-a-million visitors over the duration of the week. Those will be missing this time around.
Betting brands usually take a great deal of bets at the event itself but won’t be able to later this month, just like they took a big hit in 2020 from April onwards when fans weren’t allowed to attend events due to the worldwide pandemic.
Betting shops are also closed. Instead, bookmakers will be reliant on fans to place their bets online this year. That has been a good source of places to bet over the years but it’s unlikely to make up for the in-person betting that usually goes on at the racecourse itself.
A number of bookmakers will be competing for the best odds and offers heading into the event. Among the best prices are one of the most popular bookmakers on the High Street – William Hill taking bets on the 2021 event as usual.
Expect bookmakers to offer bigger bonuses and prizes as ever as they compete with the attention of fans solely online this year. Hundreds of millions of pounds are wagered over the course of the event usually. The 2021 event will be unique in so many ways as a result of the current global situation.
Expect the television audience to remain the same, if not be even greater as fans can’t attend in person. Though the event does take place during work hours.
Most of the big festivals conclude over the weekend but Cheltenham is different in that sense as it takes place on four weekdays.
The festival concludes on Friday with the main attraction with the Gold Cup race. Will Hill currently have the best price on Al Boum Photo to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup for a third successive time at 11/4.
Fans will be tuning in for the event scheduled for 15:05. And with a greater number of people working from home than ever before, there’s no reason for anyone to miss the event if they want to watch it.
Willie Mullins’ Al Boum Photo won at Tramore on New Year’s Day this year to make it three successive victories, having entered the Gold Cup as 100/30 favourite 12 months ago.
Jockey Paul Townsend will be looking for his sixth victory at this festival, which would put him one behind record winner Ruby Walsh since 1980.
The defending champion is followed by Champ at 5/1 and A Plus Tard at 6/1 according to the bookmakers. After that, odds are in double figures for the remaining field.
Jack Timms is an independent writer with 8 years experience in writing sports articles for various magazines and newspapers. Most of his work is on horse racing or football, and he has written for magazines such as Thoroughbred Racing and Luxuria Lifestyle. Jack lives in York with his dog, Poppins.