However, according to freebets.ltd.uk, a website for the comparison of betting offers, racing bettors have shown greater interest in antepost bets this year.
The online aggregator has reported a "significant" rise in the number of antepost bets being placed by horse racing bettors, especially for key events such as the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National. In fact, many bettors have already placed their bets for the 2024 Cheltenham Festival.
Abbie Stewart of the free bets business comments: "The Cheltenham Festival is one of the biggest betting events on the sporting calendar. This is why it is always intriguing to see what bettors are interested in when it comes to bet types, markets and promotions. Serving a large community of racing bettors, we at freebets.ltd.uk have noticed a shift in behaviour this year, with a significant proportion of Cheltenham bettors opting for antepost betting markets. While it is hard to pinpoint the exact reason for this, the rise in popularity of Cheltenham previews and the growing racing community on social media are certainly contributing factors.”
What is antepost betting?
If you're a casual bettor, you may not be too familiar with ante-post betting. In short, an antepost bet is a bet placed before the betting market has opened. In horse racing, this is prior to the runners being confirmed at the final declaration.
Advantages of antepost betting
Placing a bet well in advance of the event will ensure bettors can back their selection at extremely generous odds. This means, if your horse wins, or is placed in an each way bet, you are likely to receive a greater return than if you place your bet closer to the race. However, if the selection suffers a dip in form or worse, does not enter your chosen race, the bettor is going to lose the stakes they've wagered before they even get going.
"This year antepost bettors were hit hard by the news that Allaho will not feature at the Cheltenham Festival. The Willie Mullins-trained nine-year-old won the Ryanair Chase in 2021 and 2022 and was a huge favourite to claim a hat-trick of wins.”
“After winning in 2022, Allaho was made 5/2 favourite for this year's race yet by January he was just 6/4. Antepost backers looked to have bagged outstanding value on a probable Festival winner yet he was withdrawn from this year's Ryanair Chase less than a month before the start of the Cheltenham Festival," continues Stewart.
Changes in antepost betting
As we approach the start of the Cheltenham Festival, many will have noticed a change in the antepost betting markets. Whilst the traditional antepost betting offers are still readily available, bettors can now opt for a little more security in the 'no runner, no bet' markets. The antepost (NRNB) odds are understandably not quite as lucrative as the traditional antepost markets but the offer of your money back if your selection does not run is highly attractive.
One example of this in 2023 is Marie's Rock. Nick Henderson's eight-year-old won the Mares' Hurdle in 2022 and was back in the Cheltenham winners' enclosure in January, recording a fourth straight win. She's expected to feature prominently in this year's Festival; the only problem is nobody is completely sure where she'll run. Marie's Rock is well-fancied to defend her Mares' Hurdle crown on the opening day but is also amongst the favourites for Thursday's Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle. Using the NRNB antepost market offers bettors the security of a stake refund if they select the wrong race. Alternatively, they can hedge their bets and back her to win both.
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