Cheltenham Festival 2018 – Betting on a budget (Day 1)

Today marked the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival and to conclude our coverage of the first day I present to you my betting on a budget diary for the opening of the 2018 festival.

Earlier on today we posted the results of the opening day’s tipster league, a post you can view here.

In terms of my betting diary the premise is simple. It is to showcase the fun and variety of bets you can have, whilst sticking to a reasonable budget. I like to show that you can enjoy backing the horses without breaking the bank.

As someone who worked in a bookmakers for over two years I have had a lot of experience of the betting industry and have seen the highs and lows a punter can go through. First and foremost I would always encourage you to gamble responsibly. If you do not have the money or are not enjoying the experience then you need to stop. For more information about responsible gambling, please visit

So, let us take a took at today’s bets. Firstly, the daily budget is £12.00. The opening day to the festival is always a cagey one and you never know if it will be a day for the bookies or the punters, so I played it safe. I stuck to Lucky 15 bets and a double predominantly. For those who don’t know a lucky 15 is a bet made up of four selections and you put a unit stake on 15 individual bets (singles, doubles, trebles and the 4-fold accumulator.

Lucky 15 1: 10p each way unit stake = £3.00

4.50 Cheltenham – Rathvinden 6/1 (Winner)
2.50 Cheltenham – Beware The Bear 14/1 (Placed)
4.10 Cheltenham – Jer’s Girl 11/1
5.30 Cheltenham – De Plotting Shed 13/2

This is a decent bet to start off with. Due to the fact the bookmaker of choice for today Paddy Power (others are available) have a treble the odds on one winner in a lucky 15, I was able to still rack up a decent return. For the win aspect of the Rathvinden result I collect £1.90. Collectively I should be due to collect approximately £3.34.

Lucky 15 2: 10p each way unit stake = £3.00

1.30 Cheltenham – Mengli Khan 16/1 (Placed)
2.50 Cheltenham – Cogry 14/1
3.30 Cheltenham – Wicklow Brave 11/1
5.30 Cheltenham – Tycoon Prince 16/1

As you can see this bet started off so well, with Mengli Khan running on strong in the opener to place for me. All this bet would have needed was a winner to go with it. A sign of the times during the big meetings though. Due to the fact the each way terms were a fifth of the odds I should be looking at 42p back off this bet. Not great.

Lucky 15 3: 10p each way unit stake = £3.00

1.30 Cheltenham – Debuchet 33/1
5.30 Cheltenham – Le Rocher 16/1
2.50 Cheltenham – Minella Daddy 18/1
3.30 Cheltenham – Melon 16/1 (Placed)

Pretty much exactly the same as the above lucky 15. All of my friends from a betting background will be laughing and screaming at the same time. Why on earth is Melon not on the same bet as Mengli Khan? Well, I instantly regret my selection placement. Usually I am more methodical with which horse I put in each bet. Today I didn’t do that. I literally just looked at which races I had done and hadn’t done. A bit amateur really. Once again another 42p will be collected.

The next bet I did was a betting favourite. The placepot. The placepot is a bet that is paid on the tote. What this means is that all of the money that is placed on this bet up and down the county goes into a pot and the pot is distributed amongst however many winners there are. You can win via a number of combinations and it is a bit of fun to have.

The selections in a placepot are the first six races of your selected meeting. On a standard line you pick one horse per race and it must place in order for your bet to continue onto the next selection. Basically, you need six horses to place.

Today my selections looked as follows:

1 x £1.00 line on the placepot

1.30 – Kalashnikov
2.10 – Footpad
2.50 – Vintage Clouds
3.30 – Faugheen
4.10 – Apple’s Jade
4.50 – Sizing Tennessee

The sick joke about my selections are that I had 5 of the 6 come in. Kalashnikov came 2nd, Footpad won, Vintage Clouds placed, Apple’s Jade finished 3rd as did Sizing Tennessee. The only one to let me down was Faugheen. I got a run for my money and it won’t stop me doing one tomorrow.

So if you have been keeping up I have two quid left to spend. I am about £8 down for the day. Can I salvage something? Let’s take a look.

1 x £1.00 each way double = £2.00

1.30 Cheltenham – Summerville Boy 9/1 (Winner)
5.30 Cheltenham – Barney Dwan 10/1 (Placed)

And there we go. Usually, the each way double consists of my fancies or what I would consider the Tipster League fancies. If there are two horses that a lot of the competitors are backing then I always feel it is worth getting on it too, even if they aren’t my selections in the league! Basically, if they have a good day then I don’t miss out.

Today’s double just so happened to be both. My fancies as well as the tipster league fancies too. Summerville Boy notched up the win in the first and it was a long four hour wait to see what would happen in the last. A nice fourth placed finish when Paddy Power are paying out four places sees me chalk up an each way double. Approximately £8.40 back on that.

In all I would say it was a decent day. I had a great run in all of the 7 races across the meeting. My obvious regret is having three lucky 15’s that have bits and pieces on them. I would be in a healthier position had I had the two individual places on the same bet. But we live and learn as we go. Going into day two at Cheltenham I will be starting by collecting approximately £12.58 (58p+). I would have happily taken that at the start of the day.

Onto tomorrow and day two of the Cheltenham Festival.

You can win a free £20 bet on Friday’s Gold Cup race courtesy of Severn Sport. All you need to do is click here and fill in the entry form. Competition closes at 23:59 on Thursday night.