The Cheltenham Festival & Gold Cup: How to Prepare for Horse Racing Events

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Blue background with white text on left saying "The Gold Cup and Cheltenham Festival" and an image of horses running across a 2D map of the UK.

Horse racing is one of the most bet-on sports worldwide and the United Kingdom represents a significant market for these history-laden events. While football remains the most popular sport both globally and within the UK, horse racing comes as a close second in the country with over 6 million people in yearly attendance.

“Horse racing is the core business for traditional UK bookmakers, despite the immense popularity of other sports like football and tennis. The Cheltenham Festival is the jewel in the horseracing crown and offers a great opportunity for operators and affiliates to work together.” Paul Colley – BetGoodwin

In this article we will explore the Cheltenham Festival and its pinnacle race: the Gold Cup. Additionally, we present key tips and tricks that operators and affiliates should keep in mind to keep players interested and make the most of these popular betting events.

What is the Cheltenham Festival?

The Cheltenham Festival is a four-day horse racing event that occurs in the Cotswolds region of England. The famous course has been a home to the sport since 1815 and is part of the National Hunt racing program – this refers a type of race where horses need to jump over obstacles. There are two main variations of jump races which are called “hurdles” and “steeplechase.” In the former, horses only jump over standard hurdles, but they must jump over “a variety of obstacles that include plain fences, water jumps and open ditches” in the latter. (Source: Horse and Hound)

There are seven races on each day of the festival this year, which starts on March 14th and ends on March 17th. Each day will have new jockeys and horses, meaning every race will be slightly different. However, of all the races, the most popular and lucrative remains the Gold Cup which is the last race on Friday the 17th.

The Gold Cup is the most popular and prestigious race at Cheltenham and is the pinnacle of the festival. A classic steeplechase with various obstacles, the race is a true merit to both the horse’s and jockey’s skill. With the winner’s prize money being second only to the Grand National, the Gold Cup is a widely recognized event for all racing fans.

Operator Strategies to Prepare for Racing Events

Betting on horse racing has changed over the years from only in-person betting at the track to sportsbooks offering online options. Now, operators have a lot to consider when trying to attract punters and keep them engaged. From our experience and research, here are some key tips to keep in mind when planning your player-acquisition for horse racing.

  1. Partner with local influencers and horse racing pundits such as past winners to lend expertise and trust to your brand.
  2. Provide in-depth analysis of horses and jockeys such as past performances and running lines, which show how well they performed in recent races.
  3. Include live streaming of the events, if possible, as more and more platforms do so and audiences enjoy the integration. In-game betting is also a trending feature that players look for.
  4. Optimize your mobile betting platform and apps as many punters may choose to bet on the go. In the last year, over 56% of UK sports bettors used their smartphones to place a bet.
  5. Stay competitive with new promotions and bonuses for both new and returning players. By offering improved options for your players, you will build brand loyalty.

“Major racing events like the Cheltenham Festival attract proper punters who know and enjoy the sport. To satisfy their betting needs, we spend months following the likely runners, the favored trainers leading up to it, and deliver our best bundle of offers to those customers.” Lester Fernandes - BetZone

A 2018 study found that out of all sports, horse racing fans were the most likely to also place a bet on the sport with over 97% of viewers betting on it. This emphasizes just how crucial it is to make sure your brand stands out for horse racing fans and how important continued brand loyalty is. When so many fans choose to bet, racing operators must maintain a great player experience and competitive advantage.

Affiliate Strategies for Horse Racing

Similar to operators, affiliates must also curate an informative and competitive profile to attract more players. One way to do this is to create unique content to display your expertise on the sport and upcoming events. Being able to identify potential winners as well as provide compelling stories for the races will enable you to connect with users and grow their trust in you.

To learn more about affiliate marketing strategies for horse racing, check out this article.

The Takeaway

Horse racing is one of the oldest forms of sports betting and is considered a traditional form of gambling. However, it has evolved over the years as technology and betting habits have also changed. Events like the Cheltenham festival and the Gold Cup Race continue to garner millions of fans from around the world, as spectators and online viewers. With this in mind, operators and affiliates will need to evolve as well and these tips should provide a good start – we can’t wait to see how this space grows in the near future!