It’s the centenary year of the greatest show on turf – the 2011 Cheltenham Festival – and 27 top class races to get stuck into.
The Cheltenham Festival is my favourite week of the year both as a bookmaker and a horse-racing fan.
It’s the one event every year I never miss, and if you are lucky enough like me to be going to the Festival the atmosphere is absolutely incredible – in fact it’s electric.
But it’s also a great spectacle whether you are watching the live coverage on the television, or go for the hustle and bustle of the betting shop.
I opened my first betting shop in Manchester in 1967 just after the great Arkle had won the Gold Cup for three years on the trot.
I fell in love with Cheltenham back then and on Gold Cup day I had people queueing outside the shop.
The Festival has been good and bad to me in terms of cash. Last year was a shocker for the punters, yet the year before I lost over a million quid when Kauto Star won the Gold Cup.
The Grand National may be the peoples’ race but Cheltenham is four days of top national hunt action, and when it comes to jump racing, it’s the World Cup.
That’s why I want to give punters, whether they are familiar to Betfred or new customers, a Cheltenham to remember.
Whether it’s in my shops, on line or on the mobile I have some stand out offers. I’m best odds for all 27 races; I’ll be paying five places on the Coral Cup, Festival Plate and the County Hurdle – and on multiple bets I will be giving some fantastic bonuses.
However, speaking from my wallet, the Festival will depend on the very first race, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Cue Card is the favourite and if this well-fancied horse wins I will return all losing bets. I know I am taking a very big risk but at my age I need a bit of fun.
But whatever happens in the annual battle between punter and the bookie, I wish you the very best of luck and I will always pay out with a smile.