The race between the Cheltenham betting guides
It’s a two-horse race between the Cheltenhm Festival betting guides
In the search for winners at the Cheltenham Festival, all manner of advice and guidance is available, to such an extent that it has spawned a mini-industry – a major part of which are the annual guides published by racing’s media.
To help you spend your money wisely, should you be thinking of investing in one of the Festival betting guides, here’s a look at what’s on offer.
That said, this year the field is reduced to two, as the Cheltenham Betting Guide compiled by Matt Tombs and published last year by Timeform, appears not to have made it to the start.
Which leaves the Racing Post and Weatherbys to battle it out for the honours with their two paperback books.
The Racing Post Cheltenham Festival Guide 2020 (£12.99), edited by Nick Pulford, is divided into two parts. The first features a look at the four days from different angles and by different contributors.
So, there’s a tipster forum, Q&A with bookmakers, and the views of Richard Birch, David Jennings and Nick Watts, with Alan Sweetman providing the Irish angle. RP Ratings and Topspeed get a look in, along with big-race trends and analysis of the major contests. There’s also analysis of the big stables.
The second half of the book is very much the work of Paul Kealy. Day-by-day and race-by-race he profiles the key players in the main contests, giving each one a star rating, plus a final race verdict. Jockey and trainer views intersperse the profiles
Every race is supported by 10-year trends, and horses to watch are pinpointed for the remaining events.
The Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide 2020 from Wetherbys (£15.95), now into its 21st year, doesn’t hang about, getting into its race-by-race coverage.
It begins on page 18, with writer Paul Ferguson providing extensive commentary for each race, primarily based on trends, picking out what’s significant for each race, from ratings and course form to trainers to note and market forces.
For every race there is a summary of the key trends, and, for the main contests, there are profiles for half-a-dozen leading contenders.
Each day is summed-up by detailed contributions from Matt Bocklebank, Rory Delargy and Ben Linfoot. There’s also a look at the Irish contenders by Donn McClean.
Throughout the guide, there are pages devoted to such topics as bankers, bumpers, course characteristics, and time figures.
There’s also a significant extra with a Grand National Betting Guide focusing on a dozen of the Aintree races.
So is there a winner of this two-horse race?
The Wetherby guide is a bit jumbled and seems to have even confused the publishers who say that a section on Handicap Winners is on page 34. It isn’t.
There’s a huge amount of detail but the text is a bit dense in places and there’s inconsistent use of headings from race to race. You’ll need to invest a bit time to glean all the gems of wisdom from its pages.
The structure of the Racing Post guide is much more straightforward, and the priority is to examine the horses rather than the trends.
Notwithstanding the bonus of the Aintree coverage in the Wetherby’s guide, it’s the clarity of the Racing Post guide that wins the race by a short-head.
♦ A different format is Cheltenham: The Ultimate Guide from the Racing Post
As a newspaper, it enjoys a later press time, which means it has almost all the entries in racecard format, and provides Racing Post Form.
And, like the Post’s Betting Guide, it draws on its regular contributors to select their best three horses in each race, with a short piece on their thinking. Major races contain extensive horse-by-horse profiles, and 10-year trends are a prominent feature.
There are also supporting feature articles to complete the package. At £3.75 it offers great value and is the preferred guide.
More for Cheltenham
Key runners in the Festival championship races http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3vE
Key runners in the Grade 1 novice races http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3vh
Key runners in the Festival handicaps http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3vs
Festival jockey stats http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3uo
The Cheltenham Festival Betting Guides http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3xl
The Secret Racegoer plans a Festival shopping spree http://wp.me/s8e3Dl-13518
Gary McKenzie’s early look: novice races http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3r1
DC’s Each Way Cheltenham Festival Lucky 15 http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3pY
Cheltenham Festival Preview Nights http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-3oD
Cheltenham: the early years http://wp.me/p8e3Dl-1EQ
Getting to Cheltenham http://wp.me/P8e3Dl-h4