The Cheltenham Festival 2020 has attracted almost 40% more ante-post punting in comparison to last year’s event, according to numbers released by Oddschecker.
The figures showed an increase of 39.6% in the total staked from 2019 to 2020 across the same period of 1 January to 18 February.
Similarly, the number of ante-post bets went up by 9.7%. This represents notable growth but a slowdown from last year’s 22.3% increase (2018 > 2019).
At the time of writing, Paisley Park (8/11) is the most popular ante-post pick, accruing 5.61% of all bets through the odds comparison network.
Benie Des Dieux (5/6) for the Mares Hurdle (5.4% of all bets) is the second most backed ante-post punt, followed by Envoi Allen for the Ballymore Novices Hurdle (4.8%).
Meanwhile, Cheltenham Festival traffic to the ante-post section has also been climbing since 2018, jumping by 6.3% from 2019 to build on last year’s 8.2% growth.
Oddschecker Commercial Account Manager Alex Keating said: “Over the last few seasons, we’ve seen heightened interest and scrutiny from punters in the Cheltenham ante-post markets.
“With various firms moving towards the ‘Non-Runner No Bet’ concession at varying times between January and March, there is a ‘security vs price’ dilemma to be had as bettors look to plot out their fancied runners journeys to the Festival.
“Many say that ‘ante-post punting isn’t what it used to be’, but this new variation is still providing plenty of interest for those looking to snip some early value for the Festival and still proves one of the most enjoyable ways to track the progress of a horse through the season, knowing you have a docket with a chunky price on it going into the Festival.
“Notably this year, William Hill, Ladbrokes and Betfair, amongst others, have yet to go NRNB on all races. With their prices fully standout on the Oddschecker grids for all of the major contests – this provides an extremely interesting problem for punters looking to take bigger prices around which races horses will contest over the fabled four days in March – and makes for a fascinating two month battle between punter and trader.”