Horse racing’s biggest week starts here with more than 200,000 racing fans expected to descend on Cheltenham racecourse this week. And with Constitution Hill tipped as a punters’ favourite, this year’s festival will no doubt be action packed.
Ahead of the four-day event, we caught up with FSB’s Head of Trading Risk Kyle Brady about why the Cheltenham Festival is such a pivotal week for the award winning sportsbook supplier and how it will showcase its racing heritage across its platform.
SBC: The 2023 Cheltenham Festival is on the horizon. Why is this such a big week for FSB?
KB: We’re an award winning UK-based supplier so the Cheltenham Festival has always been one of our heritage sportsbook events. To demonstrate that, all 28 races from last year’s Festival made our Top 30 horse races of 2022 by bet number volume.
Taking a broader view, horse racing generally is at the heart of our sportsbook offering and that’s reflected in the tools we offer operators, respect we have in the industry for this product and the depth of our racing-focussed partner portfolio.
We’ve achieved this by not cutting corners. We’ve built our in-house racing pricing model and supplemented that by acquiring premium data on the sport that allows our expert trading team to produce strong day-to-day margins for our partners.
If you look at the operator platform partnerships we’ve harvested in the last decade then our expertise rings true. Arguably there’s no more dedicated racing bookmaker than Fitzdares in the UK, our partner for six years across two global regions.
We launched Bet Goodwin 14 months ago on our platform and they’ve become one of the fastest growing UK bookmakers after delivering a really strong racing brand focussed on sponsorships, partnerships and of course a great product. So we have a winning track record in horse racing across our platform and our partners, and the Cheltenham Festival allows us to showcase our offering and demonstrate our skills.
SBC: You mentioned experience within the racing trading team. Tell us more about that and your own journey personally.
KB: Our racing trading team is a very close-knit operation, the heart of the team have been working together for a decade and work intuitively together for the benefit of our partners
We truly understand racing and we’re a match for any Tier 1 operator when it comes to management of trading and risk.
Before FSB, a number of us worked operator side and it’s fair to say we’re all passionate punters as well so we encompass the full industry ecosystem when it comes to racing knowledge.
With regard to my own experience, I’ve been in this industry for over two decades. I spent 17 of those years working with Sky Bet playing a key role in developing their core horse racing strategy at an offering and risk management level.
I also had a successful spell at the Press Association overseeing the globalisation of their horse racing data service. Now though It’s great to be part of a team at FSB that has so much expertise within its arsenal.
SBC: Outside of expertise, what else does your team and platform offer operators who want to make horse racing a core sport within their offering?
KB: Internally, our marketing team talks a lot about the four C’s. Choice, control, collaboration which leads to curation.
From a choice point of view, operator partners can take our managed trading and risk management service or they can trade independently or work with us on a hybrid approach.
The same goes for content. They can take our managed service package or look to add other feeds and integrations into their offering.
In terms of control, this is where our platform excels. Operators can structure their strategy in trading across price, limits and risk via our game changing tools. Having this control allows them to play a significant part in margin performance across racing and other sports.
Then when you add in the expert collaboration that our team offers, what you find is that partners are able to curate the precise horse racing offering they need for their players and their market. This is truly about close co-operation and empowerment
SBC: A little birdie tells me you were very sweet on Constitution Hill’s chances last year at the Cheltenham Festival. Have you got any tips for us this year?
KB: You’re very kind! Last year went well. I haven’t got anything to match Constitution Hill this time round but I do think Luccia will go well in the Mares Novice Hurdle on Thursday. Edwardstone should follow up his Arkle win last year with Champion Chase glory on Wednesday.
He’s had an unlucky season to be honest after his Tingle Creek win with an early fall in the Desert Orchid and then did everything wrong in the Clarence House in January but was just narrowly squeezed out by an excellent ride.
At a bigger price I’d nominate Happygolucky in the Ultima on Tuesday. He was second in the race in 2021 and ran a stormer in the Rehearsal Chase in December behind the talented L’Homme Presse. I’m expecting a big run here and in the Grand National next month.