With only a few days left in the Countdown to Cheltenham, SBC has continued to question the betting industry’s major operators on what to expect at the four day event.
Speaking to Leon Blanche, Head of Communications at BoyleSports, he explained why the Irish bookmaker has held off ‘on going Non Runner No Bet’, and how promotional offers are helping BoyleSports get ‘festival ready’.
SBC: How is BoyleSports getting ‘festival ready’?
Leon Blanche: Promotional offers have been decided well in advance, trading decisions are made on a day by day basis, so it’s just business as usual with the stakes a lot higher.
SBC: What role will request a bets and promotional offers play in engaging punters with this year’s festival?
Leon Blanche: Promotional offers are there to reward existing customers as much as to attract new customers. We are offering ‘Money Back if your Horse finishes 2nd or 3rd’ to the Starting Price favourite in all races at the Cheltenham Festival.
Throw into the mix that we will be offering extra places in certain races and enhanced show prices. We believe our customers are getting the very best product offering and a very fair crack of the whip.
SBC: Three of the shortest-priced favourites of the week have been lined up to race on the Wednesday of Cheltenham Festival – is this a worry for BoyleSports? and how does BoyleSports plan to mitigate the risk of a ‘Wednesday wipeout’?
Leon Blanche: It’s not a worry at the moment, obviously if results start going against us we will need to shorten horses later in the day, but if the 3 short ones do win on Wednesday we are only at half-time and still have it all to play for come Thursday and Friday.
SBC: Data has suggested that this year’s Cheltenham Festival has attracted – on average – 40% more ante-post punting in comparison to last year. Why do you think this is? And what has BoyleSports done to capitalise on this?
Leon Blanche: We have consciously held off on going Non Runner No Bet as we feel it suffocates any real value out of the market for antepost customers. The whole point of ante post betting is you the customer taking a chance on it running therefore getting better odds, Non Runner No Bet goes totally against that.
SBC: The Gold Cup hasn’t been defended since 2004, what are the chances of current joint favourite Al Boum Photo doing it for Willie Mullins this year?
Leon Blanche: His preparation has been exactly the same as last year when he won the Gold Cup and he is slightly going in under the radar as he has only had the one run so far this season. He has to have a massive chance and is possibly still improving. Whatever beats him will win it.
SBC: And finally, are there any runners that SBC readers should be keeping an eye on?
Leon Blanche: Silver Sheen did plenty wrong but still managed to win the Pertemps qualifier in Warwick . He is 6lbs higher now but looks to have a lovely racing weight. He will do for me.