Whoever said that the horse racing industry in the UK was dying probably doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
That’s because the Cheltenham Festival kicks off today and judging by what sportsbooks are expecting, the four-day horse racing extravaganza is expected to fetch as much as £500 million in betting handle. That’s roughly $830 million based on current exchange rates, which would make it almost seven times as much as what Super Bowl XLVIII’s $119.4 million betting handle.
“The Grand National may be the biggest race but year after year the Cheltenham Festival bucks the trend for declining betting turnover on racing,” David Stevens of Coral told the Daily Star.
Evidently, a lot of bettors from all over the country will have their eyes on Cheltenham from today until Friday, and as many as 250,000 fans are expected to show up at the Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, which by the way would also be a record attendance in its own right.
Ladbrokes also predicted that record betting will be the theme of the four-day event as conservative estimates point to a 20 percent increase in turnover compared to last year. Turns out, a lot of British folks are expected to make bets at some point during the festival, including the most important race on the schedule, the Gold Cup.
Defending champion Bobs Worth is once again the odds-on favorite at 7/4 odds, followed by Silviniaco Conti at 3/1. Outside of the two contenders, the odds drop significantly with Last Instalment the next up at 7/1, followed First Lieutenant and Triolo DAlene, both of which are at 10/1. Giant Bolster is at 16/1, and finally, a three-way tie for the highest odds at 25/1 goes to On His Own, Harry Topper, and Lord Windermere.