The Build Up to Cheltenham

The Cheltenham Festival is one of the most eagerly awaited for horseracing events in the world as all the top horses from every corner of the globe take part in the dirt track field in Cheltenham for the ultimate Gold Cup prizes. This year, the Cheltenham Festival will run from 13 to 16 March 2018.

The horses that will take part in this year’s event were all unveiled towards the end of the year 2017 at the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival. As the hype starts to gather momentum around the 2018 Cheltenham Festival, experts have already started throwing in potential numbers and figures that will characterise this weeklong event. Some of these include bold claims, mentioning that the 2018 Cheltenham will attract over 200 000 spectators and over $500 million is expected to change hands via gambling.

Here is a list of our top picks that include probable favourites and some underdogs that may cause huge upsets.

Willoughby Court

Not many can argue with our first pick, we presume. Willoughby Court is arguably the best racer in the world right now. In 2017, Willoughby Court was involved in many races winning the majority of them. To close off the year, Willoughby laid out the perfect foundation for the 2018 season as he won the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival with much ease. Many thought the 17-1 odds that Willoughby Court started within the Carnival were value for money, but as the race started, it became clear to everyone that it wasn’t the case and rather quite an understatement as Willoughby Court won by more than three lengths. Going into the Cheltenham Festival, Willoughby Court is the clear favourite with 8.40-1 odds.


2017 was as good a year for Yanworth as it was for Willoughby Court. Yanworth capped off the year with an impressive second-place finish at the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival after putting in stellar performances in most of her races in 2017. According to bookmakers, Yanworth is one of the few horses that have the potential of stopping Willoughby Court from dominating the Festival with 10-1 odds.


The only time we saw Thistlecrack in action in the past year was in the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival. Thistlecrack spent the better part of the year on the sidelines with an injury. During his first race after injury in the Winter Carnival, he took an early lead, but eventually surrendered it towards the end of the race as it proved he still has to work on endurance. With 11.50-1 odds, if Thistlecrack can manage to work more on endurance before the start of the Cheltenham Festival, then his high odds can just turn out to be a bargain.

Beer Goggles

Before the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival, bookmakers had already given Beer Goggles 8.60-1 odds of winning at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival. However, after the Winter Carnival, they all revised their odds finally giving Beer Goggles 36-1 odds. For those who followed Beer Goggles during the Winter Carnival, this does not come as a surprise as he disappointed. Beer Goggles was expected to dominate the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival; he won in the end, but the win was a scrappy one, he just about managed to finish in pole position. The fact that Beer Goggles had many admirers proves that it is a good racer that probably had a bad day in office at the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival. Beer Goggle’s pedigree is not questionable and if he can put the recent poor performances aside, he can once again become the horse we all knew he was and if he can do so at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival. Those who take the risk to bet on him will go home with full pockets due to his impressive 36-1 odds.

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