Arse-saver for Cheltenham punters already as Sky Bet serve up Non-Runner No Bet treat 6 months ago

Arse-saver for Cheltenham punters already as Sky Bet serve up Non-Runner No Bet treat

This could be a lifesaver for Cheltenham punters.

Everything in National Hunt racing revolves around the Cheltenham festival. From January onwards, the anticipation and the excitement builds.

The pre-Cheltenham trials and the top quality Grade Ones in the build-up are all class, but in reality, it's all about that famous week in March.

Trainers, owners and jockeys know it. All the focus surrounding their best horses is based on what race they're targeting for the Cheltenham festival.

Because the best horses can target a few. Just take Willie Mullins' hurdler Next Destination who won a Grade One hurdle in Naas on Sunday.

That horse is bordering favouritism for the Ballymore Novice' hurdle as well as the Albert Bartlett hurdle. Mullins even claimed in the aftermath of yesterday's triumph that there is a possibility the horse could go chasing, given the quality of his jumping from pillar to post.

It would have been slightly foolish for a punter, then, to put money down on the the Malcolm Denmark-owned six-year-old for one of those races, given that there was such a high chance he could go for another race. You'd be just throwing money down the drain.

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And the same goes for loads of other of the best horses in the lead-up to the Pretsbury Park feast.

Punters know it better than anyone. The real students of the Sport of Kings will have their biggest fancies picked out early, but they'd be hesitant to place Ante-Post bets given the very real possibility that they actually get no run for their money.

By not cracking the murky Ante-Post markets, they can miss out on some very generous odds. The bookies, inevitably, and understandably shorten their prices as the festival draws closer.

We are then left kicking ourselves when our sneaky suspicions from January, February and into early March end up in the best winner's enclosure of all on groundhog day across the water.

We could have made a killing. We could still.

Sky Bet have eliminated that problem, and in turn, they've raised the bar for the other bookies'.

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The firm are offering Non-Runner No Bet on all 28 races at the 2018 festival.

This means you can follow your sneaky suspicions without the fear of sickeningly losing out.

It's hugely beneficial for punters, who can get on at the highest odds possible. This deal has been offered a full month before they rolled it out last year.

Other firms, such as Paddy Power, introduced the non runner no bet deal for the five championship races last week, and may follow Sky Bet's lead soon.

Predictably, horse racing fans all over are buzzing.