Cheltenham – Bah Humbug!

I may be something of a curmudgeon but I am tired, tired, tired  of hearing about the Holy Cheltenham Festival.

If I receive one more e-mail offering me tips or trends or analysis or inside info for “The Festival”, I might just scream and smash my monitor.  Enough is enough is enough. Don’t get me wrong – I find the spectacle of the very best horses competing for the very best prizes  as fascinating and exciting as the next man. The glory of it all will keep me glued to the box every afternoon next week. I will endure the vile Alistair Down and his incompetent cohorts (I’m excluding the greatest ever jockey from my general disapproval here) so I can enjoy the very best that jumps racing has to offer.

It’s just the relentless hype.

The endless hysterical hyperbole.

The clattering din of it all.

It’s become a carnival.  Every Tom, Dick and Harry forcing their opinions on me, screaming about how this one or that one has been laid out for this or that race.  Of course they’ve been laid out for it – it’s Cheltenham.  They’ve all been laid out for it. In the end, for me, it becomes impossible to filter out the noise and draw my own conclusions.  I can’t  just unread the 20th email I’ve had putting up the 20th different sure fire winner in the same race.

I know I’m flying in the face of popular opinion here – and I don’t care.

The other, and probably more important reason that I am tired of The Cheltenham Festival is my inability to make the three (sorry,four days now for some  reason)  pay on a consistent basis.

And therein lies the rub. From a professional perspective, if I can’t make it pay, it’s of no use to me as a betting opportunity. I’m not in the business of betting for fun.  Every last piece of form has been pored over by everybody and their mother, every trend has been analysed, every bit of inside info is either wrong or has become common knowledge. And the real upshot of all this information, for me at least, is that, when the day finally arrives, it’s all been priced in. The market is too efficient and I can’t beat it.

Give me a piss-poor Monday card at Wolverhampton where most of the contenders look like they’ve been laid out for the knackers and the markets are jumping all over the place. Thats where the markets are exploitable and I can find an angle in. All the festival screamers and shouters seem to forget that a winning 20/1 shot pays the same at Wolverhampton as it does at the Holy Festival. Value can be found at Cartmel more easily than it can be at Prestbury Park.

Oh and heres another thing that riles me about The Holy Festival. Endless requests from my twice a year betting friends and acquaintances who seem to think I will be able to produce  a cash cow for them every year. They all seem to get very offended when I tell them, sure I will be able to find them some winners – but they will have to back my next 100 bets to be sure they will make any money. They don’t seem to want to hear that – no, they want me to give them a guaranteed winner for ever day of the festival. I’m on a hiding to nothing.

I know some great touches will be landed at Cheltenham this year as they are every year. I’m sure there are pros out there who make very good money at the festival ( More than that, I know several who do – year in and year out). But you know what?  This year, and every year from now on, I will enjoy the racing and keep my hands firmly in my pockets

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3 comments

  1. Great piece Kieran! You are right, in my opinion.

    Breaking even must be considered a victory at Cheltenham. I don’t know about market efficiency (in the handicaps at least), but there depth of quality in every race makes it very hard to filter runners.

    If you can make a case for ten in a race, how should you bet?! Answer: almost certainly leave it alone, as you say.

    Obviously, I’ll be punting like an indisciplined loon… for the chance of backing a 33/1 winner that might – just might – take me back near parity on the week.

    Matt

    p.s. If you don’t like Down, Mac and Femail (is she really?!), get RUK. They’ll refund subs is Kauto, Big Buck’s and Master Minded all win…!

     

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