Are you Cheltenham Ready?

It’s once again that time of year where racing fans from all around the country (and indeed the world!) brim over with excitement and anticipation. That’s right,it’s the the start of the Cheltenham Festival. This prestigious four day festival, which began way back in 1860 and has gone from strength to strength ever since has prize money second only to the Grand National, and features races we know and love such as the Queen Mother Champion Chase (given the title at the time of the Queens 80th birthday) and of course the Cheltenham Gold Cup. The Festival draws in casual watchers and purists alike and with that in mind there can be no better introduction to it than this laugh out loud Betway Cheltenham quiz featuring West Ham players Jesse Lingard and his teammates. I wonder how good they are at drawing a horse?

Who’s Your Pick for the Melbourne Cup 2020?


The Melbourne Cup is surely one of the most prestigious horse races, not only in Australia but the world as a whole. Taking places on November 3rd at Flemmington Park race course in Melbourne Victoria every year, and with prize money that is up there with any race across the globe, all eyes are on this Group One affair, and the cream of the racing crop from horses and jockeys to trainers and owners are all in attendance and looking to grab themselves a little piece of racing history. Being that the 2 mile race dates back an amazing 159 years it’s no wonder that those in the racing world want to stake a claim to a prize held in such high regard by those involved in the sport, as well as those watching on TV.

And what history this occasion has had over the years. There hasn’t been much that hasn’t happened in the Cup over this time, glass ceilings and records alike have come crashing down. In the early days of the race in 1876 we even saw a twelve year old child, riding on Australian thoroughbred Briseis, managing to achieve victory in the race. Equally noteworthy wins include Legend of the sport Phar Lap winning his first Melbourne Cup in 1930 (while at ‘odds on’, the shortest odds for a favourite in Melbourne Cup history). And last but not least one of the aforementioned ‘Glass Ceiling’ moments, namely in 2003 when the first Australian female jockey rode in the Melbourne Cup (Clare Lindop on Debben). Opportunity clearly breeds success, as it was a mere twelve years later when the first woman jockey won the Cup (Michelle Payne on Prince of Penzance ).

So with such expectation and the prospect of watching history in the making, what does the 2020 Melbourne Cup have in store for us and what questions are waiting to be answered from those in with a shot of victory? Does favourite Tiger Moth have what it takes to win the cup? (he made easy work of the Kilternan Stakes recently, beating Lloyd Williams’ Buckburst, who himself finished mid-field in the Caulfield Cup). Or perhaps Sir Dragonet, whose owner is no doubt relishing the prospect of winning the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup in the same year. (he’d be only the 8th horse to do so). When it comes to making the history books its all on the line in the Melbourne Cup and every horse, jockey and trainer will be going all out on the day. Don’t miss it.

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Trainer Andrew Balding hopes for Derby Success

Credit: Betway

Trainer Andrew Balding was beaming with pride when Oisin Murphy rode Kameko to an impressive 10-1 victory this June in the 2000 Guineas. No doubt part of the reaction on the day was down to the possibility of a future Derby win, which would match the achievement of his retired horse trainer Father Ian Balding – who took the title with the legendary Mill Reef in the 70s.

Being linked to, or indeed part of Mill Reef’s success, is a matter of pride in its own right, as the champion thoroughbred is one of racing’s greats, winning not only the Derby but a whole host of high profile races such as  the King George VI, Coronation Cup, Eclipse Stakes, Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. His career may well have been ended by injury, but his place in the annals of horse racing history, alongside Ian Badling, is secured. In racing terms, Andrew Balding ‘is his Father’s son’.

Here Balding candidly discusses with Betway what the Investec Derby victory would mean to him and whether Kameko, with one classic win under his belt already, has the beating of his talented Derby rivals. Kameko is currently second favourite in the betting behind the Ed Walker trained English King. Walker himself will be looking for a victory to mark his 10th anniversary of becoming a trainer. With a will to win across the board, who will come out on top on the day?


The Ascot racecourse is one of the, for want of a better word, important racecourse to the country. It hosts no less than 13 of the 36 annual group one races held in the UK and is home to such popular and longstanding races as the King’s Stand Stakes, Ascot Gold Cup, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Champion Stakes. Many of these races are steeped in hundreds of years of history.

In addition to hosting such prestigious individual races, the Ascot racecourse stages October’s British Champions Day each year. This is a world class event launched in 2011 and has featured a who’s who of horse racing talented ever since. It got off to a seriously impressive start when Frankel won the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes there in its opening year. The following year he did a victory lap of sorts, winning his last ever race, the Champion Stakes, before retiring from racing undefeated. The five races that make up British Champions Day are: British Champions Sprint Stakes , British Champions Long Distance Cup, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Champion Stakes. All but the Long Distance Cup are Group One races.

As high class as the relatively newly minted British Champions Day may be, it still can’t quite compared to the real jewel in the crown though, which dates all the way back to 1711, namely Royal Ascot. The Royal Ascot festival and indeed the racecourse itself was founded by Queen Anne that year and is to this day attended by a member of the Royal family each year. They take their place in the ‘Royal Enclosure’.

With 300,000+ attending Royal Ascot over the five days, those on course and watching at home get to feast on group one racing action and numerous other ultra competitive matchups. Prize money for the entire event is well over £6 million with a Purse of £750,000 for the Prince of Wales Stakes alone. The Ascot Gold Cup is another highlight for many and that takes place on the ever popular Ladies Day.

In part due to its Royal links, the course has popular cultural significance, and has featured in movies as well as being the subject and setting of songs. My Fair Lady’s ‘Ascot Gavotte’ is one example of this.