Belfast Telegraph

Festival value on offer for shrewd early birds

With Cheltenham starting on Tuesday week, there are plenty of Festival attractions to tempt those looking to have an edge over the bookmakers.

Ladbrokes started the ball rolling by offering Ruby Walsh to be top jockey at 2/1 compared to the normal 1/2. They promote this in special 15-minute Festival price boosts although the 'gift' is subject to a maximum of £25.

The firm's Alex Donohue said: "It saw a huge uptake from customers.

"Festival fever begins earlier each year and we are using this period to appeal to core racing customers with compelling offers and a first rate proposition, supported across all channels.

"We will roll out even more to appeal to enthusiasts as well as the infrequent customers.

"We are really looking forward to the next fortnight."

Another of the Magic Sign's offers is a free bet up to a maximum of £25 if you back a loser in the Champion Hurdle and Ulster-owned Hurricane Fly wins again or finishes second.

Over at McLean's, the firm will provide £20 free bets each day to new telebetting account holders, provided they place £10 on a daily selection.

Customers must register a credit/debit card and use it to place qualifying bets. Free bets cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.

Meanwhile, Court By Surprise would fully deserve his moment in the spotlight if he triumphs in the William Hill Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster today.

Emma Lavelle's inmate has made the frame in staying handicaps at Wincanton, Chepstow and Sandown.

His third in the Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton on his penultimate start was particularly impressive as he stumbled badly three fences from home before staying on again.

Court By Surprise then got to within three-quarters of a length of There's No Panic at Sandown. It would be no surprise if he wins today.

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