Betfair sponsor the seven races at Newbury on Saturday and the company have been rewarded with a brilliant card of jumping. Altior has his prep-race before the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, the Denman Chase features a Gold Cup winner and the Betfair Hurdle is one of the most open and competitive handicap hurdle races of the season.
Betfair was the first major betting exchange when launching in 2000. The exchange operator now dominates the UK market. More than 90% of exchange bets placed in that market are on Betfair. Matchbook, Betdaq and Smarkets are fighting for the scraps because Betfair have literally cornered the market. It is the biggest and best betting exchange and looks set to grow.
Exchange operators like Betfair provide the platform for peer-to-peer betting. Betfair brings together customers who want to bet on something to happen (backers) and other customers who want to bet on the same thing not happening (layers). The two sides match a bet at a mutually agreeable price. Bets can be fully or partially matched or not matched at all.
The exchange makes money by charging a commission on net winning bets. There is no bookmaker margin so the odds offer excellent value. Native River is the 1/3 (1.33) favourite to win the Denman chase with Ladbrokes. The horse is on offer to back at 1.35 with Betfair. A bet might not be matched at that price for a big stake and commission of 5% applies to winning bets but there is still better value in the Betfair odds than the Ladbrokes market.
Your regular punter won’t be interested in backing Native River at 1/3 but the money buyers could be all over that price. It’s a 33% return on investment on a race that should last no more than eight minutes. Native River won the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 2018 and has finished fourth in two other renewals. The horse has won over the course and distance and if the ratings and betting market are correct it’s the horse to back and then all roads lead to Cheltenham again.
Altior runs in the Betfair-sponsored Game Spirit Chase before trying to win a third Champion Chase in three years. The favourite can be backed at 1.53 with Betfair but 1.50 (1/2) with bet365. The latest lay price for Altior is 1.55 which means a £100 lay bet has a liability of £55 if Altior wins. If there is another outcome the layer of Altior wins £100. It’s an intriguing issue and there will be many backers and layers of Altior but at the prices it must be a back bet.
He has 12 pounds in hand over the second favourite, Sceau Royal, on ratings. Kalashnikov looks an interesting runner of a rating two pounds lower than Sceau Royal. The race is not a handicap so horses carry the same weight adjusted for allowances. Kalashnikov gets three pounds off Sceau Royal so is the form horse to finish second but Altior cannot be opposed over the two miles and half a furlong distance. The horse then tries to win another Champion Chase.
The Betfair Hurdle was initially called the Schweppes Gold Trophy and had a number of sponsors before Betfair took over in 2014. It is a handicap with more than 16 runners so each way bets should be settled at one quarter the odds for four places. However, the competitive nature of the race means bookmakers are offering an extra place and William Hill are offering two extra places. At the time of writing the sponsors had not released their odds but they should offer extra places as well.
Thebannerkingrebel is the type of novice that has done well in the race in the past. The horse has won three races this season and was third of four in a Grade 2 novices’ hurdle race at Haydock giving weight to the runners in first and second place. Thebannerkingrebel should handle the surface and has won on ground from good to heavy.
He can be backed at 12.0 (11/1) on the betting exchange but the lay price is 13.0. In exchange betting the lay price is bigger than the back price but the odds fluctuate purely based on the weight of money.