Despite interest in the Cheltenham Festival being at an all time high, punters have been left scratching their heads after an unpredictable jumps season has resulted in a fall in the number of bets wagered.
Oddschecker have attributed the decrease in bets to the volatile season, which has left punters with a lack of severe lack in short-priced favourites across the Cheltenham ante-post markets. From current trends, it appears that punters are biding their time until later in the racing season.
This year’s jump season has seen a number of well-regarded runners fail to meet the expectations of punters, with some of the big winners from last year falter in their efforts to maintain a winning streak.
Oddschecker spokesperson George Elek revealed to Insider Sport:“This year the Cheltenham ante-post picture is particularly murky as the jumps season thus far has proven extremely unpredictable.
“Aside from Altior, no favourite looks very solid and in most cases it is guesswork as to what race connections will be targeting, which naturally is going to stunt bets.”
Last year’s Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle winner Samcro stood out as a major disappointment to this year’s race season, failing to record a win in three starts. Trainer Gordon Elliott has since been left wondering where to race his gelding next.
Meanwhile Buveur D’air, favourite to retain his Champion Hurdle title, had his nearly untarnished record dented at the Boxing Day race at Kempton.
At the same meeting, Might Bite, another one of Nicky Henderson’s prodigies added to the streak of disastrous seasonal appearances with a nightmare run in the King George VI Chase.