Incredible Constitution Hill, Henry’s Honeysuckle and a galloping Galopin Des Champs all made history.
Last week’s Cheltenham Festival saw Flutter’s three flagship UK&I brands – Sky Betting & Gaming, Paddy Power and Betfair – take in well over £250m in stakes and execute around 37m in online bets across the week. With a timely St Patrick’s Day coinciding with the Gold Cup on Friday, recreational customer engagement in Paddy Power shops across the UK and Ireland was also strong.
As the very pinnacle of horseracing’s National Hunt season, the Festival is always guaranteed to deliver a few iconic moments. However few fans of the sport could have predicted this year’s trifecta of racing treats – Constitution Hill’s ease in winning the Champion Hurdle; Honeysuckle’s emotional farewell victory for trainer Henry DeBromhead and Rachael Blackmore in the Mares’ Hurdle; and of course, Galopin Des Champs’ sublime finish to win the Gold Cup as favourite.
It was nail-biting from a bookmaking perspective, with a customer-friendly set of results on Tuesday – when five favourites won – offset by many outsiders winning across Thursday and Friday. As a result, Flutter’s UK&I brands finished the week in the black, but didn’t have it all their own way.
Envoi Allen, Sire Du Berlais and Stage Star were the top three winners for customers, all of which combined cost our UK&I brands an eight figure sum. Fortunately, two of these – Envoi Allen and Stage Star – beat heavily-backed losing favourites – Shishkin and Mighty Potter – to help balance the books. A Plus Tard, which failed in its attempt to win back-to-back Gold Cups with Betfair’s newest ambassador Blackmore, rounded out the top three losing picks for customers.
There were also some big wins across our low-staking, recreational customer base. Two lucky punters scooped £100k and £200k on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively as part of the Sky Bet-sponsored and free-to-play competition, ITV7. Meanwhile, a Paddy Power retail customer in Kildare, Ireland, won €75k on a 20p ‘Lucky 63’ bet that picked out seven winners.
Reflecting on a week of top-drawer racing, Flutter's Chief Trading Officer Dom Crosthwaite commented: “It was another memorable Cheltenham, and it was pleasing this year to see the Festival's mass market appeal mirror the recreational nature of our customer base. We delivered a great customer proposition for our flagship brands, with a series of recent product upgrades and marketing campaigns driving strong staking levels of well over £250m. This was all made possible by our talented colleagues in Flutter UK&I, who worked incredibly well to seamlessly manage over 37m online bets across the week.”
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