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Bookmakers and punters react with delight to festival move

The Cheltenham Festival will have 48-hour declarations across the board from next year
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Bookmakers have predicted the Cheltenham Festival's move to 48-hour declarations will further boost the meeting's appeal.

Punters and bookmakers have been among those calling for an end to eve-of-race confirmations at the festival. As such, the BHA's Tuesday announcement was well received.

Coral's Simon Clare: "This is a very welcome, progressive move by the BHA"

Coral PR director Simon Clare said: "The Cheltenham Festival is the biggest horseracing betting event by a country mile, with an incredible 19 of the top 40 betting races in 2016.

"Yet the opportunity to generate even greater turnover and interest among racing fans and punters has always been constrained by knowing the final fields for most races only the previous day.

"This is a very welcome, progressive move by the BHA, which will allow the many varied promoters of the sport – the media, betting operators and the racecourse itself – an invaluable extra 24 hours to sell these much-anticipated horseracing betting events even more effectively.

"This can only increase the appeal of the festival to the masses as well as the significant revenues it generates for the sport."

Similarly positive, Betfair's Barry Orr said: "This is an extremely positive move and a decision that must be applauded. It will further enhance the build-up to the greatest festival in the world. The reserves initiative and the prevention of double declarations are also very sensible.

"It's hard to see any downsides. I'm sure punters will be putting the extra day of form study to good use."

Horseracing Bettors' Forum chair Simon Rowlands added: "All roads over jumps in the winter lead to Cheltenham in March and this initiative should help to ensure racing can promote the occasion itself more effectively, to the benefit of the betting public and the wider sport."

This can only increase the appeal of the festival to the masses as well as the significant revenues it generates for the sport

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