PADDY Power gave punters a shot in the arm with the news that ALL Cheltenham Festival races are now non-runner no bet.
From now on, if you back a horse with Paddy for any of the 28 Festival races and they don't turn up in March, you'll get your money back.
One of the annual struggles for punters is trying to second-guess which races their fancies will turn up in, with most runners having multiple entries.
And by having the insurance of non-runner no bet, backers can also support Irish-trained runners antepost without worrying if they will be allowed to travel to the UK for the Festival due to Covid or Brexit restrictions.
Paddy Power himself said: “I love a good antepost punt and there’s no better feeling than putting your money where your mouth is two months before a race and then collecting.
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"I’m hugely looking forward to the old battle between the English and Irish horses and while I’d be quietly confident of it happening, NRNB completely wipes away any lingering doubts and allows punters peace of mind to get stuck into their fancies.”
Paddy Power ambassador Ruby Walsh added: “For punters that have any concerns about Irish horses not being able to travel to Cheltenham, this is a pretty ironclad insurance policy.
"For what it’s worth, I’d be fairly optimistic about Irish horses being able to run at the meeting. The 2021 Festival will be different, but thankfully the racing will still be the same.
"Hopefully it’s giving people plenty to look forward to with some brilliant clashes on the cards.”
The introduction of non-runner no bet should spark plenty of activity in the antepost markets for Cheltenham.
And Paddy's have reported plenty of support for some top Irish runners after the recent Leopardstown Christmas Festival.
A Plus Tard was a huge mover for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and is into 10-1 from 66 after he stormed home late to win the Savills Chase.
Elsewhere, Chacun Pour Soi has solidified as the Champion Chase favourite (11-8 from 11-4) following his easy win over Christmas and Altior's flop at Kempton.
Another Willie Mullins-trained runner to plunge in the betting is Supreme Novices' hope Appreciate It (5-2 from 12) who is now a hot favourite to land the Festival opener.
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