What is an accumulator?

An accumulator is a popular form of multiple bet or, in other words, a single bet on multiple selections, in different races, which is successful if, and only if, all selections win. The term ‘accumulator’ is typically reserved for bets involving four or more selections; bets involving two or three selections operate on the same principal, but are usually known as ‘doubles’ or ‘trebles’.

Regardless of the number of selections, the idea is that the winnings from the first selection, including the original stake, roll over onto the second selection and so on, until the bet is complete or one of the selections loses. An accumulator is, by nature, an ‘all or nothing’ bet, but it is possible to combine selections in such a way that a return is due if, say, four, five or six win. Six selections, for example, could be combined in 15 four-fold accumulators, six five-fold accumulators and one six-fold accumulator. Of course, each accumulator requires its own individual stake, so the viability of such an approach, ecomonically, depends on the odds available for each selection and your attitude to risk.

The history of horse racing is awash with stories of punters who have won vast sums of money – hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of pounds – for a small initial outlay with accumulators of one form or another. However, an accumulator, of any kind, involves betting at multiple odds, so udnerstand what you are attempting before parting with your hard-earned cash.

What is the Cheltenham Gold Cup?

Strictly speaking, the Cheltenham Gold Cup is the trophy presented to the winning owner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase, a Grade One, weight-for-age steeplechase run over three miles and two-and-a-half furlongs at the Cheltenham Festival in March each year. However, the term ‘Cheltenham Gold Cup’ is typically used to refer to the iconic steeplechase known, in some quarters, as the ‘Blue Riband’ of steeplechasing.

Inaugurated, as a steeplechase, in 1924, the Cheltenham Gold Cup has increased in value and prestige down the years. Indeed, with total prize money of £625,000 it is, nowadays, the most valuable steeplechase of its kind in and, along with the Grand National, one of the two most celebrated steeplechases in the British National Hunt calendar.

It would be fair to say that the roll of honour for the Cheltenham Gold Cup reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of staying chasing talent since the early twentieth century. In fact, according to Timeform, of the ten highest-rated steeplechasers since the early Sixties, no fewer than six – namely, in order of preference, Arkle, Mill House, Kauto Star, Desert Orchid, Burrough Hill Lad and Long Run – won the Cheltenham Gold Cup at least once. Arkle, the highest-rated steeplechaser of all time, according to Timeform, won the Cheltenham Gold Cup three times, in 1964, 1965 and 1966; on the third occasion, he beat five rivals by thirty lengths and upwards at odds of 1/10, thereby becoming the shortest-priced winner in the history of the race.

What is a Group race?

In European Flat racing, Group races, also known as Pattern races, are elite races, intended to be contested by elite horses. As such, horses compete off level weights, although weight-for-age and weight-for-sex allowances are granted to three-year-olds against older horses and fillies and mares against colts and geldings, respectively.

Group races are overseen by the European Pattern Committee, which classifies races, in order of

by importance, as Group One, Group Two and Group Three races. The European Pattern Committee regularly reviews the status of all Group races; if the three-year average of the official ratings of the first four finishers is above, or below, a certain threshold, the status of the race is upgraded, or downgraded, from one season to the next,

Group One races, of which 32 are run, annually, in Britain, included seasonal highlights, such as the 2,000 Guineas, Derby and St. Leger – which, collectively, constitute the so-called ‘Triple Crown’ – to name but three. Group Two and Group Three races are less prestigious than Group One races, but still include important world-class and domestic races, such as the Dante Stakes and the Greenham Stakes. To make these races more competitive, horses that have won at the same, or higher, level within a certain period of time incur weight penalties; a Group One or Group Two winner dropping down to Group Three level, for example, might incur a penalty of, say, 5lb, depending on the exact conditions of the race in question.

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