With just a week to go until the start of the 2012 Cheltenham Festival, Paddy Power have gone up another gear with their marketing onslaught, promising the best prices about the 2012 Festival bankers Big Buck’s, Long Run, Quevega and Sprinter Sacre! The move comes hot on the heels of a fabulous money back offer and a couple of controversial Cheltenham Festival adverts.

Paddy Power are known for their fantastic marketing and they really pull out all the stops come the Cheltenham Festival. In the past, they have never been afraid to risk millions of pounds by taking on a heavy favourite with a money back offer, and the firm has pulled all kinds of stunts, such a erecting a 270 feet long “Hollywood” style sign on Cleeve Hill at the 2010 Cheltenham Festival. This particular marketing ploy landed the firm in hot water with council officials and television companies alike.

The 2012 Cheltenham Festival has been no different, with controversy on one side and crazy offers on the other. The first major Paddy Power offer of the 2012 Festival came in the form of a money back special. If you back any horse in the 2012 Arkle, you’ll get your stake back in full if the hot favourite Sprinter Sacre wins the race. Impressive, given that the horse is odds on with the vast majority of bookmakers and is widely fancied to destroy the Arkle field.

Which leads nicely to the latest offering from Paddy Power - going best price about the 2012 “Festival Bankers”: Big Buck’s, Long Run, Quevega and of course, Sprinter Sacre.

The Irish firm are obviously keen to take on Sprinter Sacre in the Arkle, but nevertheless, the rest of the bookmaking industry are no bigger than 2.00 about the horse, with prices as short as 1.83 on offer. Paddy Power are matching the best price of 2.00 though, with their latest promise of best prices.

Big Buck’s is as short as 1.44 to successfully defend his World Hurdle crown in 2012, but Paddy Power are a comparatively huge 1.57; the top price in the industry and much bigger than World Hurdle sponsors Ladbrokes (1.44).

The David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle crown has been claimed by Quevega for the last three years and she’s as low as 1.50 for a repeat victory. But with Paddy Power, you can get an industry best price of 1.57.

Can Long Run defend the Gold Cup in 2012 having already been beaten twice this year by former Champion Kauto Star? The bookies would have you believe so, as Nicky Henderson’s charge is as short as 2.00 to do exactly that. But good old Paddy Power are an eye popping 2.75 about the same outcome.

To help you appreciate just exactly how good this price promise is, have a look at the potential returns on a £10 accumulator with Paddy Power on these four Cheltenham Festival bankers, compared to selected bookmakers:

Paddy Power – £10 returns £135.57
William Hill – £10 returns £103.43
Coral – £10 returns £103.14
Ladbrokes – £10 returns £82.51

Last week saw Paddy Power release a TV advert for the 2012 Festival that was immediately banned, just a week after causing controversy with their first 2012 Festival advert.

The first of the two 2012 Festival adverts saw cross dressing men enjoying a day at the races, while the second pokes fun at the possibility of Chavs ruining the 2012 Festival “like they did Ascot”, in reference to the drunken brawl witnessed at the 2011 Royal meeting. The advert sees an unknown marksman firing tranquilliser darts at misbehaving commoners.

With a week still to go until the 2012 Cheltenham Festival gets under way, who knows what stunt the popular Irish bookmaker will pull next?