Cheltenham: Bookmakers Avoid An Apocalypse
It is the most anticipated day in jump racing and the opening gambit of the Cheltenham Festival did not disappoint this year with punters gifted with a dream day of betting results – yet it could have been a whole lot worse for the bookmaking industry.
Britain’s biggest bookmakers, William Hill, predicted it could have been ‘Armageddon Tuesday’ if all of the fancied four Irish runners prevailed on day one and watched in anguish as the first three romped home. Away and clear and with only the final flight to jump, Annie Power was the final leg of the 12/1 accumulator and looked the certain winner. But she fell – a missed jump that cost 250,000 punters a combined total of £20million across the betting industry.
Jon Ivan-Duke, spokesman for William Hill, said: ‘’This could have been the golden day for punters, who were already counting their winnings at the last. If you listened very carefully around a few minutes past 4pm, 250,000 howls of anguish could be heard across the land. Bookmakers have well and truly dodged a bullet.”
THE ‘BIG FOUR’
1:30pm - Supreme Novices’ : Douvan 2/1 WINNER
2:05pm - Arkle Chase: Un De Sceaux: 4/6 WINNER
3:20pm - Champion Hurdle: Faugheen 4/5 WINNER
4:00pm - Mares’ Hurdle: Annie Power 4/7 LOST