Cheltenham Festival Horse Racing By Jon Ivan-Duke

Punters One, Bookies Nil After Mullins Mauling

Bookmakers were bemoaning a £10million hammering across the industry on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, with William Hill naming Willie Mullins as the man behind their problems.

The Irish trainer scooped three winners as the biggest race meeting of the year got underway in the Cotswolds and many punters backed the treble to put a real dent in to the bookmakers’ coffers.

It wasn’t quite the perfect start for punters, as Min (part of the ‘Four Horses Of The Apocalypse’ had they all won), was just beaten in to second place in the first race of the Festival.

But it was one-way traffic for punters from there, with a hat-trick of big winners for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh.

“We were lulled in to a false sense of security as the first Mullins hotpot was overturned, but we were made to suffer with the other three. It’s Punters 1 – Bookies Nil,” said William Hill spokesman Jon Ivan-Duke.