Festival

Industry down £50 million as punters take 2-0 Cheltenham lead

The punters went 2-0 up at the Cheltenham Festival, with the bookmakers firmly “on the ropes” after short-price victories for Samcro, Presenting Percy and Altior.

The bookmakers began day two desperate for “Irish banker” Samcro to fail in the Ballymore, but the future star proved just too strong for Black Op in the closing stages.

Stephen Harris, the racing guru at bettingexpert, commented: “Samcro proved his reputation to be absolutely spot on, racing wide throughout but readily cruising clear to put the bookmakers on the backfoot again having been hammered down to 8/11f by the off.”

This was hardly the start the bookmakers needed after the first day, in which the off-course industry lost tens of millions and on-course layer Ben Keith from Star Sports was down £300k.

However, the Cheltenham nightmare continued as Presenting Percy, ridden by Davy Russell, chased down Monalee to claim the RSA. This race was also notable for a serious looking injury to Ruby Walsh, who fell when well-placed on Al Boum Photo.

With no clear pre-race favourite in a bunched field, the Coral Cup then attracted plenty of each-way money. However, a fourth success of the meet for Willie Mullins on the 20/1 Bleu Berry was to prove the only big success of the day for the bookies, before Altior took centre stage in the Champion Chase.

Harris continued: “The bloodbath continued in the RSA chase when Presenting Percy cruised clear hard on the bridle as a well backed 5/2f, and liabilities in multiples off-course were beginning to stack up into the millions across all firms.

“The layers cheered home 20/1 chance Bleu Berry, providing them with some respite. However, that proved short lived as Altior, smashed down to Evens from 6/5 in the morning, drove clear up the hill having looked in trouble in-running (touched 5/1 on Betfair).

“The punters are 2-0 up with two days to go, and the industry is down at least £50m at this stage.”

Watch the video below for Harris’ expert analysis and tips for day three at Cheltenham:

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