Having held a slender lead at half time, the bookies took an “unprecedented beating” on day three at Cheltenham after Defi du Seuil led out a procession of short priced winners.
Stephen Harris, Horse Racing Editor at bettingexpert.com, reflected on ‘St Patrick’s Thursday’ at the Festival, which left the bookies staring into a Paisley Park-shaped “abyss” after a nightmare day softened only slightly by defeat for Footpad in the Ryanair Chase.
Harris on Day 3:
“Day 3 at the Cheltenham Festival began with the bookmakers on the back foot after the last four favourites obliged on Wednesday. The money piled onto 3/1f Defi du Seuil (including one £50k bet with Star Sports) in a competitive looking JLT Novice Chase, which proved well placed as Barry Geraghty came with a well timed run up the hill.
“The layers were hammered again by the green and gold colours in the Pertemps Finale, with Sire Du Berlais landing a wholesale gamble from 6/1 into 4/1f under an inspired ride from the red hot Geraghty. He traded at three figures in-running on Betfair when coming under pressure early on, and distress flares from the betting ring were now being issued.
“Frodon (9/2) was a memorable winner of the Ryanair Chase with a breathtaking display of front running and jumping under Bryony Frost, with the heavily backed 7/2f Footpad proving a rare setback for Irish punters so far this week.
“The bookmakers were staring into the abyss now ahead of the featured race of the day, with Paisley Park the shortest priced favourite of the afternoon and one to get stuck into as they chased their ever mounting losses both on and off-course.
“Punters played up their winnings on the Emma Lavelle trained 11/8f, with only Faugheen offering any resistance in the market at 5/1. There was blood in the air as the favourite came from miles back to storm clear up the hill, and the entire bookmaking industry took an unprecedented beating.”
Harris on Day 4:
“Readies will be gathered up again as they prepare to do battle on Day 4, with the featured Gold Cup looking at least 4/1 the field and a very open feel to it on form….though this will not put off the punters who certainly have their tails up.”