A year on from a £10 million hammering on the opening day at last year’s festival, the bookmakers ended day one at Cheltenham 2017 with a narrow lead.
There was a short odds success for Altior (1/4) in the Racing Post Arkle and a small loss for bookies from 5/1 winner Buveur D’Air in the Stan James Champion Hurdle, but crucially Melon and Ballyandy (both 3/1) came up short in the Sky Bet Supreme, Limini (6/4) disappointed in the OLBG Mares and Singlefarmpayment (5/1) was edged out by Un Temps Pour Tout (9/1) in the Ultima Handicap.
Spokesman Charlie McCann was happy with the narrow points victory on day one at Cheltenham, the betting figures recorded by BetVictor, and the success of its Jump Starter acquisition offer.
He commented: “It was hard to make a case for Labaik in the opener but with our ongoing Run For Your Money concession, where we refund all bets as cash if a horse loses all chance at the start, you needed to back the horse with BetVictor safe in the knowledge that you would get your money back if he dug his heels in again.
“Altior is 4/1 for next year’s Champion Chase after his 6L win in the Arkle, whilst the Ultima was another losing race because of the five places although we would have taken a small loss halfway up the run in where Singlefarmpayment looked like landing a gamble.
“Buveur D’Air was a small loss and is another 4/1 shot – this time to retain his crown next term, whilst Apples Jade was easily the best result out of the big three in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle and Tiger Roll was another good result in the NH Chase.
“Ireland ended the day with a narrow 4-3 lead over Gt Britain in the Prestbury Cup (now the BetBright Cup) and the bookmakers also ended day one with a narrow lead – one round gone and we would have taken the results at 1.25 but certainly no knockout.”
Meanwhile, Stephen Harris from bettingexpert added: “A cracking start to the Festival for bookmakers as 25/1 “skinner” Labaik took a substandard Supreme, but punters battled back with Altior and Un Temps Pour Tout both well backed.
“Bettingexpert followers started the meeting on the front foot as Cloudy Dream rewarded each-way support, but Nap of the day Yanworth proved to be lacking the pace needed on rapidly drying ground.”