Only a few days ago bookmakers were bracing themselves for a potential financial disaster if all four festival " bankers " proved successful. Dunguib, Master Minded, Big Buck’s and Kauto Star all looked proverbial good things on paper, but once again the end result was something completely different.
Only one of the four, Big Buck’s, managed to come home in front, and with only another three favourites obliging out of the 26 races, bookmakers are claiming a bonanza week.
William Hill spokesman David Hood said " Bookies couldn’t make it up this week, they have enjoyed some stellar results and it will take punters until the world cup to get over the shocks this week ".
Dave Stevens of Coral was equally enthusiastic claiming " It’s been the biggest betting week of the year, but punters have had very little to cheer about with losses across the industry running into tens of millions. We’re sorry to see the festival end ".
One William Hill punter from Kent however had reason to celebrate, winning over £452k after placing a series of 10p each-way accumulators, with a stake of £16,000.
The first day of the festival got punters off to a bad start with Chief Dan George ( 33/1 ) and A New Strory ( 25/1 ) the worst of several poor results.
Bookmakers had the best of the first six races on Wednesday but the final event ( Weatherbys Champion Bumper ) which is usually dominated by the Irish, produced probably the biggest shock of the week. Cue Card, trained by Colin Tizzard, a 40/1 shot, left a field of better fancied rivals trailing in his wake.
With the first three winners on Thursday priced at 12/1, 16/1 and 14/1 it was a relief for many punters when " good thing " Big Buck’s finally stopped the rot in the feature World Hurdle.
As far as bookmakers were concerned the best was left for last, after Imperial Commander turned over both Kauto Star and Denman. Add to this winners returned at 14/1, 16/1, 20/1 and 33/1 and it really was a dream day for the betting industry.
On a more positive note the racing industry can look forward to a slice ( estimated at £6 million ) of bookmaker’s profits in the form of levy payments.