On a busy afternoon of sport on Sunday, especially with the excellent second day of the Dublin Racing Festival taking place, I got wind of a so-called “Monster Gamble” unfolding here on UK shores.
Hurriedly scouring through copious amounts of tweets on the Twitter platform, it materialised that two of these horses had already won and that the third one of a treble was yet to run at Musselburgh at 4.25pm.
Having seen countless “gambles” like this come to nothing over the years I rapidly checked out the form figures of the last leg horse, Gallahers Cross (1/14/47/88077-). It did not make for pretty reading and I couldn’t help but lay the nine-year-old at the overcooked odds of 2.02 on the betting exchanges. Surely a horse with such atrocious form couldn’t win, could it? He was trading as the 4/5 favourite with the bookmakers.
After making a brief challenge three flights from home in the 2m 6f contest, the gelding was being ridden after two out, and then faded back after the last hurdle to go down by 6¾ lengths.
Supposedly bookmakers had liabilities running into millions on the trio. Fire Away (EP 22/1) won at Evs, Blowing Dixie (EP 9/1) won at 4/6 and Gallahers Cross (EP 33/1) finished 4th at 4/5.
Apparently at the request of the BHA’s integrity department, connections of all three runners were interviewed by the stewards at their respective venues – Musselburgh and Southwell, however the cynic in me makes me wonder how much of this supposed gamble was partially a publicity stunt?
Why do I say that? Well in most of these cases (1) No hard and fast liability figures are ever produced – it all appears to be inflated hearsay (2) Mysterious Twitter accounts with no proven track records suddenly appear producing screenshots containing the gambled on horses along with fanciful cash-out out offers.
Is it all an elaborate hoax or a genuine gamble? It does make you wonder, but either way it does give the bookmakers plenty of free publicity on the eve of the Cheltenham Festival.
One Twitter interaction yesterday summed up the events that unfolded perfectly for me. People are generally split right down the middle on the “gamble” topic as you can see here from their responses after the last leg went down:
- Moonlighter set up an outing to next month’s Grand Annual at Cheltenham after opening his account for the season.
- Sporting John downed Shan Blue in the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase.
- Alnadam dominated the Warriors Handicap Chase.
- The Trevor Hemmings owned Deise Aba came back to form for Philip Hobbs.
- The likeable High Up In The Air loved the ground conditions and scored again for the Moore team.
- Native River is back on the Gold Cup trail after winning the rescheduled Cotswold Chase. He is now 16/1 with bet365*
- Gaillard Du Mesnil is now a 3/1 chance with bet365* for the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle after scoring at the weekend.
- Chacun Pour Soir demolished his rivals in the Dublin Chase.
- Energumene was trimmed to 9/4 with bet365* for the Arkle after a faultless display.
- A Wave Of The Sea made the most of his light weight in the Matheson Handicap Chase.
- Honeysuckle was slashed to 5/2 with bet365* for the Champion Hurdle after her Irish rout.
- The Pat Fahy-trained Drop The Anchor lunged late to deny Champagne Gold in the Ladbrokes Hurdle.
- Kilcruit confirmed himself a major contender for the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham with a 12 length romp in the Goffs Future Stars INH Flat Race.
- Betfair trimmed Appreciate It into 13/8 from 9/4 for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle next month after winning the Pharma Hurdle with ease.
- Monkfish is now 11/10 from 7-4 with Betfair for the Festival Novices’ Chase after another facile victory.
- The Willie Mullins trained Kemboy was victorious in the feature race of the day – the Irish Gold Cup. He is now 10/1 from 14/1 for the Cheltenham equivalent.
- Off You Go recorded a third Dublin Racing Festival success when landing the Leopardstown Chase.
- Grangee took the concluding bumper for Willie Mullins and the jubilant Syndicates Racing.
- Quilixios is 6/1 with bet365* for the Triumph Hurdle after powering to Spring Juvenile glory.
And a Special Mention…
To Mighty Thunder who was a runaway 20-length winner of the bet365 Edinburgh National at Musselburgh on Saturday. Trainer Lucinda Russell is considering Ayr’s Scottish Grand National as his possible spring target.
* Horse racing odds correct at the time of writing. All odds subject to change.