BOOKIES were jumping for joy in Ballybrit as a rank outsider ridden by the legendary Tony McCoy raced home to win the Galway Plate.
One of the biggest shocks in recent years, the lesser fancied of JP McManus-owned horse, Finger Onthe Pulse, took the big prize of the festival at huge odds of 22-1. So unfancied was he that he was trading on Betfair at 50-1.
In fact, McCoy had been down to ride the Limerick man’s more fancied entry, Dancing Tornado. However, when that was withdrawn at the last minute McCoy got onto Finger Onthe Pulse. Some of the bookies in the press room felt that only Tony McCoy could have pulled such a win off. JP McManus agreed.
“Tony is Tony, what more can you say? You always have an edge with him. It’s one of those races that you plan to win. I didn’t think it would be with Finger Onthe Pulse, but there you go. A few people asked me about his chances and I said maybe risk €5 each way, but I didn’t even back that myself,” he said.
Bookies were equally rejoicing the win. After a bad day yesterday, the Galway Plate had them right back in the mix.
“I’ll be buying JP McManus a few pints after that result. It was a tough day for punters today and the bookies are slowly crawling their way back, particularly after that result,” said Paddy Power.
Leon Blanche of Boylesports echoed those sentiments as punters lost vast sums of money after a huge plunge on the Dermot Weld favourite Majestic Concorde.
“The worst result would have been Majestic Concorde and the second worst result would have been Themoonandsixpence. It’s not often that the bookies are toasting Tony McCoy but he did us a massive favour today,” he said.
Bookies had been fearing a massive €3 million payout had Majestic Concorde won. As it turned out, it was one of the best results they have had in years.
Not for the first time, Taoiseach Brian Cowen went against popular opinion and backed against the hot favourite in the Plate. However, he saw his €50 go south as the Paul Nicholls-trained Five Dream finished out of the frame.
One cheeky punter shouted he hoped “my money wins for you Brian”. However, Mr Cowen was also in the mood for quips and retorted: “If it was your money I wouldn’t have it.”
Some reporters were hoping Bringbackthebiff would win the feature race. The sight of Mr Cowen presenting the Plate to that winning owner would have been too good an opportunity to miss.
For his part the Taoiseach said he had no luck on the nags but didn’t seem to bothered by his poor run of form.
“No, I have had no luck yet. I was hoping the steward’s inquiry might overturn a result for me there but it didn’t happen. A lot of people have opinions as to what will win here but I always go on my own judgment,” he said.
With celebrities thin on the ground at this year’s festival, it was up to Bertie and Brian to keep onlookers on their toes. Bertie Ahern was in chipper form, shaking hands as he went and also ruling out Dublin for a challenge at the Sam Maguire this year.
“I don’t think I’ll be making the Dublin game against Tyrone at the weekend but I don’t think they have a chance to be honest,” he said.
No surprise there then.
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