The incident occurred just after 5.30pm in Tower, near Blarney.
As the first day of Cheltenham was finishing, two masked men in their 20s, armed with handguns, forced their way into the premises and ordered staff to hand over the day’s winnings.
They quickly escaped from the scene.
However, gardaí were immediately alerted to the incident, with officers from the city, Ballincollig, and other parts of the county rushing to the crime.
Over the next 90 minutes, up to 40 officers from local stations, the Emergency Response Unit and the Traffic Corp chased down the gunmen, before they left the escape vehicle and “took to the fields” near Canon’s Cross.
At about 7pm the two assailants — one of whom is known to gardaí and has a criminal record — were located near Angler’s Rest in Carrigrohane.
The €5,000 stolen from the bookmakers was recovered. However, neither handgun had been located by late last night.
Garda Superintendent Con Cadigan, who praised the work of his colleagues in hunting down the suspects, has urged any landowners, farmers or members of the public to contact gardaí immediately if they find the weapons.
The two suspects are being held at Mayfield and Gurranabraher Garda Stations.
They can be initially questioned until Thursday evening, with CCTV footage expected to play a key part in the invest-igation.
The incident, which is being linked with the busy stream of customers betting on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, meaning large sums of money were known to be at the bookmakers, follows a similar incident in Bishopstown late last year.
That late-December incident saw an armed raider steal a substantial amount of money from a Ladbrokes facility on the Bishopstown Rd.
He managed to escape from the premises with what was described at the time as a “substantial” sum of money.
Anybody with information about the latest incident is urged to contact Gurranabraher Garda Station immediately on 021 4395540.