Bookies count the cost as joint-favourite obliges

BOOKMAKERS were left short of goodwill as well as money following the success of 7-1 joint-favourite Comply Or Die in the John Smith’s Grand National at Aintree.

Estimates of the amount wagered on the world’s most famous race ranged between £150m and £300m and there was a real plunge on David Pipe’s gelding at the expense of morning market leader Cloudy Lane.

“Punters will be queuing on every high street in the country to collect their winnings,” said William Hill spokesman David Hood.

“With nearly half of the adult UK population gambling on the race and estimates that around 10% of bets placed were for the winner, punters will be picking up close to £40m.

“Comply Or Die was one of the biggest gambles of the National and we were simply bowled over as wave after wave of support came in for the winner and his odds tumbled to 7-1 from 10s.”

Totesport’s Damian Walker added: “We thought Cloudy Lane was going to be the big gamble, but punters went for Comply Or Die and they have got it dead right. Amazingly, Cloudy Lane would have been a small winner for us on the day. Over £300m was gambled on the race.”

Coral were not quite of the same thinking. Representative Simon Clare said: “He was the second best-backed horse on the day behind Cloudy Lane and bookies now face one of the biggest payouts in Grand National history.

“The industry took over £150m on the race itself and most, if not all, will be paid out in the morning.”

Paddy Power, spokesman for the firm of the same name, tried to be generous and pointed out the two previous days of racing had been far kinder to bookmakers as a number of fancied horses suffered defeats.

He conceded: “It was a great result for the Pipes and I am delighted to see that they have got a smile on their faces, as have punters who deserve it after the battering that they have taken at Aintree over the last three days. We estimate that the result cost us around £2m.”

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