Round one to punters

DAY one of Royal Ascot belonged to the punters after a host of favourites and well-backed winners left bookmakers reeling.

Not only did successful market leaders Scenic Blast (11-4), Mastercraftsman (5-6) and Canford Cliffs (7-4) do the business, but Paco Boy (100-30) and Judgethemoment (13-2) also proved popular.

Relief came as too little too late, despite American raider Strike The Tiger popping up at 33-1 in the concluding Windsor Castle Stakes.

The damage had already been done with the layers’ misery compounded by the first five races being shown live on the BBC.

“Scenic Blast, Mastercraftsman and Canford Cliffs gave punters a couple of hours of unbridled joy,” said David Williams of Ladbrokes.

“Judgethemoment was well-backed too in the fifth race and it added up to give us our toughest day at Royal Ascot as we’ve had in many a long year. Punters have had a field day.

“We’re desperately hoping that we now get some upsets otherwise we’ll be black and blue by the end of the week.”

Bookmakers felt the defeat for Gladiatorus in the opening Queen Anne Stakes had merely been a false dawn.

“It was looking rosy after the first race,” said Victor Chandler spokesman Neal Wilkins.

“But we soon had the smile well and truly wiped off our faces. Mastercraftsman, Canford Cliffs and Judgethemoment were truly awful results.

“Canford Cliffs and Judgethemoment were massive losers in the book and it was hard to take. It’s been carnage here. They are going out of the trading room on stretchers.”

Irish bookmakers Paddy Power were left to rue the three winning favourites in particular.

“We got off to a good start with Gladiatorus going down in battle, but we’ve been on a slippery slope since then,” said their spokesman Paddy Power.

“It’s been a flying start to the week for punters and the only tonic for the bookies is that we’re only on day one – and it’s a marathon, not a sprint!”

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