Bookmakers may have had the edge on the opening afternoon, but their willingness to take on Gary Moore’s two-mile star proved to be costly on a day when backers hit back with a vengeance.
Ladbrokes reckon Sire De Grugy’s win in the big race was the worst result at the Festival for bookmakers since Bobs Worth took the Gold Cup last year.
And it saw punters head into half-time at the Festival on the front foot.
David Williams of Ladbrokes said: “Sire De Grugy was seriously gruesome for us. As the sun came out at the races it shone on the punters.
“We’ve been clobbered by the Moore team and our good cheer on day one has all but evaporated.”
Stan James were hit hard by the success of 11-4 favourite Sire De Grugy in the feature.
Rory Jiwani of StanJames.com said, “Our decision to go top price every runner in the race backfired with the bookies keen to go after Gary Moore’s stable star.
“We were as big as 4-1 at one point in the day and that looked far too big about a horse who has done almost everything he’s been asked to do this season.”
Faugheen, a 6-4 winning favourite, got punters off to a flier in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle.
“That was a bad result for the bookies and a terrible result for us with one punter placing £57,000 on him at 7-4,” said Jiwani.
“This year’s RSA Chase went to Rebecca Curtis’ Reynoldstown winner O’Faolains Boy which was a far better result for us as we’d kept him on side for a good while.
“Whisper was a small loser for us in the Coral Cup and we were probably one of the few bookies cheering on Get Me Out Of Here at the finish. We paid out five places each-way and that proved costly as favourite Dell’Arca sneaked home in fifth place.
“Balthazar King was another bad result in the cross country as he just edged out Any Currency who was a big winner in the book. It’s fair to say the punters exacted their revenge after the bookies took the spoils on day one.”
Faugheen’s success was just the start of a bad day for William Hill, who laid a spate of well-fancied winners. Even the 33-1 victory of Hawk High in the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle could not stem the tide.
Spokeswoman Kate Miller said: “It looked a tough day for punters, but they rallied back on day two.
“We were off the bridle immediately with Faugheen’s victory and never got in the race after that. Business levels are exceptional, but sadly, it’s a score draw after day two.”