Bookmakers left ‘gasping for air’

Bookmakers were left reeling after day one of Royal Ascot as brilliant milers Toronado (pictured) and Kingman led the way for punters.

Bookmakers left ‘gasping for air’

The heavily-backed pair were considered ‘banker’ material and sent off at odds-on for the Queen Anne and St James’s Palace Stakes respectively, never giving their followers any cause for concern.

Toronado’s success was the first of a double on the day for Richard Hughes, who also struck on the well-fancied Sole Power at 5-1 in the King’s Stand Stakes as the Irish raider repeated last year’s success.

Frankie Dettori remains ever-popular with the Ascot crowd and his win on 5-1 joint-favourite The Wow Signal in the Coventry Stakes was another bookie basher.

The afternoon ended as it began, with American raider Hootenanny blitzing to glory in the Windsor Castle Stakes as the 7-2 favourite, beating 100-1 shot Union Rose in the process.

Betfred are desperate to see Treve and Dettori beaten in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes on Wednesday .

Spokesman Andrew Griffiths said: “We’ve been totally and utterly wiped out.

“Punters couldn’t have wished for a better day and they will be cracking open the champagne thanks to Kingman and co.”

Paddy Power said: “We haven’t been bashed like this at the Royal extravaganza since 2010 when Starspangeldbanner won the Diamond Jubilee and Laddies Poker Two landed the Wokingham.”

David Williams of Ladbrokes reckoned the week could not have started any worse.

He said: “Toronado and The Wow Signal got punters off to a flier and Sole Power has genuine public appeal so we were sweating up badly heading into the last big race, the St James’s Palace Stakes.

“As the odds-on Kingman scorched past his rivals in the final furlong we knew the day would belong to the punters and that there would be no way back.

“It’s been a rough start to the week for the layers.”

RaceBets were in no doubt as to how bad the day was, as spokesman Joseph Burke said: “This was undoubtedly the worst opening day of Royal Ascot we’ve ever experienced.

“Toronado started the ball rolling and subsequent wins for The Wow Signal and Sole Power meant punters were in a position to lump on Kingman and he duly obliged. A defeat for Perfect Heart provided a brief respite before Hootenanny rounded off a phenomenal pounding.

“It’s a long week, but I’d imagine most bookmakers are on the ropes and gasping for air at this stage.”

Rory Jiwani of said many punters had Toronado and Kingman in multiple bets.

He said: “The punters have cleaned our clocks and no mistake today. Toronado and Kingman were the big two with both backed in singles and doubles.

“Reigning champion Sole Power was our only loser in the King’s Stand but we knew our fate a fair distance from home as Richard Hughes eased Eddie Lynam’s star through the pack. Lynam said he would ’definitely maybe’ run again in the Diamond Jubilee and we cut the seven-year-old from 16-1 to 10-1 for Saturday’s race.”

Coral’s Nicola McGeady echoed the rest of the industry and said: “We went out on a limb by offering 5-4 Kingman and unsurprisingly this proved extremely popular and left us facing a huge liability.

“That would’ve been bad enough but wins for Toronado, Sole Power and The Wow Signal ensured punters ended day one of the biggest week of the Flat season well in front.”

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