Bookies cursing their luck after getting whacked by Don Poli

Bookmakers face an "uphill struggle" to claw back the deficit in the betting ring battle after punters came out on top once more on day two of the Cheltenham Festival.

The layers only narrowly avoided what could have been the worst day in bookmaking history when Annie Power came to grief at the final flight in the OLBG Mares’ Hurdle on Tuesday, with the Willie Mullins-trained trio of Supreme winner Douvan, Arkle victor Un De Sceaux and Champion Hurdle hero Faugheen all big losers.

Mullins was unable to carry on the momentum in yesterday’s opening Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle, with 7-2 favourite Nichols Canyon only third, but Dermot Weld’s winner Windsor Park (9-2) had plenty of supporters.

Mullins was, however, at it again in the RSA Chase as the well supported 13-8 favourite Don Poli powered up the hill.

Aux Ptits Soins was a popular 9-1 winner of the Coral Cup, before his stablemate Dodging Bullets struck at 9-2 in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

There was brief respite for the bookies as 16-1 shot Rivage D’Or claimed the Glenfarclas Cross County Chase and 25-1 chance Qualando took out the Fred Winter, but Moon Racer sent favourite backers home happy with victory at 9-2 in the Champion Bumper.

David Williams of Ladbrokes said: “We needed to hit back hard after the opening day meltdown but it hasn’t quite gone to plan.

“Don Poli was a rotten result, Aux Ptits Soins was lousy and Dodging Bullets was only okay. The day threatened to turn in our favour when Rivage D’Or and Qualando sprang surprises but it finished horribly with Moon Racer and we’ve reached half-time still facing an uphill struggle to come out on top. On a day when we needed to dodge every early bullet we feel as if we walked into a few more.”

Betfred spokesman Andrew Griffiths said: “We hoped the tide had turned when Annie Power came down yesterday, but we’ve endured another torrid afternoon in the Cotswolds.

“The bookies are dancing to the punters’ tune and we’re very clearly 2-0 down.”


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