Tony McCoy was the bookmakers’ unlikely saviour as the layers were for once pleased to see the 16-times champion jockey win a big race.
His victory on Synchronised in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup may not have been a total surprise, but it prevented a multi-million-pound payout.
Punters plunged their hard-earned cash on last year’s hero Long Run and public favourite Kauto Star, but their money was lost as Synchronised galloped to glory.
The 8-1 chance had attracted support, but it was nothing near that of the front two.
Had either of that pair won, the bookies would have faced a payout out of up to £25million.
David Williams, of Ladbrokes, said: “We’re thrilled to bits with the Gold Cup result.
“The whole race revolved around Long Run and Kauto Star so Synchronised’s win was very welcome.
“We never thought we’d be cheering a Tony McCoy-ridden Gold Cup champion back into the winner’s enclosure but most of the roars came from the bookies.”
The country’s leading bookmakers reported a record turnover on the Cheltenham Festival as results on day four saw the bookies finish in front.
“Times might be tough but at Cheltenham there were no signs of a recession. It gets bigger each year and 2012 was no exception,” Williams added.
“We didn’t deliver a knock-out blow as the battle between punters and bookies ebbed and flowed all week but we’ll leave the Cotswolds feeling happy enough.”
Gold Cup sponsors Betfred were happy with the way the other results went as well as the big one.
“Synchronised’s victory in the Gold Cup has capped a fantastic day for the layers who not only got Long Run and Kauto Star beaten but also Irish hot-pot Boston Bob by Brindisi Breeze in the previous race,” said Betfred spokesman George Primarolo.
StanJames.com spokesman Rory Jiwani said: “What a difference a day makes.
“Our racing traders were broken men yesterday. Today they’ve been strutting around like peacocks.
“Synchronised winning the Gold Cup was a fantastic result for us as Long Run would have wiped out our winnings from the rest of the day and more.”
William Hill estimate to have won £1.5m on the Gold Cup alone.
Their spokesperson, Kate Miller, said: “Not often do we roar home an AP McCoy winner, and even rarer do they win us over a £1m.
“We won about £1.5m on the Gold Cup alone. There was absolutely no sign of austerity at Cheltenham.
“We’ve had a revival this year and punters have embraced the Festival, but it’s been a great day for the layers.”
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