Round One of Royal Ascot 2021 went marginally to the bookmakers in a day of changing fortune for followers of the market.
The victory of Palace Pier at 2-7 in the opening Queen Anne Stakes hardly raised a ripple in the pond – but both 4-1 shot Oxted and 7-2 favourite Poetic Flare put matters comfortably to the side of the punters following their successes in the King’s Stand Stakes and St James’s Palace Stakes respectively.
Coral spokesman David Stevens encapsulated the mood at that stage of proceedings when stating: “Both those winners were popular, but the pendulum swung back with the successes of Juan Elcano (14-1 in the Wolferton), Berkshire Shadow (11-1 in the Coventry) and especially Reshoun, whose Ascot Stakes triumph at 66-1 was greeted with stony silence.
“He headed off a strong Irish challenge, and we end the first day with honours just about even.”
Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield confirmed that it was a winning day for the book, in spite of the successes of Palace Pier and Poetic Flare.
He said: “Punters win a few quid on Poetic Flare, as well as on Oxted in the King’s Stand, but the likes of 66-1 shocker Reshoun and to a lesser extent Juan Elcano were obviously difficult enough to pinpoint.”
Betway PR Manager Chad Yeomans said: “It’s been a good first day for us at Royal Ascot, with the well-backed Battaash getting beaten being the highlight.
“Palace Pier was a very short-priced winner in the opener and was in plenty of multiples, but lots of those were then let down by Battaash in the Kings Stand Stakes.
“The worst result of the day was without doubt Poetic Flare in the St James’s Palace Stakes. He was supported throughout the day and again on the show price. He’s a hardy horse who looks like he could give Palace Pier a great race in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood. We go 4-5 Palace Pier and 4-1 Poetic Flare at this stage.”
Avoiding Frankie Dettori multiples, along with defeats for Battaash and Cape Gentleman, ensured bookmakers started the week on the right foot, and while there was a Hollie Doyle winner that came at 33-1 with Amtiyaz in the concluding race.
Ladbrokes say day two could be a very different narrative, as Dettori has a full book of rides.
Nicola McGeady of Ladbrokes said: “We definitely can’t complain on day one of Royal Ascot, as things went our way. Dettori multiples being knocked over was a massive relief, while defeats for Battaash and Rachael Blackmore’s mount had a big impact on the day.
“We won’t be getting ahead of ourselves, though. Dettori has seven rides tomorrow which is enough to give our traders a sleepless night. If he gets off to a good start, the momentum will gather, and it’s not something we want to think about.”