Bookmakers ended the Cheltenham Festival on a high as all seven favourites were beaten, to sink backers.
Punters had hoped to finish the four-day Festival with a flourish, after a series of well-supported winners on Thursday. However, the results went the way of the layers.
The victory of Henry de Bromhead’s Minella Indo (9-1) over the two market leaders A Plus Tard and Al Boum Photo in the WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup put bookmakers on the front foot.
The double-figure wins of Belfast Banter (33-1), Porlock Bay (16-1) and Vanillier (14-1) all added to misery for backers.
The success of 2-1 second-best Quilixios for the De Bromhead team in the Triumph Hurdle did not have a great bearing as it meant 11-8 favourite Zanahyir was beaten.
It was a similar story in the Mares’ Chase with Colreevy (9-4) getting the better of her Willie Mullins’ stablemate Elimay, the 6-5 favourite.
Mullins also took the final race of the meeting, the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, with Galopin Des Champs (8-1) when the trainer also supplied the beaten favourite, Gentleman De Mee.
“Thursday ended badly for the layers with a trio of well-backed winners, and when Rachael Blackmore continued that run with victory on Quilixios in the Triumph Hurdle, the biggest day of the week got off to a poor start,” said Coral’s David Stevens.
“However, both Belfast Banter and Vanillier were welcome winners for us, and when it came to the biggest betting heat of the week, it seemed as if Gold Cup punters only wanted to be with Al Boum Photo and A Plus Tard, so Minella Indo came to our rescue in style.
“Defeats for Billaway and Elimay in the two races that followed put the icing on our cake.
“The first three days of this unusual Festival had seen results swing back and forth, but when it really mattered on this massive final day, we can have no complaints.”
Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield said: “WellChild Cheltenham Gold Cup day was a good day for us even allowing for one lucky and skilful punter picking up €578,000 on an accumulator placed in December.
“But a hearty congratulations to that customer and after a terrible Thursday, we’ve ended the week a small bit behind.”
The lucky customer was in the money after Minella Indo was the final leg in a €20 accumulator placed in Paddy Power’s Shannon shop in County Clare on December 1.
All his winners were at Cheltenham with Honeysuckle, Bob Olinger and Put The Kettle On doing their bit at the Festival earlier in the week.