Bookmakers Breath Sigh Of Relief After Cheltenham Upsets

Benie des Dieux’s fall at the last in the Mares’ Hurdle capped a difficult day for punters at the Cheltenham Festival as bookmakers claimed the spoils on day one.

The Irish had got the day off to a cracking start when Klassical Dream (6/1) went clear to win the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle under Ruby Walsh, while trainer Willie Mullins made it two from two when Paul Townend steered Duc des Genievres to victory at 5/1 in the Arkle. Favourite backers however had to wait until the 6th race to score a winner.

BoyleSports were breathing a huge sigh of relief when popular 7/4 shot Apple’s Jade was a beaten favourite in the Champion Hurdle, as 16/1 shot Espoir d’Allen comfortably delivered the big race of the day to trainer Gavin Cromwell. The JP McManus-owned 5-year-old has been made a 5/1 shot to defend his crown next year.

One of the Festival bankers Benie des Dieux then looked to have the Mares’ Hurdle in her grasp before going down at the last, seeing 10/1 shot Roksana upset the odds.

Altior is the overwhelming favourite for Wednesday’s big race with Nicky Henderson’s Altior a 4/9 shot to extend his unbeaten record over obstacles in the Champion Chase.

Turnover-wise we are looking at one of our busiest first days in Cheltenham history.

The Champion Hurdle really went our way and it was huge surprise to see the big three out of the frame, then a lot of accumulators also went by the wayside with Ruby’s unfortunate fall on Benie des Diuex in the Mares’ Hurdle. She had emerged as one of the bankers of the week and while we’re relatively relieved on Tuesday evening, we’re well aware it’s early days yet.

*Prices correct at time of publication.