Big Orange the big saver for bookmakers as favourites are edged out
Favourite backers suffered an agonizing series of near-misses at Ascot on Thursday to the delight of bookmakers as the well-backed market leaders in the Hampton Court, the Ribblesdale and, most crucially, the Gold Cup, all went down to narrow defeats.
With the day's Wesley Ward special, McErin, also downed in the opening Norfolk Stakes, the layers were able to celebrate a good day, albeit one where the favourites were often beaten by their main market rivals.
The key result was undoubtedly Big Orange holding off the late charge of Order Of St George, who had been steadily backed down from last week's 5-4 and opened at 10-11 on course, before going off the 5-6 favourite.
Nicola McGeady of Ladbrokes said: "Today has been very tricky for punters, with the most significant result being a win for Big Orange. Although the winner was backed, Order Of St George was one of the bankers of the week and would’ve resulted in a huge payout."
With Churchill having been beaten at 1-2 on Tuesday, those who have played the Aidan O'Brien short-priced runners this week have been burned twice now, with the sight of Ryan Moore steering home Ballydoyle's Sioux Nation at 14-1 coming as scant consolation.
Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield said: “Mori was the best backed horse of the day so getting her beaten in the Ribblesdale was a huge result, while Big Orange had his supporters in the Gold Cup but was preferable to Order Of St George."
So more than halfway through the week the bookies are currently ahead, but punters will fancy their chances of gaining the upper hand with some juicy-looking favourites including Caravaggio and Winter on Friday’s card.