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Douvan's shock defeat helps layers open up a clear half-time lead

Douvan's defeat has the bookies all smiles after two days of the festival
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Douvan’s eclipse in the Betway Queen Mother Chase saved the major bookmakers a payout in excess of £10 million and, along with second-day defeats for Neon Wolf and Tombstone, left them well in front at half-time at this year’s Cheltenham Festival.

William Hill’s Jon Ivan-Duke said: “Douvan had been well backed ante-post and was the banker in so many festival accumulative bets that his defeat is in the top five results for the bookmakers this century.

“We are talking over seven figures for William Hill alone but across the industry it will be in excess of £10m. Neon Wolf getting beaten by Willoughby Court and Tombstone being well seen off in the Coral Cup were obviously big results for us as well.”

David Williams of Ladbrokes echoed those sentiments and said: “It's far too early to start crowing as there are still two days of the festival left, but we're comfortably in front at halfway. What a difference from last year when after the first two days we were all but down and out.”

He added: “The sun was shining on the bookmakers today as we thought it would require an act of God to get Douvan beaten, but get him beaten we did. Tombstone would have been a horrendous result as the Coral Cup is hugely popular with punters, but he was beaten a long way from home.”

Coral's David Stevens said: "For the second day running we got off to a flyer, with a well-backed favourite in Neon Wolf getting chinned, and while Might Bite was a popular RSA winner, a victory for his stablemate Whisper would actually have been a more costly result.

"The best-backed horse of the day was Tombstone in our race, and in the event, we barely had a moment's worry, and when the red-hot favourite Douvan was out of the places in the Champion Chase, many remaining accumulators went down."

"For the first time in a few years we are ahead at half-time, but there's still plenty of chances for punters to fight back – and with the biggest day of the week still to come on Friday, we're not getting too carried away just yet."

Barry Orr of Betfair said: ‘Punters saw their Neon Wolf and Douvan cash get buried under Tombstone but the undertakers were put on hold when wins for Might Bite and Cause Of Causes changed the punting epitaph from ‘dead’ to ‘still breathing’.

Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield said: “It’s getting a little bit embarrassing how well the week has gone for the books so far. Neon Wolf being devoured was a huge result and, while punters had a little bit of respite with Cause Of Causes, it’s been hard work finding the winners for backers.”

We are talking over seven figures for William Hill alone but across the industry it will be in excess of £10 million
E.W. Terms