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Punters ahead at half-time but fewer penalty kicks lie ahead in second half

The Cheltenham betting ring where punters have had the upper hand so far
1 of 1

Bookmakers were putting on a brave face as they trail punters in their annual festival shootout, hoping bulging pockets will be emptied back to them in the second half of the meeting.

The ups and downs were more marked on Wednesday as after Samcro and Presenting Percy had won as two Irish-trained favourites the satchels were considerably lighter, before only Altior added to the woe in between 20-1, 25-1 and 33-1 winners.

David Stevens of Coral said: "We were desperate for a result in the Coral Cup and got it, but it was only a brief respite with Altior and then Tiger Roll popular winners.

"Punters are unquestionably in front after two days. They have plenty of money for tomorrow and Friday and hopefully will give plenty back as it doesn't look so easy from now on."

Paddy Power were looking down the barrel after the first four races but after the last race spokesman Paul Binfield said: "We were delighted in the end after how it looked at 3.30pm when Altior won.

"At half-time punters are slightly ahead but it could have been much much worse and we take strength from the last two days looking to not have the same number of certainties as the first two."

Betway and Ladbrokes were not so upbeat after a pounding on Wednesday from Samcro, Presenting Percy and Altior.

Betway: "The Samcro, Presenting Percy and Altior treble was the one we were fearing"
Nicola McGeady of Ladbrokes said: “We couldn’t have had a worse day with the three horses we were desperate to get beaten romping home.

“Altior and Samcro did the most damage, costing the betting industry an estimated £20 million.”

Betway's Alan Alger added: "There's no two ways about it, we've been absolutely smashed. The Samcro, Presenting Percy and Altior treble was the one we were fearing most heading into day two and it's hit us very hard.

"With two days to battle back we're staring down the barrel of a possible seven-figure loss and one of the most costly Cheltenham Festivals in recent memory.

"We need some shocks to crop up over the next two days to get us out of jail."

Betfred spokesman Matt Hulmes said: “It’s been a bloodbath for us bookies but with 14 races to go let’s just hope it’s a game of two halves.”


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We couldn’t have had a worse day with the three horses we were deparate to get beaten romping home to victory
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