Emmet Mullins-trained handicapper scores by wide margin after big Friday gamble
The second leg of a monster gamble on two Emmet Mullins-trained horses was successful at Down Royal on Friday as Blackstair Rocco, backed from 8-1 into 10-11, made absolutely no mistake under Mike O'Connor in the 2m4½f handicap hurdle (2.55).
Shake Him Up, who Paddy Power and Ladbrokes laid at 100-1 and was trading at odds-on at one stage in the morning, could finish only fifth in the earlier maiden hurdle (2.20) having been sent off at 9-4.
In stark contrast to Shake Him Up, who never looked happy, Blackstair Rocco was always in the perfect position under O'Connor and cruised to the front at the second-last. The result was never in doubt from that point and he was pushed out to win by 16 lengths from Blue Markie.
The six-year-old brought form figures of 00870 into the race and was last seen finishing 14th of 22, beaten 22 lengths, in a novice handicap hurdle at the Punchestown festival when 80-1.
The Racing Post Spotlight comment for Blackstair Rocco read: "Second in a point in December; hasn't built on that in five runs under rules; tough mark."
What the bookies said before racing
Nicola McGeady, head of PR for Ladbrokes, said: "Shake Him Up is the biggest mover of the two with us. The move started late last night. We went up at 100-1 and within an hour it was down to 9-4 so it was an absolute crash in price.
"Blackstair Rocco wasn't as dramatic. He was 15-2 when we opened up and within the hour it was down to 5-6."
Paddy Power's Paul Binfield said the surge of support for both horses continued despite the prices collapsing.
Binfield said: "We've seen bits and pieces for both them and punters are actually still backing them would you believe. We laid Shake Him Up at 100-1.
"Emmet Mullins has become one of those trainers that punters have latched on to so we were on to the two horses quite quickly."
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