Wednesday wipeout: bookmakers fearing worst on second day of festival
Bookmakers are fearing a Wednesday wipeout at Cheltenham with three of the shortest-priced favourites of the week on course to line up on day two of the festival.
The Irish-trained trio of Envoi Allen in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle, Tiger Roll in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase and Appreciate It in the Weatherbys Champion Bumper are all trading at 2-1 or shorter and form the bedrock of accumulators with the potential to make it a grim afternoon for layers.
Boylesports’ Leon Blanche said: "Wednesday has got the potential to be a shocker of a day for the bookies. We'll be running scared if Envoi Allen gets the Irish off to a flyer in the first."
With Altior and Defi Du Seuil short at the head of the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase lists and Champ a solid favourite for the RSA Novices' Chase, the Wednesday threatens to eclipse last year when four market leaders did the business on day two, after three in 2018.
Matt Trounce, racing trader for Ladbrokes, said Wednesday had now taken over from Tuesday as the day his firm feared most at the meeting.
He said: "Tuesday has tended to be the day where we've seen a lot of the Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh 'bankers' down the years.
"We’ve seen quite a few very uncompetitive Champion Chases of late, meaning bookmakers have been less exposed to heavy losses, but that's all changed this year. It has the potential to be a really big day for the punters. Envoi Allen is the worst single result on the Wednesday at the moment, closely followed by Tiger Roll."
Envoi Allen was a top-priced 11-8 on Monday for the opening race of Cheltenham's second day on March 11, but Tiger Roll, also trained by Gordon Elliott, is even shorter and is no bigger than 11-10.
Paddy Power are already reporting three potential six-figure losses for day two of the festival. Spokesman Paul Binfield said: "At the moment the Wednesday looks the most dangerous of the four. Altior, Tiger Roll and Copperhead in the RSA are all relatively significant six-figure losers, although the ante-post amounts pale in comparison to what we’ll take on the day."
Envoi Allen, Tiger Roll and Altior were all successful on the Wednesday last year and Binfield added: "Last year we started off brilliantly on the Wednesday with the first two favourites beaten, but then Altior won and started a significant turn with the last three jollies winning and closing the card brilliantly for punters. That led into a terrible Thursday."
Blanche reports The Big Breakaway to be his firm’s biggest loser in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle after a substantial wager on Colin Tizzard’s unbeaten star.
Blanche said: "We've laid a very large single on The Big Breakaway, so he is our biggest loser in the Ballymore at the moment. That will of course change to Envoi Allen come race day. Appreciate It in the Bumper is currently the other big loser in our book on the Wednesday and this will become gigantic should Envoi Allen and Tiger Roll oblige earlier on the card."
The number of favourites who have been successful on day two of the Cheltenham Festival over the last two years
Envoi Allen (Ballymore) 2-1 (top prices)
Champ (RSA) 7-2
Protektorat (Coral Cup) 12-1
Altior (Champion Chase) 2-1
Tiger Roll (Cross Country) 11-10
Aramax (Boodles) 6-1
Appreciate It (Champion Bumper) 2-1
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