Thursday 14 December 2017

Bobs Worth his weight in Gold for punters as bookies take battering

Keith Hamer

Bookmakers were battered on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival as punters piled into another feature-race winner.

Star of the show for backers was Bobs Worth as he powered up the hill to take the Betfred Gold Cup and justify favouritism for Prestbury Park's record-breaking trainer Nicky Henderson.

In an up-and-down week for layers and bettors, the latter held sway as At Fishers Cross (11/8), Salsify (2/1) and Alderwood (3/1) in the closing Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase were other successful market leaders, while Our Conor was another popular success in the Triumph.

But it was Bobs Worth's victory that had the bookies on the ropes, led by the big-race sponsors.

"I stuck out my chest offering 4/1 about Bobs Worth and it's cost me two and a half million," said Betfred boss Fred Done.

"Watching him stretch away was painful at the time, but as the sponsor, I want to see a superstar winning the Gold Cup.

"Bobs Worth looks like he could be the next big thing and I might think twice about taking him on next year."

It was a similar story for Ladbrokes, with their spokesman David Williams saying: "We thought it was an open-looking race, but the punters steamed into Bobs Worth in a big way.

"It was one-way traffic for most of the day and the winner was easily the worst result in our book.

"We went into the big race feeling pretty good, but punters have got their revenge when it really matters. It has been a roller-coaster of a week and we'll happily take the score draw."

Coral were left counting the cost with a pay-out of more than £500,000 on Bobs Worth alone.

"After a challenging week, punters have finally managed to get revenge on the bookies," said Coral's Nicola McGeady.

"Our Conor and At Fishers Cross were strongly backed, but Bobs Worth's win was the icing on the cake to wrap up the week on a high."

For Stan James, it was case of a bad start and an even worse finish.

"Bobs Worth was by far our worst result in the Gold Cup after we went top price every runner from 9.0am," said their spokesman Rory Jiwani.

"Two results have made the difference between it being a good week and a superb week for us.

"If Hurricane Fly had been beaten in the Stan James Champion Hurdle and Bobs Worth failed to deliver in the Gold Cup, it would have been party time for us and the rest of the layers. But you can't get them all beat, so we're reasonably pleased at the end of the Festival.

"That result put the punters well and truly on top for Day 4 after 11/8 favourite At Fishers Cross took the Albert Bartlett."

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