Thursday 21 November 2019

Ruby Walsh's €100m Annie Power tumble rescues bookies but punters still win

Annie Power, with Ruby Walsh up, falls at the last during the OLBG Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham. Photo: Action Images via Reuters / Matthew Childs
Annie Power, with Ruby Walsh up, falls at the last during the OLBG Mares' Hurdle at Cheltenham. Photo: Action Images via Reuters / Matthew Childs

Richard Forristal

This is the dramatic moment that is reckoned to have saved the bookmaking industry upwards of €100m at Cheltenham yesterday.

After the first three Willie Mullins-trained favourites had lived up to their brief on part one of the famous four-day Festival, it was left to Annie Power to land the knockout blow. Douvan, Un De Sceaux and Faugheen had lined punters pockets, and a record Tuesday crowd of 63,249 who had reinvested their winnings and waited on the four-horse accumulators looked to be in green when Ruby Walsh eased Annie Power clear approaching the final flight in the Mares' Hurdle.

However, she exited spectacularly, though she and Walsh emerged unscathed. Frankie Dettori's 1996 Magnificent Seven at Ascot cost the bookies €56m, so Mullins would have done even more damage had Annie Power won.

Incredibly, on a sun-kissed afternoon beneath Cleeve Hill, Mullins still basked in the glory of an unprecedented Grade One four-timer, as his second-string Glens Melody instead clung on, before JP McManus' Cause Of Causes completed a remarkable Irish five-timer.

CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 10: Ruby Walsh falls from Annie Power at the last when clear in The OLBG Mare' Hurdle Race at Cheltenham racecourse on March 10, 2015 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 10: Ruby Walsh falls from Annie Power at the last when clear in The OLBG Mare' Hurdle Race at Cheltenham racecourse on March 10, 2015 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 10: Ruby Walsh falls from Annie Power at the last when clear in The OLBG Mare' Hurdle Race at Cheltenham racecourse on March 10, 2015 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Ruby Walsh celebrates his victory on Un De Sceaux in the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase on Champion Day, during the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday March 10, 2015. See PA story RACING Cheltenham. Picture credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial Use only, commercial use is subject to prior permission from The Jockey Club/Cheltenham Racecourse. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Annie Power ridden by Ruby Walsh falls after jumping the last fence during the OLBG Mares' Hurdle on Champion Day, during the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday March 10, 2015. See PA story RACING Cheltenham. Picture credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial Use only, commercial use is subject to prior permission from The Jockey Club/Cheltenham Racecourse. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - MARCH 10: Ruby Walsh falls from Annie Power at the last when clear in The OLBG Mare' Hurdle Race at Cheltenham racecourse on March 10, 2015 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Ruby Walsh celebrates his victory on Un De Sceaux in the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase on Champion Day, during the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday March 10, 2015. See PA story RACING Cheltenham. Picture credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial Use only, commercial use is subject to prior permission from The Jockey Club/Cheltenham Racecourse. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Horse Racing - Cheltenham Festival - Cheltenham Racecourse - 10/3/15 Ruby Walsh on Douvan celebrates winning the 13.30 Supreme Novices Hurdle Race Reuters / Dylan Martinez Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Ruby Walsh celebrates winning the Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase on Un De Sceaux alongside trainer Willie Mullins (far right) and other connections, on Champion Day, during the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday March 10, 2015. See PA story RACING Cheltenham. Picture credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial Use only, commercial use is subject to prior permission from The Jockey Club/Cheltenham Racecourse. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Ruby Walsh celebrates his victory on Douvan in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle on Champion Day, during the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday March 10, 2015. See PA story RACING Cheltenham. Picture credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial Use only, commercial use is subject to prior permission from The Jockey Club/Cheltenham Racecourse. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Jeremy Kyle and wife Carla Germaine arrive for Champion Day, during the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday March 10, 2015. See PA story RACING Cheltenham. Picture credit should read: Joe Giddens/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial Use only, commercial use is subject to prior permission from The Jockey Club/Cheltenham Racecourse. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Horse Racing - Cheltenham Festival - Cheltenham Racecourse - 10/3/15 Ruby Walsh on Douvan celebrates as he enters the winners enclosure after the 13.30 Supreme Novices Hurdle Race Reuters / Eddie Keogh Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Race goers check the form on Champion Day, during the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday March 10, 2015. See PA story RACING Cheltenham. Picture credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial Use only, commercial use is subject to prior permission from The Jockey Club/Cheltenham Racecourse. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Horse Racing - Cheltenham Festival - Cheltenham Racecourse - 10/3/15 Chanelle McCoy (R), wife of jockey AP McCoy, smiles as she arrives with a friend for the opening day Reuters / Dylan Martinez Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Horse Racing - Cheltenham Festival - Cheltenham Racecourse - 10/3/15 Crowds are seen in the Guinness Village before the first race of the day Reuters / Eddie Keogh Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Horse Racing - Cheltenham Festival - Cheltenham Racecourse - 10/3/15 Racegoers check their form books before the first race of the day Reuters / Eddie Keogh Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Horse Racing - Cheltenham Festival - Cheltenham Racecourse - 10/3/15 Racehorses head towards the second fence during the 13.30 Supreme Novices Hurdle Race Reuters / Eddie Keogh Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Two pints of Guinness and a Ruby Walsh mask on Champion Day, during the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday March 10, 2015. See PA story RACING Cheltenham. Picture credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial Use only, commercial use is subject to prior permission from The Jockey Club/Cheltenham Racecourse. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Horse Racing - Cheltenham Festival - Cheltenham Racecourse - 10/3/15 Ruby Walsh on Douvan celebrates winning the 13.30 Supreme Novices Hurdle Race Action Images via Reuters / Matthew Childs Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Horse Racing - Cheltenham Festival - Cheltenham Racecourse - 10/3/15 Racehorses head towards the third fence during the 13.30 Supreme Novices Hurdle Race Reuters / Dylan Martinez Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

"It could have been a lot worse if Annie Power hadn't tipped over at the last hurdle," Boylesports' spokesman Liam Glynn said, though he reiterated that it was still a losing day for the industry.

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