Bookies survive Dettori’s Ascot heroics

Frankie Dettori enjoyed yet another successful day at the Royal Ascot festival yesterday, guiding Stradivarius to a second successive Gold Cup victory, while also winning the first four races on Ladies’ Day, leaving bookmakers to breathe a slight sigh of relief.

Following the four successive wins yesterday, it has been reported that the jockey was close to costing betting operators dearly, however, the losses have been offset by Biometric’s win in the fifth race.

Harry Aitkenhead, PR executive at Coral, told SBC: “It’s hard to gauge exactly what would have happened if Frankie had gone through the card as the betting for the final race would have likely descended into chaos! However had he of won the fifth, it would have cost us over £10 million.

“It looked like he was going to fly home as well so as Harry Bentley came surging past on Biometric it was one of the biggest swings in bookmaking history! In the end we managed to turn over a very small profit on the whole day with two very good results in the final two races, although hundreds of punters still collected big wins from Frankie’s magic.

“A £1 bet on the four would have returned £600, whilst a Lucky 15 placed in the morning with the better odds would have paid just over £2000.”

At one stage during the day, bookies feared that the jockey would continue his winning streak, bringing back memories of Dettori’s 1996 ‘magnificent seven’, which is reported to have cost the industry an estimated £180 m if this were the case.

Aitkenhead added: “Punters love following a hot streak but even more when it’s somebody like Dettori who has been there and done it so many times before.

“Overall, it’s about all square between punters and bookies with plenty of strikes for both sides. Ryan Moore has also had three winners and the big jockeys always prove really popular with bettors. However there’s been a few surprises sprung and it’s all to play for going into a bumper Saturday!”

Betway’s Alan Alger added: “Frankie Dettori is by far the country’s most popular jockey, and when he’s riding winners left, right and centre on one of the biggest betting days of the year it’s going to end badly for the bookies.

“Ladies’ Day 2019 will go down as one of the most memorable in Royal Ascot’s 300-year history, but it will also live long in the memories of bookmakers as being very expensive.

“We were staring directly down the barrel when the Italian stretched clear in the closing stages of the Britannia on Turgenev, but Harry Bentley and outsider Biometric swooped late to save us from a devastating loss.”

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