Bookmakers narrowly avoid Frankie Dettori ‘bloodbath’ at Ascot

Thu 20 Jun 2019

Bookmakers were saved from what one firm described as a “bloodbath” when Frankie Dettori’s seemingly unstoppable run came to an end in the fifth race of the day at Royal Ascot on Thursday.

The Italian roared through the early stages of the card, winning the first four races, which included a repeat victory in the Gold Cup aboard Stradivarius.

With memories of his famous ‘Magnificent Seven’ of September 1996 – when he rode all seven winners at Ascot – at the forefront of everyone’s mind, the prices on his last mounts in the final two contests on the six-race card, Turgenev and Questionare, collapsed.

Turgenev went off at 7-2 having been 25-1 in the morning – and it looked liked the unthinkable was on as he still led close home, only to be caught in the shadow of the post by 28-1 chance Biometric. Turgenev traded at 1.36 in-running on Betfair.

Nicola McGeady of Ladbrokes said: “Frankie Dettori is the toast of the nation after an incredibly dramatic day at Royal Ascot. We are hugely relieved to have avoided the worst case scenario of a ‘Magnificent Six’, but we are by no means celebrating.

“A four-timer for the most popular jockey at the biggest meeting of the Flat season is a shocking result and can only be described as a bloodbath.”

Ascot’s official bookmaking partner Betfred breathed a huge sigh of relief, along with the whole industry.

Spokesman Mark Pearson said: “Frankie riding the first four and especially getting a tune out of Stradivarius in the big one was very costly.

 Dettori had the bookmakers fearing the worst (PA)
Dettori had the bookmakers fearing the worst (PA)

“However every bookie is going to bed tonight relieved because if Frankie had done the unthinkable it would have been the biggest pay-out in bookmaking history.”

Betway’s Alan Alger said: “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.

“It has been an absolutely titanic tussle between Dettori-backers and the bookies, and though it’s the former that have come out on top, it could have been so much worse.

“Stradivarius, despite taking a drift in the morning, was heavily gambled after Dettori rode the first three winners on the day and that result hit us hard.

“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.”

Further reaction came from Betfair’s Barry Orr, who said: “The first four winners were bad results, but if either of Frankie’s last two mounts had won all previous known losses would have paled into insignificance.

“That includes Cheltenham calamities such as Annie Power.”

The same firm quote Dettori at 25-1 for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year.

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