Three winning favourites on the opening day of Royal Ascot gave punters a slight edge with most bookmakers.
Victory for Circus Maximus (4-1) in the Queen Anne Stakes, Frankly Darling (11-8) in the Ribblesdale and Battaash (5-6) in the King’s Stand brought joy for backers.
It would have been even better had Mogul (5-6 favourite), fourth in the King Edward VII Stakes, and Verdana Blue (4-1), runner-up in the Ascot Stakes, obliged.
Thankfully for the layers, Pyledriver (18-1) and Coeur De Lion (16-1) saved them from further punishment by winning those two races, while Motakhayyel (14-1), the first leg of a treble for jockey Jim Crowley, was a good result in the curtain-raiser, the Buckingham Palace Handicap.
Nicola McGeady, of Ladbrokes, said: “Punters will be celebrating from home this evening after beating the bookies at Royal Ascot.
“Three winning favourites ensured there were plenty of happy racing fans up and down the country, leaving the bookies trailing behind on day one.”
Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield said: “The bookies were fortunate that Coeur De Lion lived up to his name when getting the better of Verdana Blue in the last and saving the day.
“We ended up slightly down, but we’ll happily take that after winning favourites in both Group Ones and Frankly Darling landing the odds in the Ribblesdale. Mogul getting beat was a huge result for the layers.”
Coral felt both sides had reason to cheer after the first salvo.
“We got off to a good start when the ever popular Frankie Dettori was beaten on both Daarik and Terebellum, and although Frankie did get off the mark on Frankly Darling,” said Coral’s David Stevens.
“Mogul’s defeat in the King Edward VII Stakes was our best result of the day, and meant Battaash finally winning the King’s Stand at the third time of asking was not too costly.
“With an extra six races at this year’s Royal meeting, and betting shops across England open again, this was an opening day when both punters and bookies had plenty to cheer.”
Nazeef may not have started favourite but at 100-30, the filly’s success in the Duke Of Cambridge was a big loser for Betway.
Their PR manager Chad Yeomans said: “One of the biggest betting weeks of the year has started and whilst punters have had joy with Frankly Darling in the Ribblesdale and Battaash in the King’s Stand, getting Mogul beaten was a big help for us.
“Despite offering six places in the first race, the two well-backed horses Daarik and Kaeso finishing out of the places, gave us a bright start on a grey afternoon in Berkshire.
“Nazeef was the worst result in the book in the Duke of Cambridge, so her winning didn’t make for pleasant viewing, but Coeur De Lion’s success in the finale helped us claw back to level terms as we look forward to day two.”
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