Cheltenham Festival's final day secures 'best ever' for bookies

  • Sam Mudge

In a week dominated by Irish stables who have claimed an impressive 19 victories from 28 races, bookmakers have had a bumper final day at the Cheltenham Festival as 7/1 shot Sizing John saved bookmakers a projected £20million pay-out.

7/1 shot Sizing John’s victory in the Timico Gold Cup landed further spoils for Irish stables at Cheltenham and the Irish team of Jessica Harrington and Robbie Power.

Bookmakers Ladbrokes, who where desperate for race favourites Djakadam, Native River, and Cue Card to lose the Gold Cup, let out a huge sigh of relief when Sizing John finished first, eventually saving them a massive pay-out to punters.

Luckily for the bookmakers, Sizing John, the outsider horse, ran the race of his life beating, Djakadam, Native River, and Cue Card to the Gold Cup podium.

Sizing John - Hero of the Bookmakers

In an interview with the Mirror, Ladbrokes' Nicola McGeady certainly thought so, and couldn't hide her relief at the result.

She said: "Sizing John has saved us from an astronomical pay-out, after punters latched onto the front three in the betting.

"We went into the final day bracing ourselves for another torrid day following on from 'Ruby Thursday', but Robbie Power has come to our rescue, saving the industry an estimated £20m.”

Paddy Power’s Paul Binfield has also said that this year’s festival has been a good year for the layers.

"We've never had a better Festival and that includes when Norton's Coin pulled off the greatest shock in the history of this great sport at 100-1 in 1990."

Cheltenham Festival - Gold Cup Day

Beginner's Luck

Experienced trainer Harrington, formerly of London but now based in county Kildare, Ireland, enjoyed her 10th festival triumph having had previous successes.

Twice her horse Moscow Flyer won the Queen Mother Champion Chase, and in the Champion Hurdle three years ago, her horse Jezki tasted victory in the Champion Hurdle.

The Gold Cup win is special for Harrington, though.


Her debut horse Sizing John won after all, and speaking to the BBC afterwards, Harrington said: “I have never had a runner in the race so to train the winner; I don't know when I am going to come back to earth

“It hasn't really sunk in yet. I can't believe it is true. I am sitting here, I am about to wake up and it hasn't happened. This is the jewel in the crown. It is amazing to win the Gold Cup - this is the one I have always wanted to win.

"I have not had a horse I have considered for the Gold Cup before - they have either been two-milers, handicappers or not good enough."

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