Tea gambled foiled at Chepstow
William Hill narrowly avoided a £1.4 million payout on Saturday afternoon with the defeat of Teaforthree in the Coral Welsh National at Chepstow.
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The Rebecca Curtis-trained chaser had been the subject of a strong ante-post gamble, and heavy day-of-race business after William Hill offered 5/1 in their morning prices.
With AP McCoy aboard, the nine-year-old was sent off the well-supported 11/4 favourite, and lead through the business end of the race before the Paul Carberry-ridden Monbeg Dude swooped late to take the spoils.
Kate Miller, spokeswoman for William Hill, said: "We got our tactics wrong in hindsight today and luck, it appears, was on our side.
"We were keen to lay Teaforthree but 5/1 was clearly viewed as a massive price by punters and they duly came in droves this morning.
"It was equal to a Cheltenham Festival runner in terms of popularity, and 25,000 win singles alone were struck on Rebecca's runner throughout the day.
"We've dodged a £1.4million payout and so 'The Great Escape' is definitely our office anthem of the day.''
Teaforthree has been cut to 20/1 from 25/1 for the Grand National with his victor Monbeg Dude also quoted at the price.
The favourite remains Prince de Beauchene at 16/1.
BetVictor have cut Jeremy Scott's Melodic Rendezvous from 25s to 14/1 for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheteltenham Feastival and from 25s to 16/1 for the Neptune after his fluent success in the Grade 1 Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown.
Sky Bet make him 14s for the Supreme while he is 14/1 (from 20/1) with Boylesports.
Leon Blanche, spokesman for the latter, commented: "Melodic Rendezvous confirmed his progressive profile by winning well in a good Grade 1 event.
"His trainer said afterwards that he is every inch a stayer but that he has plenty of speed. They have options at the Festival."
Swnymor was so nearly the merrier at Chepstow but, looking to have the Grade 1 Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow at his mercy, fell at the last flight of hurdles.
He is unchanged at 16/1 with Boylesports for the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
The winner Ruacana has been introduced at 20/1 by Boylesports for the same race. The staying-on runner-up in the contest, Caid Du Berlais, is also 20/1 with Boylesports for Triumph success.
Leon Blanche said: "Swnymor looked set for a good win when asked for a big jump at the last by Richard Johnson and they just met the flight wrong.
"Overall, though, it looked a good event and he remains very much in the Cheltenham picture."
He added: "Horse and rider walked away apparently unscathed from the mishap."