'Honours even' in bookie-punter clash
Ladbrokes declared the result of this year's bookie v punter battle at the Cheltenham Festival as "honours even" but other firms finished up.
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Having started badly on day one, the bookies hit back on days two and three only for the punters to land the final blow on Friday.
Favourite Bobs Worth's victory in the Gold Cup was one of several jollies to land the spoils on the final day, including At Fishers Cross in the Albert Bartlett and Salsify in the Foxhunters.
David Williams of Ladbrokes said: "We thought it was an open-looking race but the punters steamed into Bobs Worth in a big way. It was one-way traffic for most of the day and the winner was easily the worst result in our book.
"We went into the big race feeling pretty good but punters have got their revenge when it really matters. It has been a roller-coaster of a week and we'll happily take the score draw."
Sky Bet finished just up for the week thanks largely to Gevrey Chambertin's defeat in the Martin Pipe Conditionals Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle - a race won by Salubrious.
Their Michael Shinners said: "The final day certainly went to the punters with Our Conor, At Fishers Cross, Bobs Worth and Alderwood all being very well backed.
"If Gevrey Chambertin had have won, it would have been far, far worse.
"Overall the days have been 2-2 but the profit that we won on Thursday meant that we were up on the week."
Rory Jiwani, of Stan James, said the Gold Cup losses put punters "well and truly on top for day four" but said his firm, like Sky Bet, had ended ahead for the week.
"Two results have made the difference between it being a good week and a superb week for us. If Hurricane Fly had been beaten in the Stan James Champion Hurdle, and Bobs Worth failed to deliver in the Gold Cup, it would have been party time for us and the rest of the layers. But you can't get them all beat so we're reasonably pleased at the end of the Festival."