Bookies 'happy' with day one
An attacking policy from bookmakers paid off on the opening day at Royal Ascot as they were vindicated for strongly opposing several well-supported favourites to give them the edge over the punters.
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The layers stood firm on the first two market leaders Animal Kingdom and Shea Shea and were rewarded as the pair were defeated.
The demise of Kentucky Derby and Dubai World Cup winner Animal Kingdom (5/4) in the opening Queen Anne Stakes was welcomed, as Declaration Of War (15/2) took the honours to gave bookmakers the best possible start.
And when Shea Shea (11/4) could not cope with Irish speedster Sole Power (8-1) in the King's Stand Stakes, the bookies were in dreamland.
Backers also plunged on Tiger Cliff (4/1), trained by Lady Cecil, but there was no emotional victory for Sir Henry Cecil's widow as the stayer had to settle for second place behind Well Sharp (9/1).
Although Dawn Approach (5/4) gave punters respite by getting his nose in front in the St James's Palace, the bulk of the layers were smiling at the end of the day thanks to wins by War Command (20/1) and Extortionist (16/1).
Ladbrokes spokesman David Williams said: "We really can't grumble. All our nerves were loaded into the front end of the day and we got some cracking results. Dawn Approach was expensive but we're broadly happy with the day.''
Betfred were on the front foot thanks to Animal Kingdom's poor show in the opener.
The Warrington-based firm offered a concession on the race that if the favourite won by more than two lengths, then they would double the odds for anyone who backed him at starting price.
Betfred estimate it would have cost them in the region of £500,000 had Animal Kingdom triggered the offer.
Betfred spokesman Andrew Griffiths said: "Punters lapped up our double-the-odds offer on Animal Kingdom and we let out a big sigh of relief when he dropped out after halfway.
"The day then hinged on the other feature races so we were delighted to see Sole Power upset the heavily-backed Shea Shea in the King's Stand.
"Dawn Approach got one back for the punters, but on the whole, we're pleased as punch going into day two.''
With Ireland responsible for the first four winners, it was a case of 50-50 for Irish bookmaker Paddy Power.
"It's honours even between the old enemy after the first day,'' said Paddy Power.
"Animal Kingdom getting chinned was a great result for the books, but Dawn Approach's narrow success was a blinder for punters and there's nothing really in it.''