Bookies' cheer on Champions Day

  • Last Updated: October 20 2013, 19:21 BST

The bookies cleaned up on QIPCO British Champions Day as favourite after favourite ended up beaten at Ascot to leave punters with the Autumn blues.

  • Farhh won a thrilling renewal of the Champion Stakes
  • Royal Diamond: Won the Long Distance Cup at Ascot 

The icing on the layers' cake came in a thrilling renewal of the Champion Stakes when Farhh showed tremendous guts to edge out 15/8 favourite and 2011 winner Cirrus Des Aigles by just a neck while Derby hero Ruler Of The World was another half a length away in third.

The result followed the defeats of Estimate and Maarek in the opening two races while Seal Of Approval then shocked leading trio Hot Snap, Talent and Dalkala to land the Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes.

Dawn Approach was then a disappointing fourth in a Queen Elizabeth II Stakes won by Olympic Glory before Farhh's triumph over Cirrus Des Aigles ensured the bookies left the climax of the British Flat racing season with a spring in their step.

And Rory Jiwani of Stan James said: "It's fair to say British Champions Day turned into British Bookies Day at Ascot.

Estimate finishing out of the frame in the Long Distance Cup set the tone for a great meeting for the layers as 20/1 shot Royal Diamond took the opener.

"We gave Johnny Murtagh's charge a quote of 12/1 for next year's Ascot Gold Cup with narrow runner-up Harris Tweed 20/1 and the third Eye Of The Storm 14/1 for the big race in June.

"Favourite Maarek and Viztoria were both well-backed in the Sprint but it was the latter's stablemate Slade Power who came out on top. And we were thrilled when James Fanshawe's 16/1 rank outsider Seal Of Approval took the Fillies and Mares' Stakes.

"Olympic Glory was a small winner in the Queen Elizabeth II but we were just glad to get Dawn Approach beaten. The Champion Stakes gave us a finish worthy of the name but punters were out of luck again as 6/4 fav Cirrus Des Aigles just failed to reel in Farhh.

"Saeed Bin Suroor's charge had been backed but he was still a winner in the book to cap a superb day for the layers."

David Williams of Ladbrokes said: "Turnover was brisk enough and represented one of the busier Saturdays of the Flat season without standing out as a truly blockbuster day.

"Getting the big favourites beaten was a huge help. And when Cirrus Des Aigles went down in the Champion Stakes it really was a case of so farhh so good."

Meanwhile Johnny Murtagh's Royal Diamond has been introduced into the betting for the 2014 Ascot Gold Cup at 16/1 by Sky Bet after the gelding won the Long Distance Cup.

However, the Queen's Estimate, who was sent off as a warm 2/1 favourite, ran a flat race to finish down in seventh and was subsequently pushed out 5/1 from 4/1 with BetVictor to repeat her 2013 success while Stan James and Boylesports offer an even bigger price of 6/1.

Murtagh has farmed many of the big races this campaign but Royal Diamond, whom he also trains, was sent off at 20/1 after running a lifeless race in the Irish St Leger.

Harris Tweed appeared to have fought off all his rivals with a brave bid from the front, but Murtagh made up late ground to pounce by a nose.

Eye Of The Storm stuck on for third, another three-quarters of a length adrift, but Estimate never looked like winning.

Royal Diamond is as short as 12/1 with BetVictor and Stan James for next year's Ascot Gold Cup while Eye Of The Storm is 14/1 with the latter firm and Harris Tweed is 25/1 at Sky Bet.

St Leger winner Leading Light now shares favouritism with Estimate at 5/1 with BetVictor but is now as short as 7/2 with Boylesports.