Punters on top at Royal Ascot
Bookmakers took a battering on day one at Royal Ascot with odds-on chances Kingman and Toronado both running out impressive winners.
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The former had been off the track since a disappointing run at York last summer but his rider Richard Hughes exuded confidence both before and during the opening Queen Anne Stakes, the pair crossing the line three parts of a length ahead of Verrazano.
Richard Hannon's horse had been sent off a 4/5 favourite and many who'd put their faith in him played up their winnings in the St James's Palace Stakes, in which Kingman confirmed himself as the standout three-year-old miler with a breathtaking display of dominance.
Kingman was sent off as the clear 8/11 favourite on the back of an impressive Irish Guineas success and William Hill make him 4/7 to finish ahead of Toronado (6/4 with Stan James) should the pair clash in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
"Kingman and Toronado are two of the best horses on the planet and it's a battle that racing needs. Bring it on!" said William Hill spokesman Jon Ivan-Duke.
Sole Power may not have been favourite for the King's Stand but at 5/1 he certainly had backers and they seldom had a moment's worry as Hughes again produced a confident ride aboard an impressive winner.
Ed Lynam's horse was cut to a best of 12/1 for Saturday's Diamond Jubilee by Sky Bet and BetVictor, but the yard have the 9/2 favourite for that race in Slade Power and the extra furlong is unlikely to suit Tuesday's winner in the unlikely event that he does line up again.
The key antepost moves from the first day came via the Coventry Stakes, in which John Quinn's The Wow Signal defied concerns over his inexperience to win in the manner of a top-class horse in the making.
However, with a pedigree which raises doubts as to his stamina for the 2000 Guineas both Ladbrokes and Betfred made him a 25/1 shot for next year's Classic, with BetVictor and Paddy Power only marginally shorter at 20s.
David Williams of Ladbrokes said: "The Coventry has been a decent enough guide to the Guineas in recent years but we were in no mood to get over-excited about John Quinn's winner."
War Envoy ran on strongly to finish a never-nearer ninth and Stan James cut him to 20s for the Guineas, leaving William Hill's 33/1 as the best price available about a horse who does seem sure to stay further than Tuesday's six-furlong trip.
But the theme of the day was underlined in the very last race when 7/2 favourite Hootenanny landed an almighty gamble to confirm victory for punters over bookies.
Betfred claimed to have been "utterly wiped out" while Stan James spokesman Rory Jiwani said: "The punters have cleaned our clocks and no mistake today.
"Toronado and Kingman were the big two with both backed in singles and doubles and they both won with a bit to spare."
Battle resumes on day two with Treve set to start an odds-on favourite for the Prince of Wales's Stakes in which Magician looks the main danger.