Min loss spares bookies at Cheltenham but Festival suffers three fatalities

Trainer Willie Mullins’ three winners cost betting industry £10m
The Govaness, Pont Alexandre and Rezorbi are fatally injured

Bookmakers narrowly avoided a meltdown on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival for the second year running here on Tuesday, but still finished the afternoon several million pounds behind after victories for three of the “Big Four” favourites from the Willie Mullins stable.

Altior, left, ridden by Nico de Boinville, gets the better of Min, the mount of Ruby Walsh, in the Supreme Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Altior, left, ridden by Nico de Boinville, gets the better of Min, the mount of Ruby Walsh, in the Supreme Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham.

A horde of 67,770, a record for the opening day of the meeting, delighted in wins for Douvan (1-4), Annie Power (5-2) and Vroum Mag (4-6), however bookies were saved a £50m payout as Min could complete just second behind Altior in the opening race. There was a bleaker viewpoint to the activity as well, be that as it may, as three of the 115 runners on the card endured lethal wounds amid their races.

Twelve months prior the bookmakers were seconds from anguish the most exceedingly terrible day in their history just to be saved when Annie Power fell at the keep going obstacle when far clear of her field. Min’s annihilation guaranteed they would not confront a comparable situation this year, but rather the ensuing treble for Mullins and Ruby Walsh, the Celebration’s best rider, brought about an expected loss of £10m over the business.

The greatest single stake of the day was an on-course wager of £220,000 to return £300,000 on Douvan, while numerous punters the nation over upheld the three champs in different wagers. “We were quieted into a misguided feeling that all is well and good as the main Mullins hotpot was upset, however we were made to endure with the other three,” Jon Ivan-Duke, from William Slope, said.

Mullins additionally saddled Nichols Gulch to complete third in the Champion Obstacle and before the end of the evening, his stallions had won almost £470,000 in win and place prize cash. He began the day about £1.2m behind Paul Nicholls in the English mentors’ title and was cut from 9-4 to 2-1 to end up the primary abroad coach to win the title subsequent to the mid 1950s.

The three deadly wounds amid the day’s dashing constituted a surprisingly high number for a solitary evening atthis meeting and came in three distinct races. The Govaness kicked the bucket in a fall at the rearward in the OLBG Female horses’ Obstacle; Pont Alexandre, from the Mullins steady, separated amid the National Chase Pursue for novice riders; and Rezorbi, prepared by Jonjo O’Neill, endured a deadly fall two out in the Nearby Siblings Amateur Impairment Pursue.

“We are miserable to know about the lethal wounds got today by The Govaness, Pont Alexandre and Rezorbi,” Jenny Lobby, the English Horseracing Power’s boss veterinary officer, said on Tuesday evening. “Our contemplations are with the proprietors, coaches and all the staff who have watched over these stallions.

“The BHA works intimately with Cheltenham, and surely all English racecourses, to guarantee that the most noteworthy conceivable norms of welfare are set up at all installations. Each of the steeds harmed today were gone to speedily and got an elevated requirement of expert veterinary consideration from the group at Cheltenham Racecourse.

“We record and monitor all injuries and fatalities that occur on the racecourse to provide a benchmark from which the industry continually strives to reduce injury rates. Over the last 20 years the equine fatality rate has fallen by a third, and in 2015 was the lowest on record, falling to just 0.18% of runners.”

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