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Cheltenham: Action in the betting ring: Royal Auclair fails to dull layers' spirits.

Byline: David Ashforth

Bookmakers suffered a few black eyes but left Cheltenham last night the victors in their annual Festival scrap with their customers, writes David Ashforth.

When Tony McCoy finally past the winning post first, on Royal Auclair in the Cathcart Chase, he inflicted the day's only serious injury on bookmakers' satchels, with two individual bets of pounds 22,500 to pounds 10,000. But even that setback was partly offset by substantial support for Davids Lad, with three individual bets threatening to take over pounds 60,000 out of the ring.

The day had started with a bang for bookmakers in the Triumph, with only one major recorded bet for Scolardy-pounds 10,000 to pounds 500-and a spread of money down the card. In contrast, betting in the Stayers' Hurdle revolved almost exclusively around the two market leaders, Baracouda and Bannow Bay, with the former drifting markedly from evens to 13-8.

Support for Bannow Bay prompted the Baracouda drift, the eventual runner-up being cut from 3-1 to 2-1. Baracouda attracted two bets of pounds 30,000 to pounds 20,000, while Bannow Bay attracted bets of pounds 100,000 to pounds 40,000 and pounds 50,000 to pounds 20,000.

Not a single major bet was reported for Last Option, the winner of the Foxhunter, where action centred around Horus and Joe Blake, the former tempting a bet of pounds 30,000 to pounds 10,000 and the latter a bet of pounds 60,000 to pounds 10,000.

Fadoudal du Cochet was well backed for the Grand Annual Chase, including one bet of pounds 60,000 to pounds 10,000, while Rooster Booster attracted bets of pounds 30,000 to pounds 3,600 and pounds 18,000 to pounds 2,000 in the County Hurdle. Polar Red was the subject of a string of substantial bets but none to match the biggest of the day, pounds 220,000 to pounds 40,000 about Timber King.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 15, 2002
Words:329
Previous Article:Sandown target for Edredon Bleu.
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