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Bookmakers reeling as every favourite wins at Ayr

Bookmakers were left counting the cost on the first day of the Scottish Grand National meeting at Ayr on Friday after all seven favourites on the card won.

The combined odds of the winners was just short of 1,620-1.

City Chief (11-8) set the ball rolling in the Ayrshire Hospice, Building The Future Novices’ Handicap Hurdle for Nicky Henderson and jockey James Bowen.

Thunder Rock (2-1) took the Quiz Clothing Novices’ Hurdle and Bowen completed a brace when steering the Gordon Elliott-trained Platinumcard (2-1) to success in the two-mile Remus Uomo Handicap Hurdle.

Dan Skelton was in double form with Beakstown (9-4) and Get A Tonic (5-2), as brother Harry rode them to victory in the Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase and the Coral Mares’ Handicap Hurdle respectively.

The misery continued for the layers as the Neil Alexander-trained Dubai Days (4-6) kept the prizemoney north of the border, taking the extended two-mile Seko Logistics Scotland Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.

Stringtoyourbow and Jack Tudor completed the rout for bookmakers
Stringtoyourbow and Jack Tudor completed the rout for bookmakers (Steve Welsh/PA)

When Stringtoyourbow (3-1) hit the target in the concluding three-mile Thistle Cabs Group Handicap, it is doubtful many bookmakers had any spare change left in their satchels for a taxi fare home.

However, Paddy Power were heaving a sigh of relief, despite the flurry of favourites.

The firm’s spokesman, Paul Binfield, said: “We took a hefty enough hit on the card as you’d expect, but it wasn’t a total disaster given the results.

“While it wasn’t the best of ways to kick off the Scottish National fixture, it would be far, far worse if it happened tomorrow, so we’ll be praying to the punting Gods to get a result or two there.”

William Hill described the results as “a woeful start to the weekend”, with spokesman Tony Kenny adding: “Thankfully the competitive nature of the racing at Ayr meant we haven’t been hit with too many favourite-backing accumulators.

“The result doesn’t compare to the hammering we took on Monday with 11 of the 14 favourites obliging across two cards, but this is still a tough day at the office.”

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