Royal Ascot 2005 review

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The Royal Ascot week at York has had highs and lows for both punters and bookies.

The first two days have been pretty quiet, but on Thursday the bookies took a beating with three winning favourites in a row: Westerner, Mostashaar and Indigo Cat.

On Friday, the punters piled on Dermot Weld-trained Simple Exchange expecting a repeat of the coup in the race as two years ago with In Time\’s Eye. Unfortunately, the biggest Royal Ascot gamble ever went awry, turning a potentially catastrophic day for the bookies, which estimated industry\’s liabilities on the horse at over £10million, into a good one.

On the final day, ante-post punters landed a major gamble when Iffraaj, backed from 9-1 into a starting price of 9-4, romped home in the Wokingham Stake.

Iffraaj\’s success cost the betting industry £1 million, with William Hill reporting ante-post losses of £300,000.

Blue Square, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power and Totesport reported an overall excellent turnover with “tolerable” results.

“The Royal meeting at York this year has been a right Royal result for the bookies, we dodged the gamble and while the favourites shone through for the punters in the top races, the other results have been blinding for the layers,” said a Hills spokesman.