THE bookies were left breathing a huge sigh of relief as a monster gamble was foiled on Sunday.
Three horses from three yards with close links were backed at huge prices in multiples overnight – and a massive treble was KO’d on the final leg.
Bookmakers were bracing themselves for a ‘£10 million’ hit – but they dodged a bullet after Gallahers Cross (4-5) was turned over at Musselburgh.
The first leg of the gamble, Fire Away, was a general 22-1 shot when markets opened on Saturday evening.
But the bookies took evasive action in the early hours, trimming him into 6-4 before he was eventually sent off the even money favourite in the opener at Musselburgh – and he bolted up by 19 lengths.
The second leg Blowing Dixie opened up at 9-1 last night but was backed down to 4-6 and won easily in the 2.35 at Southwell.
All eyes were on the Daragh Bourke-trained Gallahers Cross, a 33-1 shot last night but backed into 4-5, in the final race at Musselburgh.
He travelled ominously well in the early stages, looming up between the final two hurdles, but punters hearts were broken as he got tired on the run-in and could only finish fourth.
Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield said: “It’s fair to say we do have some liabilities and they’re not inconsiderable.”
Several punters had posted screenshots of their bets on Twitter.
BetVictor head of trading Chris Poole had earler outlined the danger facing the bookies in a Twitter post.
He said: “We’ve taken a lot of multiple bets on three horses, all at very big prices and all at roughly the same time last night.
“That’s our worst nightmare because there’s nothing we can do about these liabilities.
“We’re stuck with it and we’ll lose quite a lot of money. I can’t go into figures.”
The first winner recently joined trainer Laura Morgan having left the yard of Daragh Bourke 11 days ago.
Iain Jardine, who saddled the second winner, trains just a few miles from Bourke’s Lockerbie yard – and Bourke himself trains the final leg.
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