Bookmakers were on red-alert on Wednesday having latched on to a number of horses well-backed across the board and the first was an effortless winner of the 32Red Casino Handicap at Lingfield.
Eye Of The Tiger eventually went off at even-money and cruised nine lengths clear under Shane Kelly. Now trained in Newmarket by Des Donovan, Eye Of The Tiger was a German Group Two winner but had not featured in seven starts for the legendary trainer and gambler Barney Curley, whose name had been linked with the potential coup after market moves for five horses.
Donovan said: “He’s had very bad problems and he won’t run under a penalty. I used to work for Mr Curley and I’m in his yard. No-one wanted to buy him and he said ‘do what you can with him’. I wouldn’t be backing him (today).”
The Lingfield stewards held an inquiry into the apparent improvement in form of Eye Of The Tiger. Officials heard from the trainer, who stated that the horse had been in his care for seven months having previously been trained by Barney Curley and its absence from the track was due to back problems and a near fore tendon injury.
Having heard his evidence, and received comments from the handicapper, the explanation was noted and Eye Of The Tiger was ordered to be routine tested.
Like Eye Of The Tiger, the Sophie Leech-trained Seven Summits was a former Curley inmate and made no mistake in the yorkshire-outdoors.co.uk Handicap Hurdle at Catterick.
Off the track since finishing third in novice event at Fontwell in June, the seven-year-old travelled well throughout in the hands of Paul Moloney and while long-time leader Copt Hill pushed him all the way to the line, the 9-4 favourite was on top at the post.
Leech’s husband Christian told Racing UK: “He does need this soft ground and normally you get it at this time of year, so we thought with one or two issues that he’d had he would benefit from the time (off) and get his ground.
“I think he had a leg injury prior to us having him. He’s just one we have to molly coddle. He’s bandaged in exercise and when he’s in his stables and we just have to mind him very carefully, that’s why he’s got so few miles on the clock.
“I didn’t (have any money on). Someone just said that (there had been a gamble). He was 7-2, 4-1 in the paper anyway and Tony Carroll’s was very well fancied and that was a non-runner, so I’m not sure about that. I don’t know.”
Indus Valley, also trained by Donovan, landed the third leg of the four in the perceived gamble in the kempton.co.uk Handicap at the Sunbury track, but the 4-6 shot had to work hard to collect.
Seamster was three lengths clear going into the final furlong but Kelly produced a power-packed drive to get the seven-year-old home by half a length on his first run for 700 days.
The losses to bookmakers should the fourth leg, Low Key, win could be at least �5million.
“It’s been a day to forget for the bookies – Frankie Dettori has made his comeback and had two winners – but this will not be a multi-million pound bloodbath for the industry,” said Ladbrokes spokesman David Williams.
“We have not been hit as hard as the prices went out late as there was a bit of a whisper in the morning so we took a pull on those prices.
“By the time we went out with our Kempton prices most of the damage had been done overnight and done elsewhere.
“That doesn’t mean we kept completely out of trouble, you can’t stop moving trains, but coupled with Dettori’s return to the winner’s enclosure it has been a day to forget.
“It’s in the multiples where the damage will be done. It’s not the singles. People have linked them into Trixies and Yankees. As three of them have come in quite a few Trixies have been landed already.
“If Low Key doesn’t win, the industry will be breathing one of the biggest sighs of relief it has done for a long time.
“Even now, after three legs of the gamble and the Dettori double, it’s not great. Obviously we could do without this one in the 6.25. If it goes in you just brush yourself down.”Read the rest of the story British Horseracing Authority News Headlines