sport

Australia hammers bookies

Australia's victory in the Investec Derby at Epsom landed one Coral punter a cool 440,000.

The anonymous punter placed Aidan O'Brien's favourite in a series of doubles and trebles with the Willie Mullins-trained pair of Vautour and Faugheen who both won at the Cheltenham Festival.

Coral's David Stevens said: "The Derby is the biggest Flat race of the year for bookmakers, but unfortunately for us this year, punters were backing Australia in their thousands, forcing his odds down from a morning high of 5-2 to his starting price of 11-8.

"They never had a moment's worry and we'll be paying out fortunes, none more so than to the far-sighted punter who placed his doubles and trebles back in February, and now picks up 440,000, our biggest individual Derby return ever.

Ladbrokes also reported major losses, with David Williams saying: "Strewth! It could scarcely have been any worse for us. Australia's legion of backers have chucked us on to the barbie and we've been left there to sizzle.

"After a series of big-race upsets earlier this year, the punters have got their own back in spectacular style.

"We went into the race with a one-horse book. We were cheering anything but Australia, but the racing gods ignored us. It was a desperate result for bookmakers."

Paddy Power said: "The 'Thunder from Down Under' has literally had the bookies and his opposition by the short and curlies."

Fred Done of Bretfred, while impressed by the winner, was also left counting the cost.

He said: "Australia is one of the best Derby winners I've seen in a long time, but unfortunately he's cost me a packet.

"The writing was on the wall a long way out and I won't be booking a holiday Down Under anytime soon."

Betfred cut Australia to 4-1 (from 10-1) for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and he shares favouritism with Treve, who has been eased out from 7-2.

RaceBets reported laying the winner at 100-1 for the Derby before he had even seen a racecourse.

Their representative Joseph Burke said: "Believe it or believe it not, five lucky punters backed Australia at 100-1 with RaceBets in 2012 when he was but a yearling - three, rather unsurprisingly, were Australian residents!"