Source: The Mercury, 30 September, 1996, p.35
BOOKMAKERS were left running for cover as Frankie Dettori rode all seven winners at Ascot yesterday and made two punters half-millionaires. On one of the most astonishing days in British racing history, the cumulative odds on Dettori's winners amounted to 25,095-1, send- ing shudders down the odds- makers' spines. One lucky punter staked just over £60 (about $120) in a special combination bet with bookmakers William Hill on all Dettori's mounts and ended the day more than $990,000 richer. Another won a similar amount with a Ladbrokes shop in London after staking an each-way accumulator costing $20. William Hill spokesman David Hood said: "It is the worst day in bookmaking his- tory. Our managers will be settling bets until midnight. "The fifth winner was ex- pensive, the sixth dismal and after the seventh, it was time to put the lights out." Another Hill spokesman, Graham Sharpe, echoed: "Frankie's seven winners have made this the blackest day in British bookmaking history. "I shudder to think how much it's cost us. It's a disaster. We don't expect any sympathy but it's the worst day's business we've done since Lester Piggott was in his heyday and winning the Derby every year. It will cost us millions." Dettori's last three winners were all favourites, forced down to much shorter prices than forecast by the sheer weight of money running up from earlier bets, such as doubles and trebles. Dettori, who finished 10th on Bullwinkle in last year's Melbourne Cup, joked after his historic seventh win: "I'm just warming up. Is there any more racing? This is every- body's dream. God was on my side. "After the sixth win, I felt it was almost impossible to do seven and I told the trainer Michael Stoute that I would blame him if I lost! I noticed when I came out the horse who was 12-1 in the paper, was 2-1 favourite, so I am sure you all had a pound on it. Go and collect your money." The two-day Ascot festival end today with another seven-race card. Dettori has mounts in each and the first three are favourites. On such sparkling form he might even fancy a tilt at a record set in August 1933 by Sir Gordon Richards, who rode 12 winners in succession. The first came in the last race at Nottingham, followed by all six the next day Chepstow and the first five the next day at the same track. Another Ladbrokes spokes- man Ian Wassell expressed the hope bookmakers might be able to recoup the losses on the second day of the carnival. "Tomorrow is another day to try to get some of our money back," said Wassell. Reuter-AAP
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