"There's no doubt some of the gas has come out of the balloon when it comes to Cheltenham's ante-post
betting, because punters have burnt their fingers in recent years," admits Ladbrokes' David Williams.
He was ante-post
favourite for last year's renewal until injury intervened, but appeared to have lost none of his sparkle when making a winning return to action over hurdles at Limerick last month.
The fact that Ladbrokes are sponsoring the race came into their thinking but, usually, with ante-post
wagers it is very much a case of paying your money and taking your chance.
TonyMartin's Psycho, prominent in the ante-post
markets for the Coral Cup, currently sits 5lb out of the weights in the two-mile-five-furlong handicap.
However, I must confess to having had my first ante-post
play after the victory of Sweet Wake, trained by Noel Meade, at Leopardstown on Tuesday.
At Epsom, the daughter of Peintre Celebre had the ante-post
favourite Doyen just ahead of her in second.
'This is the most extraordinary ante-post
plunge of the Flat season so far, though we will find out
Forget Arsenal, the other ante-post
bet shaping up very nicely now is AC Milan for the Champions League.
William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said: 'We will refund stakes to punters who have placed ante-post
bets on horses withdrawn from races at the Cheltenham Festival at the five-day declaration stage, irrespective of the reason.
"I would not recommend anybody backing him ante-post
at the moment unless they can back him with a run," said Clarke.
Bookmakers were swift to offer punters a refund on ante-post
bets after interpreting Connell's statement as a definite sign The Tullow Tank would not line up at the meeting.
Aidan O'Brien's colt had been the ante-post
market leader for the world's most famous Flat race ever since his spellbinding performance in last season's Racing Post Trophy, and strengthened that position by claiming the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.