Betting still quiet on Sunday

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The Independent Online
The hopes of the leading bookmakers for an increase in off-course betting turnover for last Sunday have not been realised, despite four races from Ascot being broadcast by BBC2, and the final round of matches in the Ryder Cup.

David Hood, of William Hill, which opened 1,200 of its 1,600 shops, said: "We hoped that by betting early on the competitive handicaps at Ascot, with a Group One race on the card, we would inspire more interest from punters. But they still stayed away and the feeling of pessimism towards Sunday racing is still apparent."

Hood's views were backed by Rob Hartnett of Coral. "There was a good start to trading, but it tailed off during the day," he said. "There was plenty of interest in the Ryder Cup, but business was not as good as we had hoped."

However, Ian Wassell, of Ladbrokes, was more upbeat: "Yesterday's business was second only to 1,000 Guineas day and there is no doubt that the quality of racing helped," he said.