Betting turnover is down on first day

Business was far from brisk as Royal Ascot moved to York yesterday. The Royal meeting is traditionally the main battleground of the Flat season between punters and bookmakers, but the rails layers reported that trade was well down on previous years.

Business was far from brisk as Royal Ascot moved to York yesterday. The Royal meeting is traditionally the main battleground of the Flat season between punters and bookmakers, but the rails layers reported that trade was well down on previous years.

But backers had the best of the exchanges, with the St James's Palace Stakes winner Shamardal (7-4 favourite) being the thorn in the bookmakers' side, with over £100,000 staked in noted bets alone in the ring.

There was also a gamble landed in the Ascot Stakes when Irish raider Leg Spinner (9-1) just prevailed in a photo-finish, much to the delight of one punter who had the largest reported bet of the day in the ring - £135,000 to £15,000.

A Hills spokesman said: "It wasn't great today, but there wasn't too much damage." Totesport's Damien Walker said: "We did £50,000, with £48,000 of it going on Shamardal.

"Tote turnover was £936,287 compared with £1,605,887 on the first day of Royal Ascot last year, but today's amount is in line with the crowd and reduced capacity."

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