Bookmakers refund Binocular punters

Bookmakers refund Binocular punters

Bookmakers took the unprecedented step of refunding ante post stakes to punters following the shock news that Binocular had been withdrawn from Tuesday’s Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham Festival. The big-race sponsor along with fellow bookmakers, Betfred, Paddy Power and William Hill were among those who announced they would refund all ante post stakes on the Champion Hurdle favourite following Sunday’s shock news.

Spokesman for, Garry McGibbon said: "We didn't have to think long about making this decision. It wouldn't be right for us to treat the Binocular withdrawal as the same as that of any other non-runner. Even though this will cost us a small fortune, Binocular has been an intended runner in this year's Stan James Champion Hurdle since he won the 2010 renewal of the race.
"We know we have to do the right thing by punters. That's why we've torn up the rule book on this occasion and given back all ante-post stakes on Binocular."

Nicky Henderson’s stable star hit the headlines for the wrong reasons when it was revealed the horse had tested positive for a second time after a banned substance had been found earlier in the week. The 2010 champion hurdler had been receiving legitimate medical treatment but traces of a banned substance remained in his system forcing his withdrawal from Tuesday’s feature race.

A statement released by the British Horseracing Authority explained that following initial testing another set of tests were carried out at the weekend: "The results of those tests were still positive. We advised Nicky Henderson and his vets of this result on Saturday night and, bearing in mind that against expectations the levels of the substance were remaining constant, the clear advice was that Binocular would test positive on raceday."

The results came as a huge blow for connections who had been preparing for twelve months for the defence of Binocular’s crown and it also appeared bad news for punters who provided heavy support for the horse in the ante post betting market.

Betfair, the world’s biggest betting exchange, came in for criticism from punters for allowing the market to continue trading as the news spread and unknowing backers were tempted with odds up to 9/1. The traditional bookmakers were quicker off the mark and delighted thousands of punters with their decision to refund all ante post stakes on Binocular.

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