PUNTERS were tearing their hair out after a horse went from being a no-hoper, to being odds-on to win before eventually finished unplaced in a truly bonkers race.
Willie Mullins landed a 1875-1 five-timer at the Punchestown Festival yesterday.
One of those winners was 10-1 Jazzaway in the 4.50pm 2m½f race over hurdles.
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However, it could easily have been 17-2 chance Gentleman De Mee, and shrewd punters staked cold hard cash on the much-fancied five-year-old before the off.
But disaster struck when the horse got loose in the build up and galloped around without a jockey.
After a few frantic minutes he was caught – but then another dose of bad luck came with the horse being left way behind at the start.
Pictures from Racing TV coverage show the horse standing a long way behind the pack at the off.
Usually, all chance of winning is blown when giving a few lengths to a field of this quality, not to mention one with 24 runners.
But incredibly, Gentleman De Mee backers were left dreaming of the seemingly impossible as the horse absolutely tanked through the race.
The yellow cap of Jody McGarvey could be seen making brilliant progress on the outside, taking the lead after the second last.
It was around this point the horse went odds-on to win for in-running backers, so certain did victory look.
But horseracing never quite pans out like that, and the brave runner ultimately faded to seventh.
That was not good enough for a payout with any bookie apart from one, who did pay seven places.
It was a real rollercoaster of emotion for the horse's backers.
Some were fuming he was allowed to run in the first place after the nightmare start.
While others were just gutted they missed out on getting any money back after his sensational effort.
'Confident… count my money… despondent'
One frustrated punter said: "Horrible. Backed it, didn't want it to run, hopeful, confident, count my money, despondent."
Another moaned: "What a farce allowing Gentleman De Mee to run — racing really doesn’t help itself sometimes."
One posted: "Tell you what, that run by Gentleman De Mee was freakish!
"Got loose before the race, missed the break by ten lengths, calved his way through the field to hit odds-on in running before finally fading late on…
"At least I wasn’t crazy for fancying him at Cheltenham."
A fellow Twitter user commented: "So they delayed the start that long for Gentleman De Mee not to jump off level…"
While another summed it all up by saying: "What a rollercoaster for Gentleman De Mee backers."
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