04/29/2011 6:13PM

Royal Wedding comes home a winner - but bookies don't


Hours after Prince William married Kate Middleton in central London in a royal wedding that grabbed worldwide attention, a 9-year-old gelding named Royal Wedding won a handicap steeplechase at Fontwell Park in southern England.

Despite an awkward jump two fences from the finish, Royal Wedding won the two-mile, six-furlong Crabbie's Alcoholic Ginger Beer Handicap Chase by 12 lengths, returning odds of 4-1. His price drifted from as low as 7-2 to as high as 5-1 in the minutes before the race.

It was believed to be a painful result for British bookmakers, with many hunch players taking a chance.

"Thousands of people placed bets on Royal Wedding, and the bookies will be paying out millions as a result," said David Stevens of the bookmaking firm Corals, in an email. "Who knows? Maybe some of the Royal guests even had a flutter. After all, the winnings might help toward those wedding costs!"

The winner is trained by Nick Gifford, whose father, Josh, saddled Aldaniti, to a win in the 1981 Grand National. Nick Gifford told the Racing Post the horse's appearance on the Fontwell card on the same day as the royal wedding drew interview requests from as far away as Australia.