History repeated itself when 10/11 chance Benie Des Dieux fell at the last when around four lengths clear and in complete command in the G1 OLBG Mares’ Hurdle, just as her stable-mate Annie Power had done in identical circumstances in the same race four years ago, when also partnered by Ruby Walsh for owner Rich Ricci.
In 2015 Annie Power’s fall saved bookmakers from an estimated £50-million payout, as she was the last leg of a widely predicted Willie Mullins first-day four-timer that had been heavily promoted to punters.
Benie Des Dieux, who won last year’s Mares’ Hurdle, will also have featured in many multiples, for Walsh had been saying for weeks that she was his best chance of the entire meeting.
Fortunately both horse and jockey were soon on their feet and seemingly none the worse for the experience.
Ricci, who has had plenty of unfavourable press following last week’s closure of bookmaker BetBright, of which he was chairman, said: “It has been a very difficult week, but the horse is great and Ruby is fine, which is the most important thing.
“I don’t want the trolls to attack Ruby. He is the best jockey in the world and it happens. I just hope he is protected from the same nonsense he got the last day.
“Benie Des Dieux was going very well and she is a very good mare. We will mind her, bring her back and she will win again, but I am just so sorry and it’s just difficult.
“Her getting up is the most important thing and that’s what we have to remember. This game is tough and I take a lot and I’m tough. The fact that she got up should make everybody happy.
“I am sorry for people who punted her and I know that I will get stick for that as well, but it just doesn’t matter – if she’s up, that’s fine. It’s just heart-breaking, but she’s up and that’s the most important thing. It could be worse.
“I just watched the replay. It’s tough and I don’t know what to say. It has been a difficult week.”
Benie Des Dieux had traded at 1.03 (1/33) in running on Betfair prior to her fall.
#RTVMomentOfTheDay has to be this heart-stopping fall at the last from Mares’ Hurdle favourite Benie Des Dieux, a startling echo of Annie Power in 2015
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) March 12, 2019