Punters eye right royal result - Tuesday 12th of April 2005

Prince Charles could cost bookmakers a fortune after switching the Royal Wedding to the same day as the Grand National.

The prince and Camilla Parker Bowles put their nuptials back from Friday to Saturday to avoid a clash with the Pope's funeral and as a result, the big race will now start 25 minutes late.

Bookies fear punters will now seize on the regal theme and pile their money on the hotly-fancied Clan Royal.

Ladbrokes spokesman Warren Lush said: "We could see one of the biggest gambles in Grand National history as punters won't fail to spot the link.

"If Camilla joins the royal clan and Clan Royal wins the National we'll be forced to pay out a king's ransom that will cost us millions."

The horse - currently available at 10-1 - was an unlucky second in the 2004 race and stands every chance of going one better this time around.

Other regal contenders include Royal Auclair and A Piece Of Cake.

It Takes Time may also catch the eye of some, given the delayed start and the gap between the Royal couple's original courtship and their wedding day.

Nervous bookies will remember the hiding they took in 1992 when 14-1 shot Party Politics won the race two days after a General Election.

William Hill spokeswoman Jennie Prest admitted: "We live in fear of this sort of coincidence and history is against us.

"Party Politics sparked a big gamble and the bookies were cleaned out the day Princess Anne married Captain Mark Phillips.

"The race to celebrate their wedding at Windsor - the Windsor Royal Wedding Handicap Chase - was won by a horse called Royal Mark.

"It is sure to cause a frenzy of bets on appropriate National names and turnover will definitely top the ??200m mark for the day."

Hills offer 20-1 that Prince Charles gives Mrs Parker Bowles a racehorse as a wedding present.

Despite their worst fears, Ladbrokes will be giving their Windsor shop a royal makeover for the day, with butlers serving cucumber sandwiches and a corgi-walker on stand-by in case the Queen fancies popping down for a flutter.

Let's face it, she won't have anything else to do on Saturday.

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