Willie Power! The story of how Paddy Power got absolutely destroyed on day one of Cheltenham | Paddy Power News

Willie Power! The story of how Paddy Power got absolutely destroyed on day one of Cheltenham

It wasn't quite the apocalypse on day one of the Cheltenham Festival - but it was certainly close...

Willie Mullins helped punters seize the advantage after day one of Cheltenham

It’s first blood to punters at the Cheltenham Festival – and despite Min’s early exit – even more proof that you should always think with your Willie.

Paddy Power was staring down the apocalypse in the morning with the Willie Mullins four-fold lining up to drive the boss out of business, but it wasn’t quite to be as Paddy dodged a bullet but ran in to a brick wall in the process as Willie banged in a trio of winners.

Min was the Mullins casualty to let down a world of accumulators as Nicky Henderson’s Altior won the opening race, the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. But Paddy Power had already committed to refunding losing punts as a free bet if your horse finishes second in a race at the Festival, so the joy was short lived.

Not only did Paddy have to pay out on 4/1 winner Altior, but the Min refund set the gaffer back close to €1 million as punter’s had a collective sigh of relief.

It was then one-way traffic for the day – and that traffic was mostly bank notes disappearing from Paddy Power’s bank balance.

Douvan bagged the Arkle at odds of 1/4 before Annie Power delighted the team of Ruby Walsh, Willie Mullins and Rich Ricci by winning the Champion Hurdle at odds of 5/2. Banishing memories of her last hurdle horror fall 12 months ago. Mullins clicked the treble little more than half an hour later as Vroum Vroum Mag justified her tag of 4/6 favourite in the Mare’s Hurdle to compound a miserable day for the layers.

It’s the biggest spanking we’ve seen in Power Tower since Paddy showed us his attempt at a 50 Shades of Grey audition. It wasn’t pretty.

Elsewhere, Un Temps Pour Tout won the Ultima Handicap Chase at 11/1, the well-backed Minella Rocco won the National Hunt Chase at 8/1 and Ballyalton won the Novices’ Handicap Chase at 12/1.

It wasn’t quite the bloodbath Paddy dreaded, but it was too close to comfort!