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You still win on Min! Paddy Power refunds close to €1m on the opening race of the Cheltenham Festival

Punters who backed the Willie Mullins favourite Min in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle get their money back courtesy of Paddy Power

A million tears for Paddy Power, but a saving grace for punters who backed Min

Nico De Boinville gave 4/1 shot Altior a delightful ride in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle to give the Nicky Henderson yard the perfect start to the Cheltenham Festival. Punters who backed the Willie Mullins favourite fought back tears as Ruby Walsh and Min couldn’t get closer than a distant second.

The tear of e-betting slips could be heard around the world.

But Paddy Power punters need not fear! The bookies are refunding your punt as a free bet if your horse finishes second during every race of the Cheltenham Festival – that means Min wasn’t a loser for everyone, just Paddy.

Yes, the boss had to fork out a sum close to seven-figures to punters who had taken a bet on Min – plus the hefty whack he paid out in winnings to those who had backed Altior.

Unfortunately we couldn’t get a more accurate figure on quite how much we paid out as Paddy was last spotted in a corner of the Cheltenham hospitality crying into a bottle of gin and singing James Blunt’s Goodbye My Lover. We’re guessing there might not be any more pizza in the office for a while anyway…

It didn’t get any better for Paddy Power as Rich Ricci and Willie Mullins combined in the Arkle to win with the red-hot banker of the week Douvan, who went off at odds of 1/4.

What do you think?