WATCH: Punters enraged as Cheltenham champion refuses to race at Punchestown
Bizarre scenes at the start of the Herald Champion Novice Hurdle
We did warn you.
"He comes with a health warning in that sometimes when the tape lifts, he just refuses to race," said Hayley O'Connor of Labaik.
And so it came to pass in the 4.20 from the opening day of the Punchestown Festival as Gordon Elliott's Supreme Novices' Hurdle winner steadfastly refused to run, choosing instead to get entangled in the railings as Jack Kennedy manfully attempted to get the quirky 5-2 shot off and running.
Favourite Melon, who was runner up to Labaik at Cheltenham, failed to take advantage, with Willie Mullins' 8/1 chance Cilaos Memory claiming the €59,00o on offer for first place to give Mullins a 1-2 in his attempt to chase down Elliott in the trainer's championship.
— 🏇 𝗧𝟰𝗣 (@tips4punters) April 25, 2017
Needless to say, punters were less than impressed with their temperamental bet's behaviour. With some even trying to blame Melon's pilot Ruby Walsh for spooking Labaik.
Labaik is the Balotelli of the horse racing world. No fucks are given
— Scott Johnson (@KingSMJ23) April 25, 2017
I am a deadeyed cynic but did Ruby lead them in early on purpose knowing it would fry #Labaik 's head ? If so, it's some play.
— Emmett Keane (@EmmettKeane) April 25, 2017
You knew the risk having bet on Labaik crib all you want the horse is a bollox & blaming Ruby Walsh for it you really are desperate #Labaik
— Happy butcher (@happybutcher2) April 25, 2017
Some bookies were offering refunds, others - given the horse's reputation - were not. Best to check, perhaps that isn't a beaten docket.