PADDY POWER insist they have been justified in their decision to pay out five months early on Jonbon.
The record-breaking £570,000 horse was almost foot-perfect on his chase debut at Warwick.
But the Irish bookies are already down a 'sizeable five-figure sum' on the wonderhorse after paying out on him to win next March's Arkle before his fences bow.
Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield admitted people thought they had jumped the gun massively by settling bets so early.
Some punters won in the hundreds despite the potential for the horse to not even make it to Cheltenham should he get injured.
But Binfield reckons it was a shrewd move with Jonbon now into 2-1 for Festival glory.
He told Sun Racing: "Some people thought we’d gone bananas paying out on Jonbon on the back of a couple of videos before he’d even jumped a fence in anger in public.
"But a lot of them won’t be disagreeing with our decision now after watching that devastating performance."
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Punters have been split on whether to take 2-1 about a horse ante-post.
On one hand it is almost ridiculously short for a race so far in the future.
But on the other Jonbon's price could tighten further should he win his scheduled next start in the Henry VIII at Sandown on Tingle Creek weekend.
Trainer Nicky Henderson said the JP McManus-owned runner was 'perfect' on chase debut.
He said: "This was always going to be his game but he was a good hurdler last year – only one better than him.
"This was always going to be the game, it's what we hoped for but it's an emormous relief now its over.
"He jumps he gallops, he was very relaxed today – he was perfect to be honest with you, you couldn't hope for more.
"He was pretty flawless. Most of our horses are coming on for the run and I don't see why he wouldn't do the same.
"The Henry VIII at Sandown is where we'd like to go next."
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