By Andy Stephens
The seven-year-old, runner-up to Altior in last year’s Arkle Chase, was a general 12-1 for the £160,000 BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase after finishing runner-up in the Old Roan Chase on his return at Aintree.
However, instead of standing his ground for the 2m4f feature of the entire November meeting at Monday’s five-day stage, Cloudy Dream was left out and instead mistakenly entered for the BetVictor.com Handicap Chase on the same card over an extended 3m3f.
Connections of the Malcolm Jefferson-trained grey have no intention of running him in the latter race but, in another twist, could run him in the Shloer Chase on Sunday after it was reopened because insufficient entries were received.
"We've put him in the Shloer on Sunday as that has been reopened," said Mick Meagher, racing manager to owner Trevor Hemmings.
"Ruth [Jefferson's daughter and assistant] was supposed to confirm him for the BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase and he's actually ended up in the BetVictor Handicap Chase, the race before.
"It's human error, it will happen again, but we'll kick on.
Cloudy Dream could still run at Cheltenham this weekend (PA)
"We'll make a decision on whether he runs later in the week, but that is where we are at. He's fully entitled to run in that, he was second in the Arkle."
Trainer Malcolm Jefferson's wife, Sue, told the Racing Post on Tuesday: "We are absolutely devastated. Since Malcolm became ill, Ruth has done the entries and she has done a fine job.
"But yesterday she must have clicked on the wrong race, so instead of confirming the entry for the Gold Cup as she intended, she entered him in the other race. She is devastated.
"We checked with Stuart Middleton at the BHA, but he said there was nothing he could do. Malcolm just couldn't believe it.
"Whatever we feel, it's so much worse for his owner Trevor Hemmings and we're all desperately disappointed for him."
Jack Milner, spokesperson for BetVictor, said: “We don’t believe punters should pay the price for the cock-up and have refunded all bets, some put on as early as April, for the feature of Cheltenham’s November Meeting.”
There was sympathy for the Jefferson camp and they are not the only ones to have made entry errors in recent times.
Here are six other recent examples:
1 Breton Rock: There was mockery on social media after this year’s Group Two Lennox Stakes winner was entered in a 1m3f handicap at Brighton last month for horses rated between 46 and 55. Rated 113, Breton Rock was considerably over-qualified. The David Simock team had meant to declare the 49-rated Brecon Belle.
2 Coneygree: When Coneygree’s name did not appear among the entries for the 2015 King George VI Chase there were instant fears the Gold Cup winner of that year had suffered a setback. On this occasion it was not the case. Sara Bradstock, wife of trainer Mark, admitted: “We can’t blame anyone but ourselves. Mark was doing the computer entries last week and I think he must have pushed the wrong button. As I keep telling people, we’re good with horses, but not so good at IT.”
3 Mandarin Princess/Millie’s Kiss: The 50-1 success of Mandarin Princess in a race for two-year-olds at Yarmouth in July had a twist when it was revealed soon after that the winner had in fact been Millie’s Kiss - her year older stablemate who was due to run later on the card. Trainer Charlie McBride was fined £1,500 at a subsequent disciplinary panel hearing for the error but his “fun bet” of £10 each-way on the day meant he had to find less than four figures.
4 Nicky Henderson: The trainer was left embarrassed in January 2011 after two of his intended runners arrived at the wrong racecourses and were forced to be declared non-runners. Higgy's Ragazzo was due to run in a maiden hurdle at Ffos Las (1.20pm), while stablemate First In The Queue was meant to be ridden by Tony McCoy at Warwick (1.10pm). In a mix-up, though, the horses were ended up in the wrong place and 120 miles away from where they should have been.
5 Wings Of Desire: John Gosden scratched him from the Derby but then supplemented him after his victory in the Dante. It was an expensive change of mind, with the owners having to pay £75,000. Wings Of Desire finished fourth at Epsom, earning £82,818. Gosden also had to supplement Golden Horn for the 2015 Derby after not entering him but it was money well spent. Golden Horn was an emphatic winner, scooping the £813,000 first prize. At stud, liaisons with him cost £60,000.
6 The Tin Man: Similarly, James Fanshawe scratched The Tin Man from the 2016 QIPCO Champions Sprint at Ascot on Champions Day and then had a change of heart after the gelding won a handicap in impressive style in the build-up. The syndicate who owned The Tin Man paid £40,000 but were left out of pocket when he finished fourth - recouping only £34,000. Twelve months later, The Tin Man won the race with no supplementary fee necessary.