Epsom Downs - (Whorsewhisperers): Hold all those ante-post bets! That's the word straight from the whorse's mouth as Epsom Derby favorite Jan Vermeer's Blue Riband glory bid started unravelling today.
Named after a renowned Dutch painter the shortpriced 2/1 Classic contender 'may be hexed' according to online bookies Aintgottaprayer.con.
The website says bookies in the know 'want to lay' the Ballybollox Stud star after the famous 17th century artist's equine masterpiece The Pacemaker began weeping tears of oil at the Louvre gallery's pride of place.
The technical betting term means 'to offer ridiculously improved odds following a tip-off of impending disaster.
"We see this as a bit of an unfortunate omen," website tipster Dave Mug-Punter said today, "and aren't taking any chances."
The last time anything remotely similar happened was in late August 1997 when Vermeer's superb Diana and her Companions mysteriously burst into flames at the royal Dutch gallery The Mauritshuis.
"Next day, the Princess of Wales, Dodi Fired (sic) and Paris limo drive Henri Paul all perished in that Pont d'Alma business," Mug-Punter explained.
"Don't say we didn't warn ya."
Second favorite for Saturday's Derby renewal Bullet Train has now been cut to 3/1 and Ballybollox also-ran Midas Touch is at 5/1.