ITV Racing host Oli Bell was praised by punters for the class he showed after a horse’s fatal fall at Lingfield.
Bell watched on during live coverage as Two For Gold, the horse he co-owns, triumphed in the Fleur De Lys Chase in a thrilling finish.
Punters lost out on thousands after backing pre-race favourite Dashel Drasher at tiny odds of 1.01 on the exchanges during the contest.
Two For Gold hit a massive 54-1 in-running but fought back amazingly to win in a head-bobber on the line with Bristol De Mai just behind in third.
Victory with the Kim Bailey-trained 10-1 shot landed Bell and his mates a cheque for 78,000.
Given that, he could have been excused for celebrating wildly at the finish – much like he did at Royal Ascot in 2017 when Big Orange won the Gold Cup.
Bell said he was labelled a ‘lunatic’ by The Queen after running onto the track in post-race pandemonium.
But the celebrations were subdued on Sunday after the tragic passing of Master Tommytucker.
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The fan-favourite horse, trained by Paul Nicholls, suffered an awful injury when falling three out.
Bell was praised by viewers for acting with subdued dignity in the immediate aftermath of the race and under the scrutiny of the cameras.
One punter said: “I was genuinely excited to see Two For Gold swinging into contention, and could only imagine how @olibellracing was feeling!
“Then disaster struck. Well done on your winner, but big respect for handling it with class and sensitivity.”
Another said: “Kudos to the professionalism of @olibellracing.
‘SOME VERY TOUGH DAYS’
“Yes his horse won and should be bouncing around the studio but kept it all together with thoughts towards Master Tommytucker’s connections, and respectful towards the beaten horses.”
One viewer wrote: “@olibellracing congratulations on Two For Gold and well spoken immediately after the race.
“Your thoughtfulness & consideration for Master TommyTucker’s connections is a great credit to you.”
One comment read: “@olibellracing did brilliantly yesterday so considerate and very professional and excellent presenter! Well done Oli.”
While another said: “I’m not Oli’s biggest fan but he was a class act.”
Bell himself tweeted: “For all the highs this sport brings us, and this weekend there have been countless magical moments, there can be some very tough days.
“I cant imagine what Master Tommytucker’s connections are going through. Thoughts with the owners, @PFNicholls and @Harry05Derham.”
Nicholls’ assistant Harry Derham was one of many paying tribute to Master Tommytucker.
‘DO ANYTHING FOR YOU’
In an emotional and heartbreaking blog post, he wrote fondly of the ‘cocky f***er’ he will so desperately miss.
Derham said: “Every racing fan knew the score with Tommy, for those supporting him it would be a white knuckle ride.
“My goodness he knew how to gallop into a fence and there have been times when all of us from the yard would be watching him with bated breath.
“Yes he had jumping frailties and, while he was not the greatest champion to walk through the gates of Ditcheat, when he was at his bruising and most powerful best he was exhilarating to watch.
“Tommy was the type of horse that would do anything for you, he was brave, incredibly bold and sure of himself.
“You could go as far to say he was a cocky f***er but that was him, and that in my opinion is what made him the horse he was.”