Whether it be inside info, or a lucky pin in the racecard, big racing wins are the stuff of legend in the sports betting world…
Conor Murphy was a stable hand until one incredible bet during the Cheltenham Festival of 2012 changed his life forever!
Murphy bet on five horses months in advance trained by his boss, in an accumulator. The pay-off for his £50 outlay was a huge £1.2 million!!
Not only did the bet win, but Murphy was able to take the winnings and use them to live out his dreams. He went from being a stable hand to setting up as a trainer in the United States, completing a true rags-to-riches story.
Irishman Murphy placed the £50 bet on Sprinter Sacre, Simonsig, Bobs Worth, Finians Rainbow and Riverside Theatre at hefty ante-post prices in November2011 – 4 months before the race’s were due to take place.
Murphy calculated the odds of hitting were 64,000-1, but the bookmaker – thought to be leading UK sports-book Bet365, had a clause in their terms and conditions stating that the maximum payout for such a bet was £1 million. The pay-off would have been more than £5 million if this clause had not been in place!!
The lucky Irishman is now based in Kentucky, where he runs a successful racing stable under the name ‘Riverside Bloodstock’ – all from his original outlay of £50!
Well played Conor!!
Noel Furlong has cemented himself in Irish gambling folklore, not only only on the race track but also later on the green baize.
Furlong was a successful businessman and race horse owner who would send shivers down the spines of the layers in the late 80’s and 90’s. His biggest coup came at the 1991 Cheltenham Festival when his leading light, Destriero – trained by Andrew Geraghty is said to have won him in excess of £1.5million when scoring in the opening race of the festival, the Supreme Novices Hurdle.
Not content with this astronomical win, Furlong had his eyes on a bigger prize, as had Destriero in a double with a horse named ‘The Illiad’ that was among the market leaders for the highlight race on the day, the Champion Hurdle.
Unfortunately The Illiad was soundly beaten, losing the money on the double but still walking away from Prestbury Park well over a million pounds to the good. Neither horse did anything of consequence subsequently, winning a single race apiece and never again reaching the heights of Cheltenham.
The shrewd Irishman’s gambling days weren’t done. He later made global headlines when winning the 1999 World Poker Championships in Las Vegas and banking another $1 million!!
The Scoop 6 has made many people very rich for a small outlay over the years but one of the most memorable winners was Agnes Haddock, an ex cleaner – who scooped £688,620 for an outlay of just £2!
To this date, Haddock is the biggest ever winner from just a single £2 stake, and enabled her to travel the world and retire to an idyllic property in Cheshire.
Haddock wasn’t a big gambler, and claimed to throw the form book out of the window – and instead opted to make her six winning selections due to the horses names and numbers!
One of the horses that won that day was called ‘Clouding Over’, selected because she felt it looked as if rain was on its way, and another – ‘Taranis’, was selected because of his number in the race card – Number 13, as this was the date of her sons birthday!
Taranis was actually the bonus horse, Haddock had won £410,332 the previous week and was then faced with the task of selection a horse from the following weeks feature race and the chance to scoop another £270,000! She opted for ‘Taranis’ and the nation cheered along as she was presented with the cheque from Channel 4 racing’s Derek Thompson.
It would be hard to document some of the biggest coups in the racing world without the name ‘Barney Curley’ being mentioned!
Professional gambler, turned trainer, turned philanthropist Curley is somewhat of a living legend in gambling circles, and is most famous not just for one outstanding coup – but two!
The first was the Yellow Sam betting coup widely remembered within Irish and British horse racing.
It happened at Bellewstown on 26 June 1975, and was orchestrated by Curley with military precision. Curley made a profit of over £300,000 (£1.7m+ in today’s money) – one of the largest betting coups in Irish racing history.
Curley’s colleague, a larger chap managed to hog the only phone-line at the track pretending to speaking to his ill Mother in Hospital, therefore restricting the on-course bookmakers reporting back to head office of the liabilities and price movements of Yellow Sam – and ensuring the horse returned at a larger price for his supporters.
Curley again made headlines when four horses linked to him won on 22 January 2014, and were estimated to have cost bookmakers “something in the region of £2million”.
Four horses were combined in trebles and accumulators. Three of them –Agapanthus, Savaronola and Jeu De Roseau –won, backed down from early prices of 25-1, 8-1 and 7-2.
The fourth horse, Sommersturm, finished fifth, making Curley only a great deal richer instead of landing the jackpot and costing the bookmaking industry an estimated £10million extra.
Curley is somewhat of a Robin hood character, and established a charity called ‘Dafa’ – supplying direct aid and schooling for children in Zambia.
In recent years, one of the most high profile gamblers to grace the race track is the larger than life character that is Harry Findlay!
Every day of Findlay’s adult life he has watched sport and gambled on it for a living, and has staked sky high figures that would leave most of us a nervous wreck.
Findlay spent his early years as a Greyhound man, spending the majority of his time going from track to track, backing his judgement to make a good living, and in the process owning a succession of leading Dogs.
He later become a leading Race Horse owner, and will be most fondly remembered for owning Gold Cup winner ‘Denman’ in partnership with West Country farmer and land owner, Paul Barber.
Denman went on to win three Hennessey Gold Cups but Findlay’s most profitable day with the horse has to be the 14th March 2007, when the horse flew up the famous Cheltenham hill to win the RSA Chase by ten lengths at a starting price of just 6/5.
Findlay is said to have pocketed well over £1million himself having backed the horse all winter from an ante-post price of around 8/1, and openly told anyone that would listen, including mainstream media, he felt the horse was a stone cold certainty.
It is estimated that Findlay has won over £20million pounds in his gambling career, but it hasn’t always been full of highs. His worst result came in 2007 when he wagered £2.5m on New Zealand to win the Rugby World Cup, only to see them disappoint