Betting Coups 3
Papillon (2000 Grand National)
Aintree has so many painful memories for some bookmakers, with the 2000 National winner Papillon another name that sends the layers scurrying for the headache tablets. Winning trainer Ted Walsh could barely believe his eyes when he opened his Racing Post on the morning of the race and saw Papillion offered at 33-1, and, with the paper's influential Pricewise column highlighting the horse, Ted knew that he had to move quick to snap up those odds. However, accommodated he was, the morning stampede from horse race betting enthusiasts for Papillon was such that when the on-course layers started pricing up the race at lunchtime, the best available was 14-1, and, with the gamble continuing right up to off-time, he eventually went off 10-1 joint second-favourite. It was, as Walsh observed later, a case of "mission accomplished".
Looks Like Trouble (2000 Cheltenham Gold Cup)
Trainer Noel Chance still has a 50-1 voucher about his 2000 Gold Cup winner Looks Like Trouble, who powered away from Irish favourite Florida Pearl to win chasing's most coveted crown at 5-2. "He had won the Sun Alliance Chase the previous year, and I thought that 50's was an insult, so I helped myself and it paid for a new conservatory," said Chance.
Monty's Pass (2003 Grand National)
The Irish are renowned for being fearless punters, and Blackpool-born Mike Futter, who owns three bingo halls in Dublin and seven in Northern Ireland, certainly had the leprechauns on his side when he landed a monster gamble with his own horse Monty's Pass in the 2003 Grand National. Futter, together with his four co-owners, is reported to have netted £1m plus, with individual horse racing bets of £5,000 each-way at 33-1 and £10,000 each-way at 20-1 "paying for the bubbly". "I tipped off all my customers, and the Northern Ireland clubs alone raked in £1.3m, but I laid a lot of my own bets off to business partners and by the end of the day only £250,000 went into my own ledger, which is not a bad day's work," confessed Futter with a smile.
Denman (2007 Royal & Sun Alliance Chase)
Professional Gambler Harry Findlay is an owner who has had the bookies running scared, and he landed one of his biggest gambles on his own horse Denman in the Royal & Sun Alliance Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Paul Nicholls is convinced that Denman has the potential to win a Gold Cup one day, and the fearless Findlay said, "I could not believe that he was not odds-on at Cheltenham, and I went right along the line of rails layers filling my boots. I was still backing him at the off and was amazed that they were offering 6-5 when the tapes went up. Denman is a serious tool, and it was some party afterwards."