Grand National Bet Pays Off 43-years LaterApril 12, 2017 10:17 am
Thoroughbred racehorse Red Rum won a record three Grand Nationals in the 1970’s, with his third victory in 1977 fondly remembered as one of the UK’s greatest ever sporting moments. Over its impressive reign, the champion steeplechaser won numerous bets for its legion of adoring admirers, but perhaps none so bizarre as a £1 bet place back in 1974.
That’s because the gambler’s betting slip remained hidden for decades until Bob Holmes, 76, came across the winning ticket while looking through paperwork belonging to the late father of his wife Nancy, 75. Joe Robertson died back in 1979, five years after the race was won, and at the time must have “turned the house upside down looking for it”, according to son-in-law Bob Holmes. After all, the £1 betting slip at odds of 11-1 would have netted its owner £12 at the time, or around £130 in today’s money.
In any case, Bob Holmes decided to try his luck by taking the ticket to a William Hill betting shop, and after conducting a search, the company handed him an inflation adjusted payout of £130. Being such a rare occurence, the past week or so has seen the story make all the gambling related headlines, and commenting on the bizarre story, William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said that in the 45 years that he has been with the company the longest period of time for an unpaid ticket to be claimed was seven years. As he subsequently explained:
“We ascertained that the code referred to a shop that is no longer a betting shop but proved it was genuine. It seemed a bit churlish to just pay out £12 so we agreed to add inflation which made it £130. We also donated £130 to Bob’s chosen charity Water Aid and gave out an additional £130 worth of bets for this year’s Grand National to see if the family luck would maintain itself over 43 years.”
Mr Holmes subsequently split the £130 free bet for this year’s Grand National with his wife and sister-in-law, but despite backing different horses, they missed the mark, with the race eventually won by 12-1 shot ‘One For Arthur’.