A lucky once-a-year punter scooped £182,500 on a £2 bet at Cheltenham yesterday (12 March).
The man, who was on an annual coach trip to the Festival with friends, became the biggest-winning on-course Tote Placepot winner in the history of the bet, for which punters pick one horse in each of six races.
The punter made his selection with the help of a friend who follows racing more closely, hoping he might win “a couple of hundred quid”.
But the £958,481.10 prize pool was shared by 10.5 winning units, meaning each £1 unit won a £91,283.10 dividend.
“It wasn’t until the second-last race that my friend said ‘You’re still in with a chance’,” the lucky winner said.
“We came in a couple of times after the sixth race to cash it in. We thought it might be a couple of hundred quid or something like that but it wasn’t ready, so we went out to bet on the last race. We were lucky enough win again on that!”
The punter went back after the last race to cash out.
“The lady behind the counter… her face just dropped,” he said.
“I asked her how much and she very discreetly showed us. We still didn’t really believe it.
“We’ve been coming for years and the occasion is fantastic. We’ve been doing it this way for years and nothing’s changed. We just do a Placepot and our individual bets and then enjoy the racing. The Tote staff are really good and friendly and welcoming and everyone has been great.
“My daughter is soon to go to university, so that will help, and my son is going on holiday so I think I will be upgrading him to first class.”
Other winners on the course yesterday included two punters who each collected £36,513.56 for a 40p share, having played in 10p unit stakes, and there were numerous 20p and 10p winners.
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Emma Knight, who was in the Chez Roux restaurant to celebrate her 13th wedding anniversary, collected over £18,000.
“We come every year to the Festival and I always have a Placepot, but usually go out in the last race!” she said. “It’s been an amazing day.”
For a full report from the Cheltenham Festival, as well as news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss next week’s Horse & Hound magazine, on sale 21 March.