Cheltenham Festival Placepot

Cheltenham Festival Placepot The placepot is not an accumulator in the traditional sense, insofar as it is a pool, or pari-mutuel, bet offered by the Tote, still largely owned by Betfred, for which the dividend is determined not by the starting prices of the horses concerned, but the number of winning tickets. Quite simply, the placepot requires players to select a placed horse in each of six consecutive races, usually the first six, at a single meeting and, like a traditional accumulator, offers the prospect of a large return for a relatively small outlay.

The Cheltenham Festival, held annually in March, features racing that is more competitive than any other meeting of the year, but that did not stop one anonymous punter from winning £182,567.80 for a single £2 bet on the opening day in 2019. The once-a-year punter, enjoying his annual pilgrimage to Prestbury Park, placed his placepot bet, as he has apparently been doing ‘for years’, and made a flying start to the afternoon.

Of course, by definition, the placepot is not just about backing winners, but victories for Klassical Dream, Duc Des Genievres, Beware The Bear in the first three races – in which no favourite was placed – did his prospects no harm. Second-place finishes for Melon and Stormy Ireland in the Champion Hurdle and OLBG Mares’ Hurdle, respectively, kept the dream of a mammoth payout alive and, in the 20-runner Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase, it was left to 5/1 favourite A Plus Tard to make the first four places. Henry De Bromhead’s charge not only did that, but scampered away to win by 16 lengths and the dream had become reality!

Small Stake, Huge Payout

Small Stake, Huge Payout Apparently, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’ was originally a maxim used to encourage American schoolchildren to do their homework. However, the importance of not giving up too easily was highlighted by an anonymous Coral punter who, in April, 2017, staked £19 on a permed accumulator bet and won £822,972.75 or, in other words, the highest horse racing payout the bookmaking firm has made since it was established in 1926.

The unidentified man, believed to be from Leicester, made five selections at the home of Irish jump racing, Punchestown, in Co. Kildare, and combined them in five £3 four-folds and one £4 five-fold. Das Mooser, about whom he had taken 10/1, set the ball rolling when making all to win the hunter chase, on his debut under National Hunt rules, at half those odds and was followed, in quick succession, by Woodland Opera, at 9/2, in the novice chase and Definite Ruby, at 7/1, in the mares’ handicap chase. Just over an hour later, Bacardys, at 10/1, beat favourite Finian’s Oscar by a short head to win the Tattersalls Ireland Champion Novice Hurdle and, later in the evening, Canardier – backed at 33/1, but sent off at just 8/1 – completed the clean sweep by winning the flat race.

Not that our intrepid punter was aware of any of the goings-on at Punchestown, having headed off for a night out. However, he did eventually check the racing results in the early hours of the following morning and later described his life-changing win as ‘the realisation of a lifetime dream’. Apparently, the man, who is the son of a bookmaker, had been placing similar bets, in the form of trebles and accumulators, on a daily basis for the previous twenty years but, in his own words, ‘kept hitting the woodwork’.

Canadian / Super Yankee Bet

Canadian / Super Yankee Bet A Canadian bet, also known as a Super Yankee is essentially a Yankee bet but with an extra selection. This additional selection results in a total of 26 bets. 10 doubles, 10 trebles, 5 four-folds plus 1 five-fold. If you favour betting on multiple selections but aren’t willing to go all out re: a 5 fold win accumulator, a Super Yankee might be a good half way house. It offers potential for a sizeable win, but also rewards you if your selections fall ‘in the ballpark’ results-wise.

Frankie Dettori’s ‘Magnificent Seven’

Frankie Dettori's ‘Magnificent Seven’ Lanfranco ‘Frankie’ Dettori has experienced his fair share of ups and downs since his halcyon days in the royal-blue silks of Godolphin, but remains one of the most recognisable and popular jockeys in the country. For readers of a certain age, Dettori will always be best remembered for winning all seven races on the highest profile race day of the year, the Festival of British Racing – a precursor to British Champions’ Day – at Ascot in 1996.

Perhaps the person with most cause to remember that fateful day is Darren Yates, nowadays a high-profile racehorse owner but, at the time, a self-employed joiner in Morecambe, Lancashire. Having latched onto the fact that the Godolphin horses wintered in Dubai were some way ahead of their British counterparts, Yates backed four of them – Wall Street, Diffident, Mark Of Esteem and Fatefully – all trained by Saeed Bin Suroor and threw in Dettori’s other three mounts, combining them in a £0.50 Super Heinz, plus an additional £1.00 each-way accumulator, for a total outlay of £62.00.

The rest, as they say, is history. The first three Goldolphin-trained horses won the Cumberland Lodge Stakes, Diadem Stakes and the feature race of the day, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and, following an easy victory for Decorated Hero, trained by John Gosden, in the Tote Festival Handicap, Fatefully duly completed a four-timer for Sheikh Mohammed’s operation in the Roseberry Rated Stakes. Dettori made all the running on Lochangel, trained by Andrew Balding, in the Seal Stakes and repeated the dose on Fujiyama Crest, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, in the closing Gordon Carter Handicap. His unprecedented seven-timer paid 25,095/1 at starting price, but 235,834/1 at best odds and cost the bookmaking industry an estimated £40 million or more; Darren Yates profited to the tune of £550,823.54.

Fred Craggs – Millionaire

Fred Craggs - Millionaire On his birthday in February, 2008, Yorkshireman Fred Craggs made history when winning exactly £1,000,000, for a fifty pence stake, from an eight-fold accumulator placed with William Hill. However, just over a decade later, in September, 2018, an anonymous Scottish punter from Leith, Edinburgh, also celebrating his birthday, took the well-known bookmaker to the cleaners again with a similar bet.

The small-stakes punter, believed to be in his fifties, placed a series of permed accumulator bets, each worth just five pence apiece, for a total stake of just £5.35. However, a comfortable three-length win for 14/1 chance Ascot Day in the Grace Harris Racing Handicap at Ffos Las completed an eight-fold accumulator which, in itself, yielded £203,969 for a five pence stake.

Of course, his eighth and final winning selection was critical, but the permed nature of his bet meant that many of the other permutations also returned major sums of money. All told, his total winnings were £682,282.14, believed to be the biggest accumulator payout in Scottish betting history and the third biggest permed accumulator payout in the United Kingdom, as a whole, behind two bets that benefited from the so-called ‘Magnificent Seven’, ridden by Lanfranco ‘Frankie’ Dettori at Ascot 22 years previously.

Rupert Adams, spokesman for William Hill, said, ‘It’s a bet that defies the odds beyond just about anything we’ve ever seen’, adding, ‘We think a number of records have been beaten. It is certainly our biggest ever winner on the horses in Scotland.’