It’s the dream of every person placing a wager on a horse race – winning millions on a lucky punt.
It has happened, too – with people managing to win six- or seven-figure payouts with minimum spending. Whether it’s playing at an online casino or placing bets on soccer or racing, online gambling has become a very popular activity as explained by Fintan Costello of bonus.net.nz and its popularity continues to increase.
Before we look at the five biggest payouts, let’s have a quick history of horse racing and gambling.
The History of Horse Racing
The definition of horse racing is when two or more horses are ridden by jockeys over a certain distance.
This is something that has happened throughout history, so it is hard to define when horse racing first became a thing. We know that races happened in Ancient Greece, because during the Olympics races would take place with both chariots and bareback ridden races. The practice seems to have spread to Asia, Africa, and the Middle East as well as the rest of Europe, too.
The first recorded racing purse offered £40 to the winner, in a three-mile race where knights were the riders.
King Charles II introduced the King’s Plate races in the 17th Century, winning a few himself and establishing horse racing as the ‘Sport of Kings’. He is credited with creating some of the most famous English racecourses like Newmarket.
The 18th Century saw the introduction of some of the biggest races in the UK, with St. Leger starting in 1776, the Oaks in 1779, and the Derby in 1780. This is often cited as the start of modern racing.
Betting on the Horses
There is evidence to suggest that for as long as there has been horse racing, people have been placing wagers on the outcomes, but the betting system we recognise today is much more of a modern phenomenon than we might have though.
Winston Churchill passed one of the most important pieces of legislation to modern gambling with the Race Betting Act in 1928, allowing access to fully legalised betting pools – much like the way we bet today.
The Biggest Racing Wins
Before we get into the numbers and the winners, it is important to note that these vast numbers didn’t come from a single bet on a straight win – they were all accumulators, which increase the profit if you win by making the odds really high. The win only comes in if you correctly predict the outcomes of several races at one time.
£19 bet becomes £823,000.
An anonymous gambler from Leicester finally hit it big after placing bets for 20 years – and it all came down to a five-horse accumulator at Punchestown Racecourse on the famous Punchestown Champion Hurdle Day.
This win became the recode payout for horse racing at Coral bookmakers, and what makes it even better is that the anonymous gambler didn’t even find out until the next day.
£10 bet becomes £986,807.
Another anonymous gambler took home the biggest payout from racing in Paddy Power history when he struck it lucky on a six-fold accumulator in Ireland, choosing horses at both Galway and Naas.
His £10 bet became nearly a million when all six came in over a 90-minute period.
£50 bet becomes £1,000,000.
Conor Murphy, who was a stable lad at Nicky Henderson’s yard, put his trust in the performance of his boss’ horses at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival, with a five-horse accumulator that put them all in first place.
His trust paid off when all the horses came in, but he was limited by the payout limit at Bet365 and could only claim £1 million (It should have been at least £3 million that he took home). Murphy loved his job so much that he was back at work and riding out the next morning.
50p bet becomes £1,000,000.
This might be the most adorable story on this list, when Fred Craggs, a fertiliser salesman from North Yorkshire saw his eightfold accumulator come in back in 2008.
He placed the bet on the eve of his 60th Birthday at his local William Hill, and it wasn’t until he checked his ticket at another branch on his birthday that he realised his accumulator (with odds of 2,000,000/1) had come in – that is some birthday present!
£2 bet becomes £1,450.000.
When he was at the Exeter Racecourse in 2011, Steve Whitely put a Placepot bet on at The Tote with six horses.
The heating engineer from Devon saw his luck come in – but he could have got more. The dividend payout worked out as less than the fixed odds equivalent; if he had played the accumulator instead, his win would have been more like £1.7 million.
Get Your Acca On
If you want to win big like these guys, then you need to get your lucky pants on and predict the results of several races at once – it is something that isn’t easy, but if it works it is definitely worth it!