In 2014, Wolverhampton became the first racecourse in Europe to install the Tapeta surface but, even so, it would be fair to say that the Dunstall Park track rarely attracts much attention. However, it did so on January 6, 2016 when, at an ordinary midweek meeting, an anonymous Southampton man went through the card and won £245,000 for his £10 stake.
The 34-year-old motor mechanic made his selections based on their market position and, more importantly, their names. He said, ‘I chose the horses based on their names. I looked at ones who were favourites and selected them at random based upon names that I liked.’ On a day when six out of seven favourites won, he also did himself a favour by taking early prices about his selections when he placed the bet the previous evening; at starting price, his £10 seven-fold accumulator would have yielded ‘just’ £80,000.
The punter admitted that his windfall was more down to ‘brilliant luck’ than any system or selection technique. However, after watching his first six selections – Whitecliff Prince, Artful Mind, Mr Boss Man, Oakley Girl, Perfect Cracker and Bank Of Gibralatar – prevail, his nerve was tested by his final selection, Ohsosecret, who only led inside the final 50 yards of the closing 5-furlong handicap and was all out to win by a head.
Nevertheless, win she did, sparking riotous celebration. Reflecting on his good fortune, the man said, ‘I was watching the results come in and after the first three had won, I started texting the wife. When the seventh one won, I was jumping around the place. It’s the biggest high I have ever had.’