Lucky Punter

Lucky Punter  According to the song, ‘Old Christmas comes but once a year’ but, for one anonymous Sky Bet punter, the festive season started several weeks early in 2017. On December 7 that year, the unnamed individual staked £2.30 each-way on a five-fold accumulator on National Hunt racing at Leicester and Wincanton. Four of his five selections – Arthington (3/1), Vocaliser (18/1), Lagavara (9/2) and Dontmindboys (4/1) – were at Leicester, where his only really anxious moment came in the fifth race on the card, the Lubenham Mares’ Handicap Hurdle. Sent off 4/1 second favourite, Lagavara drew clear with 11/4 favourite Daytime Ahead from the final flight but, after a ding-dong battle with the runner-up on the run-in, eventually prevailed by the narrowest possible margin, a nose.

Thankfully, the gallant gambler was spared any such drama elsewhere, including in the Watch Racing UK On BT TV “Junior” Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race at Wincanton; in that race, his final selection, Acey Milan (7/2), was sent off a well-backed 9/4 second favourite and quickened clear in the closing stages for a comfortable, 9-length victory. In so doing, the Anthony Honeyball-trained gelding landed a jackpot payout of £23,631.36.

Interestingly, none of the winning selections started favourite, a fact that didn’t escape Michael Shinners, Racing Odds Manager at Sky. He said, ‘I’ve got to take my hat off to this customer, despite him causing plenty of glum faces in our trading rooms today, that’s for sure! To take on any favourite and be counting your profit in one race is hard enough, but to do it in all five is just top-class punting.’

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