Classic gamble proves a winner €200,000 in 'old-school' betting coup
IT was an astonishing gamble that went off like clockwork.
A fleet of drivers were deployed to lay bets at more than 100 different bookies in an elaborate betting coup that landed up to €200,000.
The masterminds won the six-figure sum by paying a massive team to each back the winning horse with small stakes of €200 each, at long odds of as much as 14/1.
And last night the Irish Bookmakers Association reluctantly saluted the audacious gamble, admitting: "It's a classic. They did nothing illegal."
Businessman Douglas Taylor, the joint-owner of the horse at the centre of the plan, is understood to have reaped a share of the rewards.
"That should pay for the wedding," said Kilcock-based Mr Taylor after his horse 'D Four Dave' romped home in Kilbeggan on Monday night.
He has enjoyed a successful week, having only tied the knot last Saturday.
Mr Taylor is the managing director of recruitment company MCR, which is understood to have been involved in bringing together the people power to pull off the plan. Up to 200 agency workers arrived at betting shops at 6.55pm on Monday evening, when an alarm on a watch sounded the signal to place the bets on 'D Four Dave'.
They were given strict instructions to be at the counter before the alarm went off.
They were told to tell staff they would take the odds available, which were as high as 14/1 before later falling to 5/1.
The horse's win under jockey Mark Walsh just minutes later, hit some of the leading national bookmakers for big money, thanks to the carefully orchestrated wagers.
Because relatively small €200 bets were all placed at the same time, just moments before the 7pm Hurley Family Handicap Hurdle, the punters were able to avail of favourable odds.
If big money had been laid on the horse earlier in the day then the bookmakers would immediately have become wary and slashed odds on the horse.
But instead, the sophisticated gamble was landed in style, as drivers were dispatched by to more than 100 bookmakers in counties Dublin and Kildare.
They were accompanied by agency workers who had been given an envelope containing instructions to pull off the audacious coup.
A note said: "Dear employee. Enclosed you will find (1) A completed betting slip for the betting shop that you have been sent to. (2) €200 in cash for which you need to place the bet. (3) A watch with the alarm set to go off at 6.55pm." Mark Costello, deputy editor of the 'Irish Field' magazine which broke the news, said it was still a massive gamble that could have backfired.
"Kilbeggan wouldn't be seen as the best place to execute a gamble like that -- there were a number of fallers during that race. Anything could have happened," he said. "This was just an old-fashioned coup. They haven't broken any law."