Tale of nags to riches as £2 bet punter wins record £1,445,671
THEY say that when your luck is in, it's in and this certainly was the case for Steve Whiteley.
The heating engineer who only goes racing once or twice a year placed just £2 on a bet after getting into the track for free.
But he left the Exeter Races meeting with a total payout of £1,445,671 (about €1,750,000)-- the largest dividend in the British tote's Jackpot's history.
His nags to riches story was the result of winning a massive rollover Jackpot courtesy of 12-1 chance Lupita in the final leg.
Over £2m was in the pool, but Black Phantom (12-1), Ammunition (16-1) and Mr Bennett (16-1) had seen off the vast majority of the tickets after the first four races.
When Lundy Sky (5-1) got the better of odds-on favourite Glitzy D'Ocala in the penultimate race the whole bet was down to just £1.
Lupita, trained by Derrick Scott and ridden by Jessica Lodge, who had only ever had one point-to-point winner previously, ground down Only Hope after the last flight in the Upton Lakes And Lodges Amateur Riders' Handicap Hurdle to change winning punter Whiteley's life forever.
A delighted Mr Whiteley (61) from North Tawton last night said: "It's difficult to say how I came up with them. The first few selections I had two in each race and that was going to cost £32 so I scrapped that," said Mr Whiteley.
"Why did I pick the last one? Lodge is just a name that sticks in my head. I didn't know anything about her. I'm not a horse-racing man, I only go once or twice a year.
"I'm a heating engineer -- well I was!
"The most exciting bit was after the fourth race when my mate said only seven people in the whole country were still in it. I couldn't watch the last race.
"I'm shaking like a leaf, I can't believe it."
Lodge said: "I'm very pleased for them, it's brilliant news.
"Mr Scott told me to leave it as late as possible. It's my first winner under Rules so it's a nice story all round."
Jayne Amor, racing manager from the tote, said: "The excitement at the racecourse was unbelievable.
"When we realised it was one ticket it was so exciting, the whole of the tote has been cheering him on.
"His money will be in the bank tomorrow morning."
The jackpot had not been won since February 27 at Fontwell.