Stable lad Conor picks up €1m as Cheltenham bet pays off

Cormac Byrne

AN Irish stable lad with top trainer Nicky Henderson scooped a staggering €1.2m at Cheltenham.

Conor Murphy, Henderson's head lad, put the bets on five of his yard's horses last year, to land the monster accumulator win at the festival.

He landed the £1m win at Cheltenham yesterday when Riverside Theatre won the Ryanair Chase by a half-length under an inspired ride from jockey Barry Geraghty.

Murphy, from Balineen, Co Cork, put five of the stable's best horses in a £50 accumulator with Bet365 on an online bet before Christmas, when they were at decent odds.

Sprinter Sacre, Simonsig, Bobs Worth and Finian's Rainbow all won on Wednesday, so it all rolled over on to actor Jimmy Nesbitt's Riverside Theatre who, for much of the race, looked an unlikely winner. Had the horse lost, Murphy would not have picked up a penny.

Murphy (28) who was with Henderson before leaving to gain experience in America, returned to work for the trainer as deputy head-lad to 'Corky' Browne, who has held the position since Henderson took out a licence in 1978. He has been groomed to take over when Browne retires.


Nicky Henderson was delighted with the news: "I am absolutely thrilled for him because he is my head lad and he's a delightful guy. He is my right-hand man and what he has done is amazing.

"He had faith in our horses but what is remarkable is he put this bet on such a long time ago, way before Christmas.

"He would have had no idea what was going to happen but he had belief in those horses. Conor has been with me for years. He's one of the nicest men you could meet.

"It's been a bit like the lottery for him. It's such a nice story because he's such a nice man. He's still got a job to do and he will certainly still be here tomorrow. He's got to be up at 5am. Tomorrow is the Gold Cup. It's the biggest day and he is a very important part of the team."

In the yard every morning, his duties include riding out, man management and, particularly, patching up the everyday knocks and bumps that racehorses pick up.

Among the horses he rides out on a daily basis is Finian's Rainbow, who caused an upset in Wednesday's Queen Mother Champion Chase by beating the Irish champion, Sizing Europe.