Horse Betting: Making a buck at the Grand National
Manifesto won the Grand National twice - 1897 and 1899 - hitting the bookies hard on both occasions.
Vast amounts of money are wagered across the country in the Grand National, and it wouldn't be the same without the huge gambles and romance that surround the world's most famous chase...
- The first Grand National winner Lottery was made the 5/1 favourite in 1839 through weight of money due to his earlier success in the Cheltenham Steeplechase.
- Another significant successful punt came in 1866, when owner and trainer Edward Studd backed Salamander to win £40,000, splashing out £1,000 at 40/1.
- Manifesto won the Grand National twice - 1897 and 1899 - hitting the bookies hard on both occasions. Owned by Irish solicitor Harry Dyas for the first of those victories - whose gambling exploits apparently made bookmakers quake - the great horse was returned the 6/1 favourite in 1897.
- John Bulteel then purchased Manifesto, who went to post for the 1899 Grand National a well-supported 5/1 second favourite. Despite considerable public support, the market leader was his half-sister and former stable companion Gentle Ida, whom Harry Dyas believed had the measure of Manifesto. The mare went off the 4/1 favourite but fell at Valentine's first time around, leaving Manifesto to reward his loyal supporters.
- Vincent O'Brien was confident enough approaching the 1953 Grand National to tell Early Mist's owner to have a good bet. 'Mincemeat Joe' Griffin backed his horse to win £100,000.
- For good measure, Griffin won the following year's Grand National, this time with Royal Tan, also trained by O'Brien, who remarkably made it three in a row in 1955 with Quare Times.
- The prolific gambler Terry Ramsden went for a massive touch on Mr Snugfit in 1986, putting on £50,000 each-way at 8/1 and combining the nine-year-old in a number of doubles and trebles with other horses he owned. Despite finishing fastest of all, the horse did not deliver the win part of the substantial wager, although Ramsden ended up in profit as Mr Snugfit came fourth behind West Tip.
- In more recent years, one of the biggest gambles landed occurred in 2000, when the Irish-trained Papillon struck for the father and son partnership of Ted and Ruby Walsh. The nine-year-old had been available at 33/1 early in the morning of the great race, only to start at 10/1 after being tipped throughout the day.
- In 2003, Monty's Pass, also an Irish-trained runner, landed another gamble. Mike Futter, the front man of the five-strong Dee Racing Syndicate who owned the horse, estimated his own winnings at £800,000, while the overall haul of the syndicate was over £1 million. Futter backed the Jimmy Mangan-trained winner initially at 66/1 in the ante-post market and then continued to support his horse at rates down to 16/1, the eventual starting price of Monty's Pass.