People and Business: Big punter

ONE of the great racing personalities that regularly makes an appearance at Cheltenham is JP McManus the Irish owner and punter, dubbed "The Man the Bookies Fear".

A bet of pounds 20,000 would be a small affair for Mr McManus, and no cash needs to change hands when he bets, a nod being good enough.

According to race track lore he recently bet pounds 140,000 on a series of three bets and lost on each one. One of his horses Istrabraq, was "hottest favourite all week", and duly won the Smurfit Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy on Tuesday.

Mr McManus also owns Le Coudray a leading contender for the Stayers Hurdle yesterday unfortunately Le Coudray only managed to come second.

Mr McManus is part of a tightly knit group of racing pals including John Magnier, the race horse owner, Joe Lewis, the Bermudan based financier who was involved in the Enic bid for Wembley Stadium.