The stable lad who won £1m – but did he deserve millions more?
Cheltenham's big winner still turns up to work after record payout is capped by bookie
Saturday 17 March 2012
Conor Murphy, the stable lad who became a millionaire at Cheltenham on Thursday, was back at work as usual at 5.30am yesterday, still unable to get his head around his amazing good fortune.
But behind his fairytale win lies a sense of frustration. If the reported odds of his five winners are correct he would have walked away with more than £3m, only Bet 365, which took his bet, has a legitimate £1m maximum payout.
It is believed that the odds taken were 6/1 Sprinter Sacre, 12/1 Simonsig, 6/1 Bob's Worth, 8/1 Finian's Rainbow and 10/1 Riverside Theatre. If that is the case, a straight £50 win accumulator would have netted Murphy £3,153, 100 (once his £50 stake had been subtracted). If the odds are correct, some might question whether the bookmaker should have taken a bet that was large enough to exceed its maximum payout if it came in. Bet 365 was unavailable for comment last night.
In any event, the 31-year-old Irishman remains the chief beneficiary of his boss Nicky Henderson's record-breaking week at the Cheltenham Festival. The Lambourn trainer saddled six winners over the first three days and his loyal employee had five of them in a £50 accumulator.
"I still cannot believe it. It is still sinking in. I haven't even thought about the money yet," he told Newbury Today, before adding to the Racing Post: "I don't have a clue what I'll do with it. You don't expect to win a million, so it's very hard to plan for it. I'll be staying here for the moment anyway because I like it here and sure I'll have a good holiday in the summer.
"I always wanted to be a trainer but I think that ambition has worn off me. Working with the calibre of horses here kind of spoils you and it would be so difficult to start from scratch with average horses, I don't think I'd be able to hack that."
His first two winners, Sprinter Sacre (Arkle Trophy) and Simonsig (Neptune Hurdle), hardly gave him an anxious moment when winning easily on Tuesday, but both Bob's Worth (RSA Chase) and Finian's Rainbow (Queen Mother Champion Chase) had to pull out all the stops for their victories on Wednesday.
Murphy's fortune and a future life in clover then hinged on Riverside Theatre winning the Ryanair Chase and it looked for the world as though the dream bet would fail as Albertas Run led him over the last. But in a stirring finish which had even those without a financial interest on their feet and cheering, Riverside Theatre, owned by actor James Nesbitt and ridden with customary skill and power by Barry Geraghty, edged in front in the final 50 yards and held on by half a length. Murphy, who rides out Finian's Rainbow every day, put his incredible win down to good luck.
He said: "I put the bet on before Christmas. I just picked the five best horses and hoped for a lot of luck, I didn't think much about it.
"And I wasn't really thinking about the bet when they all started coming in. You try so hard to get even one winner here, the day just draws you in."
Winning run: How his bet multiplied to £3m
All races at Cheltenham
* Sprinter Sacre 6/1 (Arkle Trophy) £50 stake pays £350 (including stake)
* Simonsig 12/1 (Neptune Novices Hurdle) £350 stake pays £4,550
* Bob's Worth 6/1 (RSA Chase) £4,550 pays £31,850
* Finian's Rainbow 8/1 (Queen Mother Champion Chase) £31,850 pays £286,850
* Riverside Theatre 10/1 (Ryanair Chase) £286,850 pays £3,153,150
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