Cheltenham Festival 2023: All you need to know
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A Cheltenham Festival punter took the bookies ‘to the cleaners’ winning at least £50,000 and claimed it was the ‘biggest bet of my life’. Irish punter Paddy Merrigan was one of many who spotted the potential of The Real Whacker in the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase on Wednesday.
Former jockey Merrigan backed the horse from odds of 50-1 in separate flutters during the last six months resulting in a huge pay-day for himself and many other punters with the horse starting at 8-1. Merrigan told the Irish Mirror: “The whole of Ireland has backed this horse for six months.
“We have cleaned the bookies, it’s over. 50-1 is the first bet I had, don’t worry about I much I win. I can assure you it was the biggest bet of my life. The bookies got educated today. I backed this horse for six months, I told thousands of other people to back him, they all did.”
Sam Twiston-Davies rode The Real Whacker to victory as the 11/2 third favourite took a narrow victory which was decided by a photo finish. Merrigan used to work for Irish trainer Patrick Neville who now lives in Yorkshire.
Merrigan added: “No one believed in this horse. Paddy and myself, I used to work with him years ago in Ireland, I was assistant trainer with him and through finances and business and Covid, we couldn’t stay together. Paddy went to England and I set up a couple of businesses and now the two of us are flying.
“I’m mentally addicted to this game since I was a kid. The truth be told, I’m the biggest waste of talent that ever stood at Cheltenham. If I took to the horse racing I would have had a good career but it doesn’t matter.”
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The Real Whacker made nearly all the running during the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase on Wednesday against 5-4 favourite Gerri Colombe. Despite the favourite finishing strongly The Real Whacker held on to take victory by a head and win the £100,000 first-place prize for owner David Mann.
“My heart is pounding… I’m shocked,” added Mann. “This is the best day of my life. I’m so happy for myself, Paddy Neville and the other owners. I’m not myself but this is unreal.”
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