Bookmaker Settles 1974 Grand National Bet

ian bruce
Written by Ian Bruce
Published on Monday 10th April 2017, 2:33 pm
Posted in: Horse Racing


Horse Racing

A winning bet on Red Rum in the 1974 Grand National was settled recently by William Hill, more than forty years after its owner had placed it. Bob Holmes, who is 76 years old, had been helping his sister-in-law to prepare for moving home by going through old paperwork when he came across a ‘scruffy bit of paper’. On closer inspection, Bob saw that it was a betting slip for the 1974 Grand National, and that he had staked £1 on Red Rum.


Red Rum was, of course, one of the most famous horses in Grand National history, having won the event three times. One of those times was in 1974 (the other two being in 1973 and 1977), when he won at odds of 11/1, and Bob called William Hill to ask if the bet would still be honoured. The bookmaker confirmed that it would, but went even further than that and said that the bet would be settled at today’s value, which gave Bob a return of £130 instead of just £12.

In addition to settling his original bet on those terms, William Hill donated £130 to the charity of Bob’s choice (Water Aid), and gave him a free bet – also worth £130 – for the 2017 Grand National, which took place last Saturday. Bob split the free bet with his wife and sister-in-law, and they opted to have a flutter on Blaklion, Definitly Red and Ucello Conti.

The 2017 Grand National was of course won by One For Arthur, but Blaklion, which was Bob’s selection, managed to finish in 4th place at odds of 8/1. Unfortunately for the other free bets, Definitly Red was pulled up at the 9th fence and Ucello Conti unseated its rider at the 22nd.

"After 45 years of working for William Hill I am well aware that winning betting slips occasionally are mislaid or forgotten, but we always pay up when a genuine slip comes to light," said William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe. "The previous record delay was seven years, when we paid a £30 bet to a lady whose husband had died some years before, and she had been unable to bring herself to clear out his things for that long. But 43 years has to be a world record for delayed collection of a winning bet."

We congratulate Bob on his 1974 Grand National win, and we also applaud William Hill for not only honouring a bet placed more than four decades ago, but for doing so with characteristic style and generosity.

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