NORMALLY when a 50/1 outsider romps home at the Cheltenham Festival bookies are rubbing their hands with glee – but that certainly wasn’t the case at Maybole’s Ladbrokes branch on Thursday.
The betting giants are the only turf accountants in the town – so it was no surprise that when Carrickboy lined up for the four-o’clock Byrne Group Plate under jockey Liam Treadwell, the Venetia Williams-trained nine-year-old carried the hopes and cash of the youngsters and sportsmen of Carrick alike.
When he went on to defy the odds with a pillar to post win the decibel level in the small-town bookies reached an unprecedented high.
Seasoned punter, Peter Conway, who jealously witnessed the celebrations, said: “The racket was unbelievable. You would have thought the boys had won the lottery.
“It just goes to show, you can – like me – study the Festival form for weeks and not come up with a winner, yet these guys just thought, we went to Carrick Academy or we play for Carrick Rugby Club, so Carrickboy must be a cert.
“As it turns out they were spot on and another certainty is that there would have been a few sore heads on Friday morning.”
Ladbrokes spokesman Alex Donohue said yesterday: “In this one branch in this one concentrated area this was the worst 50/1 shot we have ever had in the history of the Chetenham Festival.
“Fivers and tenners at 50/1 and a few £20 bets add up. People in that particular shop will have paid for a holiday thanks to Carrickboy.
“We were anticipating that maybe a few people in Manchester would have backed him because of United’s Michael Carrick, but that didn’t happen. Instead of being stung in Manchester we were mauled in Maybole.”