43 years late, man cashes in bet on Red Rum to win the Grand National

Sean Gibson
Ginger McCain leads Red Rum, centre, after the 1974 Grand National, with lucky Bob Holmes, inset, finally able to cash in a winning bet on the race - PA Wire

A 1974 bet on Red Rum to win the Grand National has been cashed in 43 years late, after a man discovered a betting slip among the belongings of his late father-in-law.

Bob Holmes contacted bookmaker William Hill after finding the betting slip, who confirmed that the punt had never been cashed.

The bookmaker paid out £130 on the bet, plus a £130 free bet on this weekend's Grand National and the same amount again to donate to the charity of Mr Holmes' choice.

It is thought to be a record-late cash-in, with William Hill adjusting the payout for inflation. The betting slip read: "1 win. Red Rum. Live 3.15."

Mr Holmes, a 76-year-old retiree, said: "My sister-in-law was moving house and my wife and I were helping her to see what could be thrown out, so I was looking through a whole pile of old papers, tax returns, bank statements and so on.

Red Rum, right, won the National three times - in 1973, '74 and '79 Credit: PA Wire

"I came across a scruffy bit of paper that turned out to be a betting slip that had been placed but never cashed. When I looked more closely it was for Red Rum in the 1974 Grand National.

"I contacted William Hill who said yes, it is a bet that has been properly placed and they would not only honour it but would increase the value to today’s prices.

"It is a mystery [why it was never cashed]. My father-in-law probably lost the betting slip and was not able to cash it.

Bob Holmes with his wife Nancy Credit: PA

"It was very rare for him to bet. He was not a betting man, maybe a couple of times a year on the National or the Derby."

Mr Holmes has said he is splitting the £130 free bet for this year's national three ways with his wife and sister-in-law, Rhoda Robertson, with each of them backing different horses.

Mr Holmes has plumped for Blaklion, his wife Nancy has gone for Definitely Red, while his sister-in-law has backed Ucello Conti.

What colours have appeared in winning horses names?

Graham Sharpe, spokesman for William Hill, said: "It is certainly a record.

"I’ve worked at William Hill for 45 years and the record before was seven years – for a lady whose husband had passed away and she had not felt able to go through his clothes until then, and had found a betting slip."

“If you have a valid betting slip we will always honour it because we understand that things like that happen.”

Grand National 2017 horse by horse guide


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