UK Bookie Pays Out on Red Rum Bet 43 Years Late

Posted on: April 8, 2017, 10:00h. 

Last updated on: April 8, 2017, 09:56h.

A 1974 bet on the legendary British racehorse Red Rum to win that year’s Grand National was paid out 43 years after the race had been won this week.

William Hill pays out on Red Rum Grand National bet
Red Rum, who won the 1973 Grand National after coming back from 30 lengths behind. No wonder Bob Holmes’ late father-in-law backed him the following year. (Image: Liverpool Echo)

Bob Holmes, a 74-year-old retiree, found the winning betting slip among the belongings of his late father in law and contacted bookmaker William Hill, which confirmed the bet had never been cashed. William Hill not only honored the wager but also adjusted it for inflation for a pay-out of £130 (£160).

Sensing a PR op, the company also offered Holmes another £130 to bet on this year’s Grand National, coming up this Sunday, plus another £130 to donate to the charity of his choice.   

Latest Cash-out Ever

“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,” explained Holmes to the Daily Telegraph. “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.

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

One of the Greatest

Not only is this thought to be a record for the latest cash-out ever, but it also provides a little nugget of betting memorabilia. Red Rum is considered to be the UK’s greatest ever steeplechaser

The Grand National, meanwhile, has been described as “the ultimate test of a horse’s courage,” a handicap steeplechase over four miles, with 30 fences to jump. Red Rum won the race an unparalleled three times, including the year, of course, that Holmes’ father-in-law placed his bet.

In the previous year’s race, in 1973, the thoroughbred came from 30 lengths behind to win the race, and was transformed into an equine national celebrity. His third victory, in 1977, was voted by Britons in 2002 as “the 24th greatest sporting moment of all time.”   

“It is certainly a record,” said Graham Sharpe, spokesman for William Hill of the 42 year-old betting slip. “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 honor it because we understand that things like that happen.”