Two races at Catterick this afternoon hold the key to punters winning £15m in the Betfred Scoop6 – the biggest prize put up by a bookmaker in this country.
The prize fund has been boosted after the fiendishly difficult Betfred Scoop6, a competition where gamblers have to select the winners of six nominated races, went unclaimed seven days ago for a 12th successive week.
As a result, Betfred expect today’s prize fund to be at least £10m, with winning ticket-holders having a chance of landing a further £5m next weekend.
With entries costing £2, organisers were expecting a flurry of bets today as racegoers attempt to pick the winner of the 2.05pm at Haydock before turning their attention to Catterick’s 2.50pm contest.
Legs three and four follow straight afterwards – they are the 2.55pm and 3.10pm at Goodwood and Haydock respectively – before the 3.25pm at Catterick enters calculations.
If anyone individual or syndicate has five winners, their fate will be determined by the outcome of Haydock’s 3.45pm when they will be hoping for better luck than the ill-fortune endured by the unlucky Joe McGuire last week.
He looked certain to scoop the jackpot by a matter of inches when the unfortunately-named Escape To Glory was beaten in the closing stages of leg six at Thirsk when appearing to be a near-certain winner under Paul Mulrennan.
The only disappointment is that Channel Four Racing have turned down the chance to show Catterick’s two races live on terrestrial television.
Yet, with so much money up for grabs, there is a genuine chance that today’s Scoop6 could create the biggest winner in British betting history – although this depends on the number of ticket-holders with winning lines.
The existing record holder is Stuart Boland who pocketed a whopping £1.1m in November 2004.
Betfred boss Fred Done said: “When I first bought the Tote these were the days I was dreaming of – a bet that could capture the attention of the whole country and not just the racing world.
“The bet is now bigger than the National Lottery and a real life-changing sum, it’s the reason the bet was first introduced.
“I want the Scoop6 to make millionaires.”
Totepool spokesman Andrew Griffiths added: “It promises to be a spectacular day not only for punters, but for racing as a whole.”
As for Catterick, clerk of the course Fiona Needham is expecting 3,000 racegoers and offers this advice to Scoop6 punters. “Generally round here, it is horses for courses,” she told The Yorkshire Post.
“A horse that has won at the track before, or handled the trip, that would be my advice but I am the world’s most notorious tipster.
“It’s just nice for Catterick to be in the Scoop6 and reflects the competitive nature of the racing that is on offer.”
As for the 2.50pm, Just Paul won at the track a year ago and represents the in-form Middleham stable of Phil Kirby.
It would also not be the greatest surprise if Nawton’s David O’Meara took the 3.25pm with Powerful Presence.
This was a course winner in July 2013 and the yard specialises in winning these type of races.
The Betfred.com Temple Stakes, Haydock’s feature race and omitted from Scoop6 calculations, is equally tricky to solve due to the uncertain weather on Merseyside.
Eddie Lynam’s star sprinter Sole Power has made the journey from Ireland once again, but his preference is for fast ground.
With rain forecast, this could play into the hands of Hot Streak and Pearl Secret who are trained locally by Kevin Ryan and David Barron respectively.
Meanwhile, John Gosden has expressed his delight with Kingman as the colt attempts to step up on his Newmarket second in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh.
“He’s in good form, he went nicely on Saturday and I’m happy with him now,” said Gosden.
“We’d like to run on good ground – that’s what everyone is looking for so you can show a turn of foot. We don’t want it fast for him, but it might go the other way.”
Weekend cards: Pages 10-11.