Holmes found the winning bet slip amongst his late father-in-law’s belongings and contacted William Hill, the UK’s largest bookmaker. William Hill confirmed that the bet had never been cashed and was still valid.
“My wife and I were helping [my sister-in-law] 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.”
Further offers from the UK bookie
William Hill honoured the decades-old wager, and more besides. The bookmaker adjusted the bet for inflation, awarding a payout of £130 ($165).
In addition, William Hill offered Holmes a free £130 bet on this year’s race. The 2017 Grand National took place on Sunday and was won by Scottish horse One For Arthur.
The 2017 Grand National saw more than £250 million wagered across the UK. Coupled with the US Masters, Formula 1 in China and Premier League soccer games, Brits bet an astonishing £500 million on sport over the course of the weekend.
About the Grand National
The Grand National is an annual 4-mile horse race that has been held in Liverpool, England since 1839.
The most valuable jump race in Europe, with a £1 million prize pool in the most recent edition, the race is one of the biggest betting events in the British sporting calendar.
Red Rum remains the only horse to have won the Grand National, which is considered one of the most difficult races to win, three times. Red Rum and his trainer Ginger McCain won the race in 1973, 1974, and 1977, as well as coming runner-up in 1975 and 1976.
In the 1973 race, Red Rum was 30 lengths behind the winner and secured a comeback victory. This moment was voted one of the top 25 sporting moments of all time in a UK poll. No wonder Bob Holmes’ father-in-law bet on the horse in 1974!