Old Grand National Bet Paid by William Hill

Bob and Nancy Holmes' Grand National BetBob and Nancy Holmes' Grand National Bet

A Grand National bet slip that resurfaced 43 years after being placed is honoured by bookmakers William Hill.

When it comes to horse racing and betting, William Hill has become synonymous with the major sport and all the popular events which surround it.  Not many people know that William Hill also have their own online casino too. 

William Hill is a British gambling company founded in 1934.

Here's a breakdown of their operations:

What they offer:

Some interesting facts:

Now alongside other sports betting options, old and new William Hill patrons can enjoy hours of fun with classic casino games such as blackjack, roulette, poker and a huge choice of online slot games. 

Whether a business is online or land based, reputation is key in the gambling and casino market and to add to William Hill’s long list of glowing reviews comes the story of Bob Holmes, a 76-year old retiree, who can now claim to be the man that cashed in the oldest known bet in history. 

Red Rum wins 1974 Grand NationalRed Rum wins 1974 Grand National

During a clean-up operation of his father-in-law’s house, Mr. Holmes stumbled across a scruffy piece of paper whilst looking through odd bits of tax return paperwork and aged bank statements, and to his surprise found an old betting slip which read: 1 win / Red Rum. Live 3.15. 

Everyone who has anything to do with horse racing will have heard of this horse so here is a little of his history and how he became one of the most famous jumps racehorse ever.

Red Rum was an Irish champion race horse most famous for his unmatched achievement in the Grand National. Here's a summary of his incredible racing career:

  • Legendary Grand National Victories: Red Rum is the only horse in history to win the Grand National steeplechase a staggering three times (1973, 1974, and 1977) [Britannica: Red Rum]. The Grand National is known for being a grueling and dangerous course, making his accomplishment even more impressive. He even placed second in the two years between his victories (1975 and 1976).
  • Jumping Prowess: Red Rum was renowned for his exceptional jumping ability. Throughout his entire racing career spanning over 100 races, he never fell [Wikipedia: Red Rum].
  • From Underdog to Champion: In 1973, during his first Grand National win, Red Rum overcame a 30-length deficit to secure a dramatic victory, making it one of the most celebrated races in the event's history.
  • Early Life and Breeding: Born in Ireland in 1965, Red Rum was bred for shorter races. His name is interestingly derived by combining the last three letters of his sire's (Quorum) and dam's (Mared) names [Wikipedia: Red Rum].
  • Legacy: Red Rum's racing triumphs captured the hearts of many and elevated him to national treasure status in Britain. He retired from racing in 1978 and lived until 1995.

Cue 43 years later and as a result of Mr. Holmes’s quick thinking, he contacted William Hill, who sure enough confirmed the validity and authenticity of the bet and honoured the 11-1 odds. Going further, the bookies rewarded him with an extra £130 to bet with on the next Grand National and a matching donation to WaterAid, the recipient’s charity of choice.

The man behind the original bet was a Mr. Joe Robertson, he passed away in 1979, five years after placing the bet on Red Rum to win the 1974 Grand National.

To his family, he wasn’t known to be a betting man and would only place a wager a couple of times a year on events like the National or the Derby.

Grand National Bet Honoured

A spokesman for William Hill was pleasantly surprised by the news when he first heard, “having worked for the company for 45 years, the last known record held for the oldest cashed bet was 7 years.”,

He also went on to advise, that should you find any old valid betting slips, to always have them checked to see if it’s still redeemable and added that “William Hill will always honour it” because they understand “things like this happen.”

Bob Holmes finally split the £130 winning bet three ways for the Next Grand National, His wife Nancy put a bet on Definitely Red, his sister-in-law backed the horse Ucello Conti and Bob backed the horse named Blaklion but none of them won unfortunately!

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