When Frankie Dettori won all seven races at Ascot in 1996, now referred to as his ‘Magnificent Seven’, he made history for himself and for the sport of horse racing.
A lesser known story that runs parallel with this one though, is that of Darren Yates, a huge Frankie Dettori fan who would bet the jockey religiously regardless of the horse he was riding.
He bet on Frankie so often that his wife had even had arguments with him about it in the past because he kept losing money, so when Ascot rolled around, he agreed not to bet.
A 50p Heinz bet on all seven of Frankie’s races went on regardless, and then, just for good measure, Darren also put a £1 each way acca on. The first bet cost £60, the second cost £2, with the overall odds of both bets something like 8,883/1.
The individual odds of Frankie’s famous 7 horses were as follows:
- Wall Street – 2/1
- Diffident – 12/1
- Mark of Esteem – 100/30
- Decorated Hero – 7/1
- Fatefully – 7/4
- Lochangel – 5/4
- Fujiyama Crest – 2/1
So with £62 down Darren went off to play for his local football team as he did most weekends.
Darren’s team were spanked 4-0, so he and his teammates went for a quiet pint to cheer themselves up. It was at this point that he asked the landlord how the racing was going, and found out that Frankie Dettori had won his first four races.
“I asked how it was going and they said Dettori had four out of four. I reckoned I’d won £700.”
So the 4-0 thrashing was soon forgotten, and when the jockey romped home in races 5 and 6 as well, Darren worked out he might have just pocketed £24k. And of course, there was always the chance that race number seven would go his way too.
He quietly left the pub and went to his local William Hill, where the bets were originally placed, to watch the final race on his own.
“I couldn’t believe it when Frankie stormed home. I asked the counter girl how much I’d won, thinking it would be about £50,000. When she told me it was over £500,000 I almost fainted.”
Yates went home and told his wife, who quite understandably forgave him for making the bet despite promising not to, and the pair have said they sat together and cried for an hour before it finally sank in.
Life After the Big Win
The really amazing thing about this story is two fold.
Firstly, at the time Darren was a joiner with his own small business that was really struggling. He was at the point where he was going to have to start laying off staff, so the win not only saved his business, but the jobs of several other people too.
Secondly, Darren used the money he won to create generational wealth for him and his family.
He enjoyed the money of course, but he also put it to work, building a property development business in his native Lancashire which he sold many years later for £20 million.
His love for the horses didn’t waiver either.
Darren Yates broke the record for the most expensive horse bought at auction when he purchased Interconnected for £620k in 2019. In the same year, he also bought Blaklion for £300k+ and Don Poli for £170k. That’s over £1 million on racehorses in a single year.
As well as a property business, Darren was also CEO of Sandcastle Care in Blackpool for 5 years, growing the business from 3 to 53 children’s homes, before moving on the take the helm at a legal firm.
Safe to say then that his big win was not wasted, and has changed everything for the Yates family as well as impacting countless others along the way.