Racing fans who really know their stuff might have heard of Conor Murphy, the Irish trainer who used to work for Nicky Henderson as a stable hand, who is now making his living out in Kentucky, USA.
Well, Conor’s dream of being a trainer may never have come to be had he not wagered £50 ante-post on 5 horses from his boss’s stable back in December 2011.
Of course, he had some inside info given that he was working with the horses himself, but the fact that he made the bet 3 months before the Cheltenham Festival where they would all go on to win is rather impressive to say the least.
Saying that, his final pick (Riverside Theatre owned by the actor James Nesbit) didn’t look like he was going to manage it until he turned things around late in the race, nudging a win by about half a length.
Here are the horses and the odds he took:
- Sprinter Sacre – Arkle Novices’ Chase – 6/1
- Simonsig – Neptune Novices’ Hurdle – 12/1
- Bob’s Worth – RSA Chase – 6/1
- Finian’s Rainbow – Champion Chase – 8/1
- Riverside Theatre – Ryanair Chase – 10/1
His combined odds were 65,000/1, and if you are quick with your maths you might have noticed that this doesn’t tally up with his win amount.
That’s because bet365, with whom he placed the bet, had a cap of £1 million on horse racing back in 2012, so his true winnings should have been over £3.2 million.
Still, Conor didn’t seem to mind, saying:
“I don’t have a clue what I’ll do with it. You don’t expect to win a million, so it’s very hard to plan for it. I’ll be staying here for the moment anyway because I like it here and sure I’ll have a good holiday in the summer.”
And, true to his word, Conor went back to work and rode out at 5:30am the next morning just like normal – probably with a bit of a hangover, though.
Heading to America
After the dust had settled Conor had time to think about what to do with the money, and unlike many big winners who go a bit mad and spend it on houses or having a good time, he moved to America and set up his own training yard.
He called it Riverside Bloodstock; a nice nod to the final winner on his acca there.
He took 3 horses with him from home, and slowly built up his stable over time, with his horses winning a good sum of money along the way which was reinvested into the business.
These days he has around 25 horses at his yard, and one of his earliest, Dimension, has won the King Edward Stakes along with a few other Grade 2 races, and even had a go at The Breeder’s Cup in Murphy’s first year with a license. Dimension is retired now, but there are plenty of other promising nags at Murphy’s yard.
All in all, as of 2021 Murphy has made a whisker under $3 million in winnings from the horses he has trained, so that bet and the investment of his winnings has well and truly paid off.
Conor was even gifted one of his big acca winners, Finian’s Rainbow, by the owner once he retired in 2015. The horse and his former stable lad were together until 2021, when he passed away aged 18.