It was a good day for Tony Bloom, the notoriously clever gambler, owner of Brighton and Hove Albion football club, and most pertinently to this story, also the owner of the Champion horse, Energumene.
The horse was running in the Champion Chase on day 2 of Cheltenham Festival, having won the same race a year earlier in 2022, so this was a title defence.
Tony Bloom is known to be a very clever man with a head for numbers that most of us can only dream of, and as a result he is also very rich.
This is probably why he could afford to put, in his own words, “a few quid on” the horse to win.
And by ‘a few quid’ he means about £400,000.
At odds of 7/5 this would bring Tony a £560,000 pay day, but since he also owned the horse, he was entitled to his share of the prize money too, adding a further £220,000 to the tally.
All in all then, Bloom walked away from the race with around £1.2 million in his back pocket, and around £800k richer overall.
A Double Whammy
A welcome downpour added to Bloom’s confidence as it would make the going more to Energumene’s liking, and the horse ran a more or less perfect race, finishing 10 lengths ahead of 2nd placed Captain Guinness, and being described by some commentators as ‘a monster of a horse’.
Interestingly, and probably very amusingly for Bloom, there was another horse running in the same race called Editeur Du Gite which finished 4th.
Editeur Du Gite is owned by the Preston family who are Crystal Palace fans, and by complete chance, Bloom’s Brighton and Hove Albion were facing Crystal Palace in a Premier League fixture that same evening.
For anyone not au fait with football rivalries, Brighton and Palace have a healthy dislike for each other going right back to the 1970s.
Not only did Energumene confidently win the race (and wearing Brighton’s colours to boot), but Brighton then beat Palace 1-0 at home, and Bloom had gone straight from Cheltenham to the ground to watch the match.
So in a way, he defeated Crystal Palace twice on the same day, and made a lot of money doing so.