One For Arthur poses with staff at Lucinda Russell’s yard on Sunday
PICTURE: John Grossick (racingpost.com/photos)
One For Arthur’s victory in Saturday’s Grand National was far from the worst result for the majority of bookmakers, but that was certainly not the case for Scotbet, which has a branch in Kinross just three miles from where Lucinda Russell trains the eight-year-old.
One For Arthur became the first Scottish winner of the National since Rubstic in 1979, but it was not an outcome the country’s largest independent bookmaker had hoped for.
The shop in Kinross is paying out well over £15,000 on the day’s business and the owners [Deborah Thomson and Belinda McClung] are from the North Berwick area, which is where we have another of our shops and that’s losing over £20,000,” said Bill Stratton, general manager of Scotbet, on Sunday.
“We’ve got 50 shops and one won £113 on the day. The rest varied from losing thousands to many thousands. It’s the worst result I can remember, and unfortunately I’m old enough to remember Rubstic winning the Grand National. That was very bad, but this is worse.
“I worked for Ladbrokes at the time and we were hunting for money after that won, and we’re hunting for money today, but it’ll be tomorrow when a lot of people get paid out when the banks open.”
One for Arthur jumps to the front in the Grand National
PICTURE: Getty Images
Sent off a 14-1 shot, One For Arthur stayed on strongly under Derek Fox to win by four and a half lengths.
“You learn to take the rough with the smooth and we had a couple of good days at Aintree on Thursday and Friday, but Saturday was quite bad,” added Stratton.
“But I couldn’t be happier for Lucinda Russell, who has done remarkably well and deserves all the success she gets. It’s great for Scotland. The horse was in all of the Scottish papers before the race, there was coverage on the radio and it won’t just be us in Scotland; every bookmaker up here will be hit.
“You learn from experience that you win some and lose some. This is one we lost.”
Confirming it was not just Scotbet licking their wounds north of the border, Alex Donohoe of Ladbrokes said: “The biggest payout in Scotland is £13,000, but the customer hasn’t come forward yet. A man, not known by the shop staff, had £1,000 to win at 12-1, but there’s no sign of him yet. We believe that to be one of the biggest wins in Scotland.
“It was the biggest National payout of all time in Fife, while shops in Glenrothes, Cowdenbeath, Kelty and Perth have all paid out hundreds of thousands.
“It’s costly but we’ll pay out with a smile as it demonstrates the enduring popularity of the race as well as people in an area getting behind a good local story.”
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