BOOKIES were left red-faced after paying out £3.3million on a horse that didn’t even win the Melbourne Cup.
SportsBet in Australia thought huge favourite Incentivise was a good thing and settled with punters a week before the actual race.
The Peter Moody-trained superstar was as short as 5-4 with some firms in the build-up to the ‘race that stops a nation’.
But 16-1 outsider Verry Elleegant sprung a shock – ending a 160-year curse in the process – to land the big one, and the £2.6m cheque that comes with it.
That is one of the biggest prizes in world racing.
Yet it paled in comparison to the seven-figure sum SportsBet paid out on a horse who didn’t even win.
Incentivise could only manage second, four lengths behind the winner.
Andrew Balding’s Spanish Mission flew the flag for Britain by coming third at 9-1.
One lucky punter was counting his blessings after celebrating a £28,000 win following SportsBet’s decision to paid out.
His bet would have been deemed a loser had the firm let it run.
Others celebrated £16,600 and £14,200 winners at the expense of the bookie.
Speaking about the decision to pay out early, Felix von Hofe of SportsBet said: “There are a lot of happy punters, about £3.3m ($6m) going out to the punters on this early payout.
“A lot of people getting around those prices for $20 and $40 because Incentivise was a very popular horse.”
They were not the only ones stung by Incentivise’s runner-up finish though.
Betting giant Tab reported one punter with deep pockets had lumped £35,500 on the ante post favourite.
Others staked £8200, £5500 and £5000 only to see the five-year-old come up short.
The big winner though was the brave punter who stuck £2730 on the winner at 16-1 – netting a nice £43,680 profit.
The Melbourne Cup itself was deemed a huge success, with glamorous racegoers up and down the country joining in the celebrations.
But nine protestors were arrested after storming the gates of Flemington racecourse in Melbourne.
FREE BETS GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HERE
Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to The Sun. 18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org
Remember to gamble responsibly
A responsible gambler is someone who:
- Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
- Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
- Never chases their losses
- Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
- Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
- Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org