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’.
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.
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