When Cork-born Conor Murphy was 31-years-old, he was a loyal hand in Nicky Henderson’s stable. Nicky Henderson is a champion horse trainer and one of the most successful in Cheltenham history.
As the 2011 drew to a close, the focus in Henderson’s stable was squarely placed on the next Cheltenham Festival in March 2012. But what Conor Murphy did at this point, really validates the old saying of ‘the Luck of the Irish’. On a whim, Murphy placed a bonkers five-horse parlay bet, which involved the horses that would be racing at the Festival out of Henderson’s yard.
To hear Conor tell it, he basically placed the bet and then completely forgot about it. Even when the races started at Cheltenham that March day, the accumulator bet hadn’t even crossed his mind. But after the third win, Conor realized that he had a legitimate chance at a very big win, and then the excitement set in.
How Conor Murphy Won a Million
It all started with Sprint Scare, who won in Tuesday’s Arkle. On Wednesday, Simonsig won in the Novices’ hurdle, Bobs Worth in the RSA Chase, and Finian’s Rainbow in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Finian’s Rainbow is the horse that Murphy personally looked after, and Henderson would later muse that Simonsig was the key to Murphy’s magic win.
Then, on Thursday, Riverside Theatre won the Ryanair Chase, sealing the deal for Murphy. The winning parlay, which had odds of 163,350:1, gave Conor Murphy the win of a lifetime, paying out more than One Million Pounds!
But should have won more? The bet was reported to be for £50 and some busy bees actually calculated the odds. On paper, Conor Murphy should have walked away with £3,153,100. However, he made the bet with Bet365 and at the time they had a maximium payout of one million.
So, did he turn up for work on the following day? Well, yes he did, at the time some wondered if Conor would leave his job after winning all that money. But he wouldn’t hear it, he saw his role at the stable as second only to his family, and he couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Henderson referred to Murphy as a crucial component of his operation.
A spokesperson for Bet365, where Conor placed the bet, griped that it had been an awful event for all sportsbooks. A spokesperson for Paddy Power did not seem please either, although he did perk up when talking about how glad he was that it was not his book that had taken Murphy’s bet.
Murphy’s bet wasn’t the only big win at the Cheltenham Festival. Phil Williams, the owner of Son of Flicka, placed a bet on his own horse, and when Son of Flicka won the Coral Cup, Williams took home £900,000.
Conor Murphy Life After the Win
Now, there was no doubting Conor’s loyalty to his job at Henderson’s stables. But it was only a matter of time before he put his newfound wealth to work. So he invested in some promising horses in England and headed over to America to try his hand as a trainer and race.
Setting up at the Skylight Training Center in Kentucky, he was training twenty-five horses and even bought a cottage on the outskirts of Louisville. But most importantly, he managed to have some reasonable success with his own horses. In particular a horse named Dimension, that allowed Conor to realise his dreams.
So, Conor may have ‘The Luck of the Irish’ on his side but, I am sure you would agree that it could not have happened to a nicer guy. Let’s hope his luck stays with him, because this hard working guy sure does deserve it.