Bacta opens nominations for first ever awards to celebrate industry champions


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When he was just 13 years old, William Buick probably didn’t have dreams of world domination in mind.

His parents were hugely successful in horse racing, show jumping and dressage, but even so at that age, you suspect Buick simply enjoyed being around his equine companions.

But former trainer Ian Balding saw something in the British-Norwegian while he was riding out, and marched down to his local betting shop to place a bet on Buick going on to become champion jockey on the Flat.

He’d have to wait 21 years, but finally, Baldwin can cash his ticket with The Tote after Buick was crowned champion following a stellar 2022 campaign. His £50 wager earned him a cool £5,000, which he has since donated to the Injured Jockeys’ Fund.

There could be more halcyon days to come next season. Buick’s mount Lezoo has already been installed as a key contender in the 1,000 Guineas ante-post racing odds, with Tahiyra, Commissioning and Statuette also in the running for the May showpiece at 3/1, 4/1 and 10/1, respectively. These odds will fluctuate in the weeks and months ahead, but the 1,000 Guineas does seem an organic target for Ralph Beckett’s horse.

Many of the racing predictions would be minded to side with Lezoo, who won four of her five races in 2022 including a high-quality Cheveley Park Stakes renewal. If she maintains that form, Buick could have another major winner on his hands.

Playing the Long Game

Baldwin’s predictive prowess isn’t the first time that a bettor has profited from being able to accurately predict the future.

One punter that had tracked Lewis Hamilton’s progress as a rising star in motorsports placed a series of bets on the Brit to be crowned Formula 1 world champion, including a wager on him to win the title in advance of his 25th birthday.

His prescience was telling, as Hamilton has since gone on to become one of the most decorated winners in the history of the sport. Although he cut things rather fine – not securing his first world championship until he was nearly 24, and only then after an audacious overtaking manoeuvre on the final lap of the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

It would secure his place in F1 folklore, and the punter in question a payday worth more than £10,000.

There’s nothing quite like the pride of a parent in their offspring, and so you could have forgiven Eddie Kirkland when he placed a £100 bet that his son, Chris, would go on to play football for England.

It wasn’t long before Kirkland Jr was a promising shot-stopper coming through the ranks at Coventry City, and those performances would secure him a big-money move to Liverpool – and a solitary England cap in 2006, which netted proud dad Eddie £10,000.

And how about this for sublime soothsaying? David Threlfell was so convinced that mankind was ready to blast off into space back in 1964 that he wagered £10 – a lot of money in the sixties – on a moon landing taking place within the next decade.

Nobody was cheering louder than Threlfell when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin alighted from Apollo 11 – he was offered odds of 1,000/1 after all!

It just goes to show that the betting industry will satisfy bets placed decades in advance, but just make sure you don’t lose your bet slips.


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