As a bloke that made his money from sports betting in the first place, it’s no surprise to see Brighton & Hove Albion owner Tony Bloom cleaning up at the Cheltenham Festival.
In addition to a major shareholding in Brighton, Bloom also owns Energumene, the two-mile specialist who trounced the field on his way to victory in Wednesday’s Champion Chase.
Bloom trousered a cool £220,000 as the winning owner anyway – nice work if you can get it, but to make matters all the more pleasing he later admitted to ‘having a few quid on’ his Willie Mullins trained horse.
???? “I had a few quid on”
— ITV Racing (@itvracing) March 15, 2023
Well, it turns out that a ‘few quid’ to Bloom is actually £400,000, which returned a handsome £980,000 when Energumene obliged.
Allied to his prize money, it meant that Bloom left Prestbury Park on Wednesday evening £1.2 million to the good – let’s hope the drinks were on him.
And as if his day couldn’t get any sweeter, Bloom even made it in time to watch Brighton defeat rivals Crystal Palace 1-0 to edge closer to the Premier League’s top four places.
One winning bet can be described as good fortune, but Bloom has been beating the bookies for a number of years via his Star Lizard operation – a betting syndicate that was one of the first to use deep stats and data analysis to find value odds; predominantly in the Asian handicap football markets.
He’s also a renowned poker player, winning the VC Poker Cup and the Australasian Poker Championship as well as reaching the final table of a World Poker Tour event. It’s thought that Bloom has amassed career earnings of around £3 million.
Star Sports Caught Short
When Bloom starts pounding his way to the on-course bookmakers at Cheltenham, you can forgive them for feeling a touch of trepidation given his evident ability for backing winners.
On this occasion, it was Star Sports who copped the near seven-figure payout – not the first time they’ve been hit hard at the Festival.
Back in 2022, company boss Ben Keith admitted his firm had lost £2.2 million at the Cheltenham Festival.
“In the Racing Post, they had a good laugh and said Ben Keith left early after the Gold Cup!
“But I only lent them £2.2m. My game is the end of the year. If I have won five or six per cent, I have done it. Punters are good at singing when they are winning. I love the silence of the betting ring when a 40/1 shot wins. It’s beautiful,” was his rather caustic reply.
Ironically, Star Sports are based in Brighton – hence Bloom’s allegiance, although Keith might be planning to move away from the city if he keeps getting plundered.
Of course, what goes around comes around. It’s thought that Star Sports banked £725,000 when an anonymous punter backed Energumene to win January’s Clarence House Chase – he was beaten into third place that day by Champion Chase combatants Editeur Du Gite and Edwardstone. It’s not known if Bloom was behind that big money bet.