When Judd Trump hit the winning pot to confirm he would be lifting the World Championship Snooker trophy for the first time on Sunday, there were many people celebrating the left-hander’s triumph.
Firstly there was Trump himself, who can finally lay claim to being a world champion at the age of 29 after long being touted for major glory.
Then there’s his friends and family, who may just be able to get their hands on a little bit of Trump’s £500k prize if they play their cards right.
An observer who also had everything crossed as the Bristolian raced into the lead in the final against John Higgins was Neil Morrice, a racing journalist with 10,000 reasons to cheer him home.
The 62-year-old frequented a snooker club in Bristol with his son 21 years ago, and his attention was grabbed by the young boy playing on the next table.
That youngster was Judd Trump, who was so small he had to stand on a box to play his shots!
“Judd looked something special even as an eight-year-old,” Morrice said. “So I’ve been following his career closely from the start.”
He went down to his local Coral betting shop on that fateful day in 1998, and was offered odds of 1000/1 that Trump would lift the world trophy by his 30th birthday.
Morrice may have been mentally spending the money back in 2011 when Trump reached the final at the Crucible, but he was outfoxed on that occasion by Higgins – ironically the man he would beat eight years later.
And it could not have come sooner either, with Trump set to turn 30 next August; at which point Morrice’s bet would have been lost!
A Family Affair
Usually it’s family members who place long-term bets on their children or siblings going on to achieve sporting excellence.
That was the case for the grandfather of Harry Wilson, the Liverpool youngster currently on loan at Derby County.
He made his international debut for Wales this season: something his grandad had wagered on when Harry was just 18 months old!
Mr Wilson Snr’s £50 bet was paid out at odds of 2500/1 – landing him a cool £125k – when the winger netting on debut in a 6-0 rout of China earlier in 2018/19.
Other family members in the money include Chris Kirkland’s dad Eddie, who won nearly £10k after betting on his son to make his international debut for England before the age of 30.
But there was agony for Lewis Cook’s grandfather, who wagered £500 at odds of 33/1 that his grandson would make his England debut before the age of 21. The Bournemouth midfielder duly obliged….but unfortunately his first start in an England shirt came three weeks after his 21st birthday – costing gramps a cool £17,000!
Of course, it’s not always family members who benefit (or otherwise) from long-term flutters, with shrewd punters also getting in on the action.
Ladbrokes once took a £100 bet that Lewis Hamilton would win the Formula One Drivers’ Championship by the time he reached the age of 25 – he was nine at the time – and the firm had to pay out a handsome £150,000 when he did exactly that.
But arguably the king of long-term punters is Nick Newlife, who must have seen something special in a then 22-year-old Roger Federer.
And so he went to his local William Hill office in 2003 and backed two wagers: that Federer would win seven or more Wimbledon titles, and that he would win 14 or more Grand Slams in total.
The Swiss ace did the business on both counts, and won Newlife a cool £120k. Sadly, he passed away before his bets were completed, and his winnings were donated to Oxfam instead.