Paddy’s Millionaire Chase winner – How Geoff’s getting on one year after landing £1m top prize

Sometimes all you need in life is a jacuzzi.

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Almost a year ago, one lucky Paddy punter, Geoff from Bootle, started 2021 in the best way possible by becoming an overnight millionaire! But he didn’t have to mess around with dodgy cryptocurrencies or answer 15 questions with Chris Tarrant.

Oh no, it was much more simple than that. Geoff was actually crowned the winner of Paddy Power’s Millionaire Chase after he was assigned the winning horse, Langer Dan, in the Imperial Cup at Sandown (13th March 2021).

2020 was a miserable year for almost everyone and nothing made Paddy happier than making 2021 totally unforgettable for one lucky punter. What a win too!

And what made pocketing the life-changing sum even sweeter for Geoff was that he was made to wait for so long for the victory. Paddy’s huge giveaway was forced to be rescheduled by poor weather THREE times, with the original meet due to take place in Cheltenham on New Year’s Day and subsequent races also scuppered by rain and snow.

WELCOME TO PADDY POWER NEWS!

So how’s Geoff been getting on living the life of luxury as a millionaire? Flash holidays? A massive house? A fleet of posh motors? Well, not exactly, as we found out when we caught up with him almost a year on from his mega win.

Going back to winning a year ago, what do you remember about the day and the aftermath?

It was a strange day. I knew my horse already as they did the draw on the Friday night and everyone was messaging and WhatsApping me asking me what I thought, was I confident and so on. But in truth I hadn’t studied any of the horses that were running by then. I was just like, it’s fate.

Whoever won that bet, it was meant to be for them to win.

So, I started looking at the horses and I got a message through that there was a problem with David Pipe’s entries as there had been a crash on the M5 and he couldn’t get to the course. And I was thinking that one of his (Leoncavallo) was the real danger to me. The one thing that intrigued me about Langer Dan was that he had won a Class 1 listed race, so he’d won a few classes above what he was racing in. So, I thought there was something about him.

LangerDanMar21a

People always ask me ‘were you getting excited?’ but you can ask anyone, I wasn’t at all until the race started. About 20 minutes before the race, a mate came around – who was more excited than I was – and we had a couple of drinks. I went on the Guinness to bring me a bit of luck, it being a Paddy Power race!

And then the race went off, and about 3 ½ – 4 furlongs out from the end he started to make his move from the back. When he ran into the back of a horse, I thought he might be gone as they just don’t recover normally from that. But you could see Skelton rein him back in and dragged him back about 2 lengths from the back of the field and about 20 seconds later he tried again through the same gap and he got it and from there he was never beaten.

People always say to you, did you think it would happen? And in truth, I didn’t have a doubt, I knew it. But you don’t say that to people do you?! I just thought it was my day. It was great, and then it finally sunk in. I called my dad. We were crying on the phone.

Harry Skelton

And then Paddy phoned, and I was a bit cheeky with him. He said to me, ‘What’s it like to be a millionaire?’ and I said ‘What do you mean? You know that £10k we won back in January for being one of the winners, you don’t think I’ve kept that in the bank do you?! That’s gone. You’ve made me a £990,000-aire! But thank you, that’s good enough.’

It’s changed my life. It’s changed my life for the better.

What did you do with the money? Did you go on that big holiday?

As soon as lockdown finished the summer last year, we flew down to Majorca for a long weekend away. And then we went on a back-to-back holiday to different resorts in October in Majorca with some family. This time we went a bit more luxurious to see how the other half live and to be honest, it wasn’t really us!

We’ve just got back from Turkey and now we’re back to normality. But we’ve decided life’s too short to scrimp or save too much – so I’ve bought myself a Range Rover, not a new one I should say! My boy has just passed his driving test, so we’ve bought him a car. In truth, we spent on smaller luxuries really – we bought a jacuzzi for the garden with a canopy, we got the garden done and bought some top-of-the-range garden furniture. Everyone’s jealous of that because it’s like a three-piece-suite in the back garden!

We haven’t moved to a new house because we like the house we’re in – we paid off the mortgage – but we’re settled here and at the moment it’s what we need. And what’s been really nice, given what’s happened to us as a family, with my son passing away, is that people say it couldn’t have happened to a nicer couple. Which is so nice to hear.

And of course, we’ve been able to help some family members out too which was really nice – and that’s what the money has allowed us to do.

it’s great we can do things like that.

How did work change for you – did you change jobs? You said a year ago you wanted to go down to three days a week

I left my previous job as a lorry driver and now work part time for a utilities company, helping their engineers get from one job to the next – and I’m on stand-by for four days a week and go in when I’m called in and my wife’s gone down to three days a week. But we intend to keep working either on a short term or temporary basis for as long as we are able to.

Any plans going forward?

You can plan for this that and the other but it’s like anything. There’s no guarantees. Going back to my past, we lost our son at 18 to cancer almost 11 years ago. And it’s created an environment where it’s been hard for us, especially for my youngest boy. But we’re at a stage now where he’s getting his life together and that’s great and we’re pleased to help him out where we can.

And whether I last to 65 or 75 with a bit of money left, right now we’re enjoying what we can do. And the one thing the money has let us do is be secure and help people out that are close to you and you care about.

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