It was a case of what might have been early last Sunday morning for punter, who despite bagging a cool £2.5k for their £7.50 stake, came agonisingly close to having Paddy’s pants down, big style.
Champions Day at the Hong Kong’s Sha Tin track is one of the highlights of the International racing calendar. And one Paddy Power punter obviously felt that a nice-priced multiple was the way to go as they struck a 50p Lucky 15 (stake £7.50) as racing came under orders in the early hours.
And despite a tasty return, one more rub of the green would have seen it pay off in style.
First up was True Legend (6.45am) in the 6f handicap, who broke smartly and made every post a winning one, to get our bleary-eyed friend off to a flyer at the UK price of 28/1 (paid 205/10 on the Honk Kong pari-mutual).
And our early-riser didn’t have long to wait to justify the early alarm call as Lakeshore Eagle (7.15am) swooped at 15/2 (paid 33/4 locally) to score by half a length to make it two up with two to go, as leg three of the morning multi approached in the very next race.
The Chairman’s Sprint prize (7.45am) was one of three Group races on the Hong Kong card with the 11-runner field competing for a first prize alone of almost a staggering £1m.
Hot favourite Aethero (Evs) and market rival Hot King Prawn (2/1) were expected to dominate the finish, but instead the aptly-named Mr Stunning (209/10) caused a major shock to upset the odds.
We can only guess what the neighbours were thinking as the loud whooping noises from next door cheered on the winner at 19/1 to bring up three out of four selections and leave Paddy staring down both barrels of a potential £30k pay-out.
Normally in these situations we’d reveal that the fourth and final leg was either a) a formality or b) some great obstacle had been overcome as X, Y or Z waltzed home.
However, in this instance, Lady Luck ran out a race too soon as the final pick Beauty Smile (8.25am) was beaten into fourth place, to leave our pal dreaming of what might have been.
Still, a 399/1 wager to leave you £2,550 better off before 9am on a Sunday morning is not to be sniffed at. Congratulations chap, it may have been one that got away, but with three nice-priced winners still delivering, your place in the Paddy Power Putting Hall of Fame is still assured.