Brighton owner Tony Bloom hits the £1m jackpot after Energumene lands the Champion Chase
Brighton owner Tony Bloom hits the £1m jackpot after placing one of the biggest bets EVER at the Cheltenham Festival on his horse Energumene landing the Champion Chase
Things just keep coming up roses for Brighton & Hove Albion owner Tony Bloom this winter.
Bloom dashed out of Cheltenham on Wednesday night — to watch his team take on Crystal Palace as they pursue a best-ever finish in the Premier League — more than £1million better off after his Willie Mullins-trained gelding Energumene landed the Queen Mother Champion Chase for the second year running.
Just over £225,000 of that was the first prize Paul Townend’s mount earned for easily beating Captain Guinness 10 lengths.
Initially Bloom, an acclaimed gambler behind sports data specialists Starlizard, admitted he’d ‘had a few quid’ on his horse. He later revealed he was the punter who had placed two bets which together totalled £600,000 with Brighton-based bookmaker Star Sport, winning him £830,000. It was one of the biggest bets ever placed at Cheltenham.
With Bloom on this sort of run, he will surely see Brighton — who are trying to qualify for European football for the first time — breeze past Grimsby in Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final as they seek a first FA Cup final appearance since defeat by Manchester United in 1983.
Energumene owner Tony Bloom and jockey Paul Townend with Queen Consort Camilla
Bloom celebrates after Energumene landed the Champion Chase for the second year running
Bloom is believed to be the man behind a series of big bets on Energumene, including when the gelding was beaten in the Clarence House Chase on Cheltenham Trials day in January — when Star Sports revealed they had laid a losing bet of £725,000. The Energumene who lined up yesterday was a totally different beast.
Ridden more aggressively by Townend, he jumped with great fluency and had most of his opponents beaten before the home turn, including the disappointing British hope Edwardstone, who was beaten by almost 65 lengths in fifth.
Townend, however, received a five-day careless-riding ban for allowing Energumene to drift into Captain Guinness.
‘We were confident,’ Bloom said. ‘He’s a great horse. He underperformed in the Clarence House Chase but showed his class today. My heart rate didn’t go above 80! He looked the winner the whole way through.’
Mullins had not won the Champion Chase until last year but now he has done it twice. When Energumene did not perform to expectations in January, the trainer partly blamed his gelding being put off by the white trim now used on British fences. It is orange in Ireland.
Mullins said: ‘We have bought a whole new set of white fences and he’s been up and down them a few times! He was also way sharper today than he was in the Clarence House.’