I'm a heating engineer... well I was! Lucky racegoer wins £1.45m after picking all six winners in a £2 accumulator
Using senior citizen's bus pass to get into course for free, 60-year-old scoops jackpot with odds of 879,137-1
Using his senior citizenís bus pass to get there and a free entrance ticket to Exeter Racecourse, Steve Whiteley was hoping he might be lucky enough to win a few pounds.
But after placing a £2 bet, he was last night celebrating a record-breaking £1.45million win.
The 60-year-old had entered the Tote Jackpot in which punters across the country can attempt to pick the winners of all six races at one course.
Rich pickings: Steve Whiteley thanks Lupita who clinched his £1.45m jackpot. The horse's jockey, Jessica Lodge, had never ridden a winner in 28 attempts
Lucky number 13: Jessica Lodge comes to the fore on Lupita on her way to sealing Mr Whiteley's phenomenal win
The heating engineer, who only goes to the races once or twice a year, holds up his bet slip as he celebrates his win
All the bets are pooled into the jackpot fund, which would have been shared if several punters had backed all six winners.
But most of the races were won by relatively unfancied horses, backed only by Mr Whiteley. The final winner was a 12-1 shot called Lupita whose jockey, Jessica Lodge, had previously rode in 28 races without ever coming first.
Mr Whiteley, a heating engineer, said: ĎWhen my mate said to me after the fourth race that there were only seven people in the whole country left in the jackpot, I couldnít believe it.
ĎThen at the last he said there is only one left and itís this ticket, I didnít look. I was shaking.í
He said: ĎItís difficult to say how I came up with my selections. At first, I had two in each race and that was going to cost £32, so I scrapped that.
'I'd never had a go at the Jackpot but one of my mates said it might be a million quid so I said, ďAll right, Iíll have a goĒ. We all sat down, had a pint and picked our horses.
ĎThe second winner, Black Phantom, the jockey Nick Scholfield is only young and used to live locally. He had won the race last year so I thought he might be worth a punt. That put me on the road.
He gave a personal thanks to the horse that changed his life, Lupita, ridden by Jessica Lodge, after it came in at odds of 12-1
'He has to be my favourite jockey at the moment. Why did I pick the last one? Lodge is just a name that sticks in my head. I didnít know anything about her.'
The father-of-two, who lives in North Tawton, Devon, added: ĎIím not a horse-racing man, I only go once or twice a year. Iím a heating engineer ó well I was! Iíve actually won about £300 betting today as well. The most I have ever won before is about £100.
It was the perfect birthday present for his wife, Jill, who is 60 today.
But he vowed to continue with his frugal lifestyle and still intends to give her the birthday card he had bought for 53p.ĎThis win is the best birthday present ever,í Mr Whiteley said.
He added: ĎI wonít be giving up work as I still have a few jobs to do before we go away on holiday to Australia to see some of Jillís family. We had it planned before this happened.í
Asked if he would actually give up work, he said: ĎI will work until I die.í
Mrs Whiteley was unable to join her husband and his friends on their jaunt to the races as she was busy at work, doing telesales for a pet food company.
Ms Lodge said: 'I'm very pleased for them, it's brilliant news. Mr Scott told me to leave it as late as possible.
Tote racing manager Jayne Amor added: 'The excitement at the racecourse was unbelieveable.
Over the moon: He said he was left 'shaking like a leaf' after his victory
'When we realised it was one ticket it was so exciting, the whole of the tote has been cheering him on.
'He came to us after four races to check if he had been reading his ticket correctly. His money will be in the bank tomorrow morning.'
His six winners were: Semi Colon, 2-1 favourite; Black Phantom, 12-1; Ammunition, 16-1; Mr Bennett, 16-1; Lundy Sky, 5-1 and Lupita, 12-1.
Great story to a point. Money seemed to have gone to the right person until I read that he wouldn't be giving up work.