Lotto winners fulfil dream of visiting every racecourse in UK

It took them almost 30 years, but Lotto winners Elaine and Derek Thompson have finally fulfilled a lifelong dream: visiting every racecourse in the UK.

The couple, who won an incredible £2.7Million jackpot in 1995, completed their mission by visiting Ludlow Racecourse in Shropshire. Since winning the National Lottery they have now visited all of the UK’s 59 racecourses.

Derek said, “We have always loved horse racing; it’s such a great atmosphere and over the years I have learned which trainers to follow. We decided after our National Lottery win to travel up and down the UK visiting every race course in the country. Originally there were 61 but two have closed down over the years. Ludlow is our 59th and final race course – we have definitely saved a lovely course for last!”

To make their day at Ludlow even more special, the couple sponsored the longest race of the day – a distance of two miles, seven furlongs and 174 yards – which was named The Elaine and Derek Thompson Celebration Chase in their honour. After the race, they presented prizes to the winning jockey and the best turned out horse.

Diane Thomas, assistant manager at Ludlow Racecourse, said, “What a day to celebrate! We were delighted to welcome Elaine and Derek to Ludlow and feel honoured that we were able to make their 59th racecourse visit so special. Hopefully it was a day they will never forget.”

Winning jockey Harry Cobden said, “Winning a race is always a special moment. But today has been made even more special by having the winning trophy presented to me by lucky Lotto winners, Elaine and Derek. It is certainly a day which I will not forget, and for so many reasons!”

In the early days of their Lotto win Elaine and Derek tried their hand at investing in racehorses. Unfortunately, luck was never quite on their side. One of the horses was quickly nick-named Sick Note as it seemed to develop a cough before each race meeting. And when it did run, it never won.

The couple’s third racehorse, Richmond Lady, did win a race at Exeter but sadly it was such a foggy day Elaine and Derek were unable to see it crossing the finishing line!

Elaine said, “Owning race horses is a pretty pricey business – there are a lot of costs involved. One horse, a beautiful grey named Balfour Lady, needed a lot of shoes. I would say she had more shoes than Imelda Marcos whilst we owned her! It was lots of fun but we eventually decided it was probably best to focus on being punters and stick to our placepots.”

Finishing their quest to visit all of the UK’s racecourses in Ludlow felt special, Elaine said. She added, “It is such a fabulous racecourse – small and intimate which is what we love. We really feel a part of the action – I don’t think we have ever visited such a friendly racecourse. We will definitely be back!”

10th April 2024

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