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Frankie Dettori turns 50: Meet the bookie who lost a million on ‘Magnificent Seven’ and the punter who hit the jackpot

A TWIST of fate 24 years ago changed Gary Wiltshire’s life. 

The bookie rose to fame in the 2000’s as part of the BBC’s racing coverage alongside John Parrott.

Wiltshire (pictured at Ascot in 1996) lost over a million on Frankie’s Magnificent Seven

But it was a hammering at the hands of Frankie Dettori at Ascot on September 28, 1996 that had the biggest impact – and Wiltshire wasn’t even meant to be there.

Wiltshire said: “I wasn’t actually meant to be standing at Ascot that day. 

“I was on my way to Worcester races, but there was a big accident on the M40 so we turned around and went to Ascot. The rest, as they say, is history.”

Frankie would go through the card that day, with his famous ‘Magnificent Seven’ costing the bookmaking industry north of £40 million – and Wiltshire his house.

Wiltshire recalled: “I was winning after the first five races, and then it suddenly dawned on me going into the last the scale of what could happen because of all the accumulators rolling on.

“I was a big chap back then and loved a roll, ham or cheese preferably, but when it’s a Frankie roll it strikes fear into you.

“His last horse Fujiyama Crest was a 20-1 chance in the morning, but I laid it at 3-1 and it was backed into 2-1. 

“The only saving grace was that the race went off on time. If it had been delayed another five minutes, I would have lost two houses instead of one!”

Fujiyama Crest completed a 25,091-1 seven-timer for Dettori

He continued: “I lost over a million on that race alone. I had to sell the house and some cars and was back to working eight days a week.

“I had to stand at every race meeting going and was back working as a barrow boy in the market in London.

“It took me four years to pay off my debts, but would I do it all again? Of course I would, because of the thrill of it.

“Frankie is a fantastic person for racing. In my eyes, he broke me but he made me.

“I wish him the best birthday he has ever had.”

ONE man’s loss it another man’s gain, and punter Darren Yates hit the jackpot thanks to Frankie.

Yates, who now owns several racehorses, would regularly back Dettori’s rides in multiples at a weekend.

He had promised his wife Anne that he would stop following Frankie blind – but on the day of the Magnificent Seven he quietly staked a total of £67.58.

Yates played football that the afternoon and upon arriving at the pub after the match, he realised the dream was on.

Yates won over half a million on his Dettori accumulator

And come 5.40pm, he was £550,000 richer.

Yates said: “Frankie is my hero. I always followed him rather than the horses.

“Once I knew he had won four on the trot I couldn’t leave the TV. I was glued to the screen.

“I couldn’t believe it when he just kept running in one winner after another. I could have kissed the ground he was galloping on.

“William Hills must fear the sight of me from now on – but they won’t stop me backing Frankie.”

  • Gary Wiltshire has just released a new book, ‘Tears, Angels and Sinners

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Remember to gamble responsibly

A responsible gambler is someone who:

  • Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chase their losses
  • Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
  • Gamcare –
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