HEARD the one about the secret millionaire who won the Grand National on a 50-1 outsider in his final ever ride?
Well, unless you were living under a rock this time a year ago, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with Sam Waley-Cohen.
Sam closed out his riding career in style by winning the Grand National – but did you know he is CEO of a multi-million pound dental group?
Prince William and Kate are – he’s the man who got their relationship back on track after a rocky patch.
But after playing matchmaker, Sam made headlines worldwide when he steered Noble Yeats, a horse owned by his dad, to victory in the world’s most famous race.
It was a brilliant plan put together perfectly by the Waley-Cohens and the horse’s ultra-shrewd trainer Emmet Mullins.
Noble Yeats will be back at Aintree Saturday week to defend his crown.
But Sam won’t.
In fact, just a couple of days after winning £500,000, Waley-Cohen was back at his day job.
Sam is CEO of Portman Dental Care, a group of 200 dental practices around the UK and abroad, which he founded in 2009.
According to the Daily Mail, the group, which cares for more than 700,000 patients, has been valued at as much as £300million.
Portman was named ‘Outstanding Business of the Year’ at the Dental Industry Awards for four straight years from 2017.
And on their website it says Sam set up the company with the ‘desire to be the best rather than the biggest privately-focused dental group’.
Given the pound signs associated with it, it’s fair to say he succeeded.
But aside from his massive business venture and success on the racecourse – Sam won the Cheltenham Gold Cup on Long Run in 2011 – it’s his links to the Royals which has made the papers.
In 2007 at a party at his family’s 17th century mansion in Oxfordshire four years earlier, he rekindled the romance between Will and Kate.
The pair were said to have been going through a rocky patch at the time.
The Daily Mail report that Will and Kate attended the party together and were seen deep in conversation.
Kate is close mates with Sam and here she is pictured in fancy dress for a roller disco organised for the former jockey in honour of his late brother Tom
Just a few weeks later they were spotted holidaying together in the Seychelles – and the rest, as they say, is history.
The jockey played down his role in the love story but the story has persisted.
Sam told the Mail in 2011: “There’s an idea that I was like Cupid with a bow and arrow.
“People love the idea that somebody put them back together but they put themselves together far more.”
Whatever his role, Sam clearly holds a special place in the hearts of Will and Kate.
They invited him to their 2011 wedding and were among the first to congratulate him on his National win.
A post from their Twitter account read: “Huge congratulations to @swaleycohen for winning the Grand National. What a way to retire!”
So while Sam won’t be back in the saddle to defend his title, it’ll be long odds to find a story better than his.