A MYSTERIOUS punter who shares his name with a Simpsons character went on to make a killing betting £55million a year on horses.
This is the story of the secretive rise and fall of a bettor known only as Dr Nick.
Still to this day the true identity of the punter, who ditched his lucrative job as a GP to go full time on racing, remains a closely guarded secret.
All we do know is that at one point he became the biggest staking punter in Australia, wagering more than £1m a week.
That put him alongside the likes of Zeljko Ranogajec, another elusive punter nicknamed ‘The Joker’ who is worth £333m and a bought a flat in the world’s most expensive apartment block.
Dr Nick, who is in his 60s and a father of two, does not see himself as a normal punter.
With millions and millions at stake, a quick study of the form and going is nowhere near enough to justify a bet.
No, Dr Nick instead refers to himself as an ‘algorithmic trader’.
He placed his bets after a forensic study of each race, taking into account a statistical analysis of all runners and separate mathematical models.
An extensive network of computers and small army of people working on his behalf enabled Dr Nick to ‘place thousands of bets every second’, according to the Daily Mail.
Because of this, his individual stakes were not especially big.
But the sheer number of them soon added up to huge amounts.
The fact Dr Nick never went to racecourses only added to the mystery around him.
In a 2019 article it was reported that he had not attended a race day since 2005 and didn’t even particularly love the sport.
Six per cent of all bets came through him
There were no days out with friends placing a bet for a laugh – this was a serious money-making operation.
In a rare interview, he once told Australia’s Sunday Telegraph: “I find the idea of having no idea about something and just putting on money and hoping something will happen is… mind-numbingly basic.”
At one stage it was estimated that six per cent of all wagering on horses in Australia came through Dr Nick, whose last known whereabouts was in the Channel Islands off France.
One of his techniques was to organise a ‘plunge’ on a horse in the minutes before a race.
A raft of big bets would be placed all at once on a horse, leaving bookies very little time to shorten the odds as money poured in.
It worked. The money rolled in for 20 years.
Until higher taxes were placed on bookmakers.
Row over tax
The taxes, brought in in 2019, were passed onto punters via diminished odds, making markets less appealing and ultimately less financially rewarding.
In December 2019 it was reported that Dr Nick had ceased betting in Australia and had instead turned his attention to racing in the UK.
So next time you see a horse’s price drop in the seconds before the off, keep an eye out.
You might just figure out who is behind the gamble.
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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 – www.gamcare.org.uk
- Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org