Racing People: “For a regular punter, it was an outrageous moment in my life to win that bet”

We all have our favourite memories of the Cheltenham Festival.

Kauto Star regaining the Gold Cup in 2009, Istabraq winning his third Champion Hurdle in 2000 and, for some of you with more experience of the game, Arkle’s hat-trick of Gold Cups in the '60s.

These are just a few.

But, for one racegoer, it was Pigeon Island’s victory in the 2010 Grand Annual that stands out most.

Martin Jenkins, a regular punter from Birmingham, placed a £10 treble on Nigel Twiston-Davies to record a treble with the remaining four races of the 2010 Cheltenham Festival that would return him over £3,000.

The audacious bet saw Imperial Commander claim the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Baby Run succeed in the Foxhunter Chase, but it was 33–1-chance Pigeon Island that sealed the gambling victory when he defeated his rivals in the final race of the meeting.

Jenkins remembers being stunned with his success and puts it down to the magic of The Festival.

“It is really difficult to come away from a Cheltenham Festival with more money than you started with, but that year was just incredible.

“I only put the bet on as a bit of fun, but when Baby Run won I genuinely got excited.

“As Pigeon Island came up the hill with a chance, I was jumping around like a lunatic.

“When he won, it’s fair to say I was ready to do cartwheels around the enclosure. It was just a sensational moment.

“I’m just a regular punter. It was an outrageous moment in my life to win that amount of money off of such a modest stake.

“I suppose that sort of thing is what The Festival is all about. It is just a wonderful place to be and everyone is here to watch the best racing that is on offer.”

Jenkins is the founder of the free Twitter tipping competition Pigeon Swoop, named in Pigeon Island’s honour.

The online contest has been sponsored by top bookmakers StanJames and BetVictor in the past and offers people the chance to win prizes by tipping for free via the social network website. Visit it here.


By James Yellen. M: 07889 085535. E:


James Yellen is a 22-year-old freelance racing journalist from Newbury, Berkshire.

He is currently in his third year at university studying for a degree in Sports Journalism and will be graduating in July this year.

James has previously written copy for the Racing Post and Press Association, as well as writing numerous articles for Eclipse Magazine.

He tips Champion Court in the Ryanair Chase at 10–1 as his nap bet for the Cheltenham Festival. Follow him on Twitter @JamesYellen. 

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