Dave Hopewell never met his grandfather, but knew he died during the First World War
Investigations by the War Graves Commission, sparked by his late brother John, established that Isaac Morris had served during the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign and died aged 30 in the battle of Gaza from “shelling or sniping perhaps”.
Private Morris (above) was in Dave’s mind when he was at a Betfred shop in Nottingham – and he just had to pick a horse called Gallipoli, which was number 13, that was running at Redcar.
The gelding, which was a 28/1 long shot, was last off as part of Dave’s incredible £1 Lucky 15 bet.
“I was in a bit of a rush at the bookies to be honest, because I knew my beans on toast was ready and waiting at home and I needed to be back in ten minutes,” joked the 74-year-old granddad.
Dave picked his own favourite horses Caspian Prince at Newcastle together with Limato and Boccaccio at Newmarket – and of course his NAP Gallipoli.
Much to his delight, all four horses finished first past the post, landing him the biggest win of his life – a whopping £36,379.90.
He continued: “I knew I only had ten minutes at most to get home because my wife Val would have my favourite beans warmed up and ready to eat.
“I started looking at the results from Newcastle and Newmarket mid-afternoon and quickly realised two of my horses had won. I hadn’t really checked the odds, but I knew they were long with Caspian Prince winning at 33/1 and then Limato at 4/1.
“Next, Boccaccio came in at 5/2 – and then the horse I’d backed because of my grandad Isaac won at Redcar at 28/1.”
Val, 74, who has been married to Dave for 53 years, said: “I’ve never seen him move so fast, jumping off the settee. He’s been checking those donkeys for years. He was rushing because I’d made his favourite snack and didn’t want it to go cold.”
The couple, who live within walking distance of the Betfred shop at Front Street, Arnold, Nottingham (above), are planning to spend their windfall on a new TV, a holiday in Norfolk – and are also considering getting themselves a new phone.
Dave went on: “I was always curious about my granddad. It was my younger brother John, who died in 1990, who put a lot of effort in, with the help of the War Graves Commission, to find out where and how Isaac had died.
“He wrote to the now defunct Essex Regiment, who said he was at the Ramleh War Cemetery near a former crusader’s church outside Jaffa, and visited his grave and brought back some soil.
“The regimental secretary of the Royal Anglians said in his letter that ‘one can only speculate to the manner of your grandfather’s death: Turkish shelling, or sniping perhaps’.”
Father-of-two Dave, who said his five grandchildren will also benefit from his good fortune, added: “ A lot of men went from Arnold and died in the First World War. Isaac, according to the records, ran a fish and chip shop. As soon as I saw Gallipoli was running I knew I had to get on it.
“Val and I (pictured above) suffer from heart problems, so we have to be careful. She just celebrated with a cup of tea, but I must admit I had three or four glasses of whisky, because this doesn’t happen every day.”
“I’ve been putting bets like this on regularly for about five years, and this is by far my biggest ever win. I don’t study form, I just go for horses who have done okay for me in the past – apart from Gallipoli of course, which had poignant reasoning behind it.”
Betfred boss Fred Done rang Dave, who has worked as an electrician, coal miner, taxi driver and on a bicycle production line, to congratulate him on the big win.
Fred said: “Dave’s a smashing fella who must be full of beans after emptying my pockets! His win was boosted to the tune of £8,000 at Betfred thanks to him getting four winners and our Best Odds Guaranteed promotion.”