Life begins at 70 for Clive McLaughlin who’s celebrating his landmark birthday with a £54,000 Betfred win on the horses.

Retired postie Clive, was royally rewarded for loyally backing trainers from Yorkshire where he lives on the last day at Royal Ascot.

Now the dapper grandad from the village of Rawdon, who turns 70 today (Wednesday June 28) is to splash out on a once-in-a-lifetime 119-day round-the-world cruise.

The widower will be accompanied by his lady friend, whose identity he’s keeping under wraps for now as it’s still early days in the relationship.

Clive, a regular at the Betfred branch in the aptly-named Horsforth, near Leeds, won big on the famous Lucky 15 bet, launched by Betfred 50 years ago.

He bet £15 each way on Snoano, trained by Malton-based Tim Easterby, Out Do, trained by Upper Helmsley-based David O’Meara and Oriental Fox, trained by Middleham Moor-based Mark Johnston. They all won during Ascot’s final day as did The Tin Man (Newmarket-based) which Clive couldn’t resist backing as he was rightly convinced the five-year-old would win.

He said: “I’m just coming off the ceiling. It is an amazing feeling. I was watching the racing on TV, doing my crossword in the newspaper between each race. When I realised I’d won the jackpot my paper went up in the air.”

Clive beat odds of 60,000/1 to pick up easily his biggest win since first taking an interest in racing as a student.

Thanks to Betfred’s guarantee of offering best starting price odds and a 25 per cent win bonus for any customers who selected four winners at Ascot, Clive won much more than £35,486 he’d have won at other bookies – scooping a whopping £54,276.

Betfred boss, Fred Done, said: “Clive might be coming down from the ceiling, but I’m dragging myself off the floor. This is an incredible achievement by one of our regulars who clearly knows his racing. It’s great news that a fella who’s 70 is living life to the full. To win this amount for just £15 is brilliant.”

Clive said: “It was Royal Ascot and I thought to myself: ‘I’ve just got to have a bet.’ I started thinking that the Yorkshire trainers had not done so well up until Saturday. I looked at the Saturday race card and two horses trained in Yorkshire; Snoano and Out Do, jumped out at me.  Then, there was Oriental Fox, which is also trained in Yorkshire, who I’d been following for two years. And then there was the best sprinter The Tin Man which just had to have a good chance. So I went with three Yorkshire trainers and The Tin Man.

“I see myself as an adopted Yorkshireman even though I was born in Blackpool and am still a Blackpool FC season ticket holder. I trained as a teacher, then switched careers to become a solicitor for the Crown Prosecution Service. Then, at 55, I took early retirement and retrained as a postman, based at Yeadon and worked as a postie for 10 years before retiring for good.

“Snoano got my afternoon off to a great start, then The Tin Man, the favourite, won the 4.20. With Out Do I thought he had a chance because he was drawn number 1. I went bonkers when Out Do made it three wins. I threw the paper in the air and had to put it back together again. I made myself a pot of tea and left the Jack Daniels – thinking I might be celebrating with that later.

“I put a ready meal in the oven (a hot pot) to try and calm myself down and then it was the 5.35…Everyone thought it would be the favourite Thomas Hobson but it’s one of the longest races – 2 miles 5.5 furlongs and Johnston is one of the shrewdest trainers around. I kept seeing the blue and white silks of Oriental Fox coming through the pack – beating Thomas Hobson into second place.

“I had hot pot to celebrate with a cup of tea and a vanilla yogurt as a treat before I went down to the bookie’s with my proof of identity. I knew I’d won a substantial amount and more than the £8000 I won eight years ago – also on a Lucky 15. But I didn’t know just how much because I thought the win bonus was 10 per cent not 25 per cent. I wish I’d not bought a new Ford Fiesta on a lease scheme last week which I’d been persuaded to do at the dealership. Now I’m going to pay it off straight away.

“First and foremost, I love National Hunt racing and my favourite meetings are Hexham and Cartmel. My lady friend is from Nottinghamshire and we go to Southwell which has been developed perfectly.”

Clive met his new lady friend on a cruise last October, although, in fact, they met before they got on board the cruise ship bound for the Canaries.

He explained: “A chauffeur had already picked her up to take her to Liverpool, where we were departing from and then he picked me up. We got chatting during the journey and then when we were on the ship we got on so well that everyone thought we were an item.

“She said she’d never really travelled before but since then we’ve been to Venice, Dubrovnik and before this big win we’d booked to fly to New York, returning on the Queen Mary II.

“I waited until Sunday morning to contact her because she was staying with relatives last Saturday. I told her we were going on a world cruise and she just screamed with delight.

“As for my celebrations on Saturday night? Well I had a few too many Jack Daniels!”

  • The Lucky 15 bet that Clive placed involves 15 separate 50p each way bets with four singles, six doubles,four trebles and a fourfold. With all his selections coming up Clive’s accumulated  £35,486 jackpot that was boosted by Betfred’s best starting price guaranteed offer – and the bookie’s 25 per cent bonus to Lucky 15 customers who got four winners  at  Ascot.

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