Lottery winners who invested jackpot in racehorses complete dream course tour

Lottery winners who invested jackpot in racehorses complete dream course tour
National Lottery winners Derek and Elaine Thompson at Ludlow Racecourse (Anthony Devlin/National Lottery/PA)

A couple who bought three racehorses after scooping £2.7 million on the National Lottery have completed their dream of visiting all 59 racecourses in the UK.

Elaine and Derek Thompson, who turned their love of racing into a full-time hobby after their 1995 win, celebrated at Ludlow Racecourse earlier this week with a race named after them.

Mr and Mrs Thompson, from Newcastle, decided to indulge in racehorses ahead of the usual houses, cars and holidays when they hit the Lotto jackpot.

Derek and Elaine Thompson invested in horse racing after scooping a £2.7 million Lottery jackpot (Anthony Devlin/National Lottery/PA)

But Mr Thompson said luck was never on their side, with one of the horses earning the nickname Sick Note as it seemed to develop a cough before each race meeting and never won a race.

The couple’s third racehorse, Richmond Lady, who was shared with a friend, did go on to win at Exeter, but Mr Thompson said it was such a foggy day that they did not see it crossing the finishing line.

He said: “We have always loved horse racing, it’s such a great atmosphere and over the years I have learned which trainers to follow.

“We decided after our National Lottery win to travel the UK and visit every racecourse in the country. Originally, there were 61 but two have closed down over the years.

“Ludlow is our 59th and we have definitely saved a lovely course for our last one.”

Mrs Thompson said: “Owning racehorses is a pretty pricey business – there are a lot of costs involved.

“One horse, a beautiful grey named Balfour Lady, needed a lot of shoes. I would say she had more shoes than Imelda Marcos whilst we owned her. It was lots of fun but we eventually decided it was probably best to focus on being punters and stick to our placepots.

“Finishing our tour of the 59 racecourses at Ludlow is really special. It is such a fabulous racecourse, small and intimate which is what we love.”

The couple, who have been married for 45 years, sponsored the Elaine and Derek Thompson Celebration Chase at the Shropshire racecourse.

They hit the headlines during the Covid pandemic when Mrs Thompson revealed she was still working, stacking shelves overnight in a supermarket to keep her grounded and to act as a role model for her children.

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